Health

Anxiety; You’re Not Alone

I remember my first anxiety attack like I remember the birth of my first child. I won’t go through all the details because to be honest, it will give me anxiety. I will tell you that the weeks that followed were the darkest, most painful weeks of my life. I was 23 years old and the weight of the world was crushing me. No one understood because no one had experienced the cycle of anxiety.   If you’ve experienced it, you know what I’m talking about. After the first anxiety or panic attack, you are so scared of experiencing another one that you live in a perpetual state of panic. That fun time lasted for a few months and then all was well and life went on. That was anxiety brought on by stress.

A few years later, during a messy divorce, my old enemy called anxiety reared its ugly head again, this time for just a few weeks. I don’t think anyone even knew except for two of my closest friends. That’s how I wanted it. Why would I want anyone else to know that I was obviously weak, crazy, and unstable? That was anxiety brought on by divorce.

Four years ago, I started feeling very strange. It started with chronic fatigue and headaches. I felt like I had the flu that would not go away, and it didn’t! Not after visits to every doctor and specialist imaginable. My eyes started to give me trouble, annoying and painful trouble. And then the anxiety came back. This anxiety would happen if I got overheated or if the lights were too bright. These panic attacks would come if the noises were too loud or if I had to concentrate for too long. This was anxiety brought on by Lyme disease.

I have learned something important about anxiety. It doesn’t matter what brings on your anxiety. It stinks! It’s worse than physical pain and unless you have personally experienced it there is no way to fathom what it feels like. This is not a “real” statistic, but based on the people I’ve met since being open about my Lyme anxiety, I estimate that about 40% of us are dealing with anxiety on some level. I have learned that there is no shame in anxiety. I am by no means an expert. I am not a doctor, or a health professional of any kind. I do know that there are a few things that have helped me cope along the way.

  1. Own it. When you have the confidence to say to someone “My anxiety is really high today, so I don’t think I am going to be up for that,” you have taken the power of the anxiety away. The more you try to keep it in and hide it, the more pressure you are putting on yourself. STOP IT!
  2. Almost every time I find myself getting extremely anxious, it is because I am holding my breath.
  3. Physically relax. When you notice that you aren’t breathing, you will probably also notice that your shoulders are up around your ears. Force them down! Unscrunch your forehead. Relax! There are so many therapeutic grade essential oils that can help your body enter into a more relaxed state. I love to diffuse Lavender, Frankincense, Peace and Calming® or my absolute favorite, Valor®. If I leave the house, chances are there is either Valor® on my wrists, behind my ears and in my diffuser necklace!
  4. Watch what you’re putting into your body. My most notable panic attacks came after too many cups of coffee. Caffeine will make a bad situation worse, so if you are having trouble getting up in the morning, try warm water or tea with lemon essential oil in it. I also put peppermint on my wrists and inhale.
  5. Look up. Get your eyes up where they belong. The one who hung the stars and created the earth holds you in the palm of His hands. He knows the number of hairs on your head. I know it’s hard.   When you are in the midst of a storm, and anxiety IS a storm, it’s important that you run towards your helper and not away from Him. Remember, no matter what, it always ends. I know a three minute panic attack feels like a life time, but it will eventually end. Look for the rainbow…. Big storms lead to big rainbows!

I would like to challenge anyone who suffers from anxiety on any level, whatever the cause. Please don’t try to hide it. You are not alone and maybe if we start talking about it, we can help one another be overcomers. There is a song by Casting Crowns called “Broken Together”. The lyrics say “maybe you and I were never meant to be complete, could we just be broken together”. Sometimes the best thing we can do is let someone know they aren’t alone.  Please leave me a comment below and tell me what works for you!

If you would like more information about the essential oils I mentioned, please contact me on Face Book at Oil Time with EJ, or at www.youngliving.org/erinjones3.

Kids, Life

Dear Girls

Dear Girls, why do you have to be so mean? Was it really necessary to ruin someone’s day so that you could have a good laugh? Did it make you feel better about yourself to expose someone else’s insecurities? Did you go home and feel better about yourself when you looked in the mirror?

Dear Girls, did you forget to listen when they taught you about what it means to be a bully? Did you determine that the rules don’t apply to you, or that bullying isn’t as bad as people make it out to be?

Dear Girls, do you know how many teen suicides happen because of bullying? Do you know how many school shootings occur because of bullying? Bullying is bigger than hurting someone’s feelings or ruining someone’s weekend. Your words, your actions and your character have lasting impact on the people you come in contact with each day.

Character isn’t taught in school, character is taught at home. I understand, dear girls, that it’s not entirely your fault that you are bullies. I have sat next to your mothers during school events, and I have overheard their loud whispers as they poked fun at my child. I’m so sorry that you had to grow up with a role model like that.

Dear Girls, I know you are still too young to realize it, but our world is falling apart very fast. I worry for your future, but I trust in God, who has overcome the world. We are called to be the Light. Bullying is not being the light. Taunting someone in the hallway so they can hear you is not being the light. Making plans at the lunch table in front of someone and purposely excluding them is not being the light. Making someone feel ashamed of her appearance, making someone feel inferior, and unaccepted is not being the light. I know that is not what they taught you in school. Even if you don’t believe in God, surely you’ve heard of the Golden Rule?

Dear Girls, please think about how you would want someone to treat your little sister or brother. One day, we will all have a daughter, a son, a niece or nephew, a grandchild or friend who may not fit the exact mold of what “normal” or “cool” means to you. How will you want the world to treat them? Remember Gandhi’s quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world”? This needs to change and the change starts with YOU.

Every person you come in contact with is someone’s child, someone’s sister or brother. You know nothing about their situation or their battle. As a mother, you girls infuriate me. I know we are called to turn the other cheek, but when you hurt my child, I take it very personally. You see, it’s not my daughter’s fault she’s different, it’s mine. So dear girls, next time you taunt someone who is different, or talk about where you are going Friday night but purposely don’t invite the one other person at the table, please stop to think about the effects of your actions.

PS… I wanted to call you out by name, or maybe even beat you up, but my child, who has more character than all of you will ever dream of having, taught me a lesson about making the world a better place.  Please pass the lesson along to your parents for me.

Kids

For Pita’s Sake

Ten years ago, we started calling my middle daughter “Pita” for obvious reasons.  She was only three and had no idea what it meant, so don’t judge me.  Through the years, Pita has earned her nickname more times than I could ever attempt to count.  It’s not so much that she is a pain anymore.  God just passed her over when he was giving out common sense.

Prior to yesterday, I was under the misconception that I was doing a really good job of raising my kids, even Pita.  I mean, the oldest is almost 18 and has never had detention, doesn’t smoke, drink, isn’t pregnant and as far as I know does not have any tattoos.  All three of the kids (17, 13 and 10) have always gotten themselves up and dressed for school, can cook their own food, and can do their own laundry……  I think that is impressive!  My mom did my laundry until i was at least 20 and I still take her anything with a tough stain or a button that needs sewn on.

Recently, Pita set me straight.  She gave me the wake up call I needed to let me know that I am not doing nearly as good a job as I thought.  It started with detention.  The guidance office called to tell me that Pita got busted taking a selfie in the bathroom with her friend and a 7th grader ratted her out (Really???  No one likes a tattle tale).  Because the “No phones in the bathroom” rule was broken, Pita was headed for detention.  Well, since I had detention once (true story), I was not really concerned.  When I picked Pita up after detention, I expected her to be in a bad mood, which is the norm now that hormones are on board, LORD HELP ME!!!!.  She jumped in the car with a big smile and said “That was so much fun!  I got all my homework done and I’m going to go again tomorrow and maybe everyday from now on”.  ?!?!?!?!?  I translate this as, there is a really hot 8th grader in detention.  Or a hot teacher.  But somehow there is hot male involved.

Yesterday, Pita had to cook dinner for cooking class.  My angst began when she asked how to wash the apples.  Then she had trouble following the recipe on the box of rice.  By the time she got to cutting vegetable, I grabbed the knife off of her and made her back away.  She refused to touch the meat, didn’t have a clue how to clean vegetables, and I had to help her set the table.  I know the child doesn’t like to eat anything except pizza and mac ‘n cheese, but I had no idea she was this clueless.  I may have told her she really stinks at cooking.  “Do you think I will make a good surgeon though,” she asked me?  To which this mother of the year replied, “The thought of you going near anyone with a knife quite frankly scares the hell out of me”.

Pita and I butt heads a lot (I’ve been told the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree), but today she redeemed herself.  We were picking up dinner and she said “Mom, I bet everyone thinks we are sisters”.  I know moms shouldn’t pick favorites, but today, Pita is my favorite.

Life

It’s Your Dream!

I love going to sleep at night because my dreams are a chance to plow through my limitations, overcome my fears, and experience freedom from the health issues that weigh me down during the day.

Last night I dreamed I was on stage, getting ready to do gymnastics (WHAT? I can’t even touch my toes!). As I stood on that stage, I suddenly felt anxiety and fear as I looked at all the people and felt the bright lights.  I started telling myself all the reasons why this was a bad idea.  I thought about running off the stage.  That’s when I declared out loud, “It’s Your Dream!  You get to choose how you feel right now”.  I instantly felt better and I stayed on that stage without a trace of worry or fear.

Wow! There is no doubt in my mind that God was speaking to me.  Before I went to bed last night I did two things.   First, I scrolled through my Facebook news feed like I always do.  I noticed several prayer requests for anxiety and worry, more than usual.  Second, I said my prayers, focusing on all of us struggling with uncertainty in our lives, resulting in anxiety and worry. There is a lot of uncertainty in my life right now, so I’m ashamed to say I found comfort in knowing I was not alone.

When I woke up this morning, all the issues currently on my worry list started to creep back into my conscience. “It’s Your Dream,” I reminded myself.  I can’t change the circumstances or the situation, but I can change how I think and talk about it, which just might change how I feel about it!

Essential Oils

Why Oils?

My interest in essential oils started about two years ago.  I was looking for a natural way to help some of my family’s health issues.  My mom had purchased a book about cures in the bible.  I read it, and it definitely got my attention.  I started researching, but because I was not fully convinced, I started purchasing the cheapest essential oils I could find on Amazon.  Well, not only did they not really work, they also burnt my skin.  My kids were scarred for life when I got out of my lovely epson salt and lavender bath with red welts and I was literally running around in my birthday suite, my legs on fire.  I also tried diffusing some cheap peppermint for a headache and it immediately sent me to the bathroom to get sick.  Why did the cheap oils make me sick?  Turns out there only has to be 10% of the actual plant in there for it to be labeled “100% pure”.

I called the only oil expert I knew, my wonderful cousin in New York.  She has used oils on all of her kids for years, and she also had her own amazing testimonial after suffering severe burns.  She told me that she only uses Young Living.  After several months, all my research lead me to believe that Young Living was the right choice for me and my family.  I didn’t sign up right away.  I just ordered a bottle of frankinsence.  I was so impressed with the results that I immediately signed up and I have been a believer ever since.

In the past year, I have replaced household cleaners, skin care products, vitamins, supplements and chemical laden perfume with essential oils.  Just last month I cleaned out our medicine closet and threw away six grocery bags full over OTC medications and prescriptions because we don’t need or want them anymore.

When I told my MD that I was using essential oils, he asked me to please make sure they were Young Living.  Then when I started seeing a naturopath a few months ago, she also told me that she will only use Young Living.  That was all I needed to hear to know that I made the right decision for my family.  Cheap oils on Amazon are not the answer, and you definitely do not want to ever put any oil into your body if it is not 100% therapeutic.  My kids used to make fun of me and get embarrassed when they had friends over and I was diffusing oils.  Now all five of our kids use diffusers, have their own oils and when their friends are here, they ask for oils too!

If you have any interest in essential oils, the research available is endless.  Google away friends, and prepare to be amazed!  I meet people every day with different things going on in their lives.  When I say there are oils that can help them, they smile politely and run away from me as fast as they can.  If that’s you, what are you afraid of?  That it might actually work?  Ask my ten year old if they work.  Or, if the dog could talk, you could ask her too.  We are just one big crazy, oily family!

Health, Life

Putting Yourself Back Together

Last weekend, my husband and I took our kids to see Mockingjay – Part 1.  Like many, I read the books first, but somehow I missed Finnick’s profound quote, “It takes ten times as long to put yourself together as it does to fall apart”.  That quote resonated with me.  It resonated SO much that I broke movie theater etiquette and I took out my phone so I could type it in my notes.  This quote has applied to so many seasons of my life.

When my first marriage ended at the age of 26 and I was alone with three little kids, it took ten times as long to put myself back together.   When I quit smoking (the first time) and gained 30 pounds overnight, it took ten times as long to put myself back together.  Divorce and weight gain suck big time, but you can recover and turn yourself around, even if it takes ten times as long.

The past few years have taught me that it’s your health that is hardest to get back.  A few years ago, I was the person who smoked a pack of cigarettes each day, and I LOVED every one of them!  I was the girl who would eat at least three donuts when someone stopped at the bakery on the way to work.  I didn’t exercise because I wasn’t fat and quite frankly, I would rather do just about anything else.  I was the girl who would drink a pot of coffee before bed and eat lunch out (and sometimes breakfast) several days each week.

When people tried to inform me of why I shouldn’t smoke or why I should start running, I rolled my eyes.  None of us are making it out alive, so might as well live a little and enjoy it, right?  Well, let me be the one to tell you, when you are in the midst of trying to put your health back together, there is nothing you wouldn’t do to turn back the clock.  I feel like every day I meet someone new who wants to put their health back together.  Wanting and doing are very different things.  It takes ten times as long, but that clock doesn’t start until YOU start, so do something today.  Start reading the labels on your food!  Take a walk at lunch time!  Think about replacing some of the chemicals in your house.  I don’t think it’s coincidence that almost every day I meet someone else with an autoimmune disease.  These same people with auto immune diseases laugh at me when I suggest trying to go gluten free to see if their symptoms improve (read Wheat Belly Total Health).  If you aren’t willing to try, then you are not in enough pain.  Just my opinion.

It breaks my heart.  Please educate yourself because you get one body, one life.  It’s true that none of us are getting out alive, but there is a period of time between good health and death that will be miserable if you don’t do something today.  And that “ten times” it takes to put yourself back together will feel like a lifetime!

Life

Welcome!

Today I drove my son to drum lessons in footie pajamas under my winter boots.  My wet hair was piled under a tousle cap and I had these awesome medical glasses I wear for Lyme disease that filter out light.  I smelled very Italian because I had my Oregano essential oil on my feet, rosemary on my neck and basil on my temples.  My son prayed out loud that the car wouldn’t break down, lest one of his cool fifth grade friends might witness his train wreck mother.

I am just a mom with three biological kids (11, 13 and 17) and two step kids (12 and 14).  I also have a few turtles and fish and one husband who might be more work than all five kids put together (love you babe!).  I work full time, and am also battling late stage Lyme disease, so I thought some humor may help put off my impending nervous breakdown.  I hope you get a chuckle out of our disfunction!

Did I mention I am passionate about essential oils and natural health?  I hope this blog will be a nice mix of funny, informative and enlightening.  Thanks for stopping by!