A Reminder About Anxiety

Today I am experiencing anxiety. I want to remind you that anxiety is not right or wrong, good or bad. It just IS. It will pass. This is a fact. Your body cannot stay in this heighten state forever. Deep breaths. It will pass.

I am okay.

I am alright.

I don’t need all of the answers right now.

It’s okay not to know. No one knows the future. No one knows everything. No one can plan for everything.

I am alright.

It is alright. I am safe now.

It is okay. I am okay.

Peace. Be still within.

All things are well with my soul.

The Creator will take care of the future. I do my part in the now.

It is alright.

It is okay.

I am alright.

I am okay.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Anxiety Talks Trash

Before the fly decided to take a swim…it didn’t make it.

The other night I had anxiety which led to me being up later than usual. After I took something for anxiety, I listened to a guided meditation and then I drifted off to sleep. I recall right before I drifted off to sleep, I began to silently TALK BACK to anxiety. To the thoughts in my mind. “It’s alright, Nicole. Everything will work out for your good. Anxiety is such a liar. You are so blessed. You actually manifested this home and it was a grueling process but, you made it. You can even dream of another home. You will find love and love will find you. Does it really matter when it shows up? It will show up. Anxiety knows nothing but negativity. Money is not a problem. Books will become best sellers. You can do it. If they can write books back to back you can, too. The right people will read your books. You are loved. God loves you and cares about your wants, desires, needs.”

And somewhere afterwards I feel asleep. The next few days I thought about how anxiety talks a lot of trash. You know like athletes do when they are in a game. You do not want to hear some of the things they say. Growing up with a few athletic siblings, the things you hear courtside is not for the “saints”. Some of the things football players say on the field…

Well, that is how anxiety is. It’s talks TRASH. It gets you riled up and sometimes it gets you to become overwhelmed or afraid. Some of us go into shut down mode and some of us become agitated. But, once it was brought to my attention that anxiety talks trash, I thought about how the other player usually talks trash back. I didn’t want to talk trash so I decided to call it “Talking TRUTH and FACTS” back. I call it talking HOPE.

The next time anxiety begins to talk trash, talk truth, facts, and hope.

It’s a fact I am 40 something and I haven’t found love. It’s also a fact that I can still find love.

I don’t know how it’s going to work out but, God always works it out. Let me tell you about some times it worked out for me…

And so on and so forth. This is just one method I am learning to use when anxiety wants to talk to me. I hope it helps someone else.

~Nikki

Manufacturing Confidence On the Spot

Let’s start at the beginning. I booked this tour/adventure for my family and thought nothing about it until the date drew closer. I begin to become afraid of getting on the water in a tiki boat because I can not swim. I have been on three cruises. I still have some fear and I rationalized that as normal. Ok. No problem. I am still getting on the boat I tell myself.

I get on the boat and immediately, fear rises and changes into anxiety. I am now gripping the bar and I am having second, third, fourth, thousands of thoughts. I feel like I can’t breathe. I tell my fiend. I am scared! He says, “It’s ok. Just breathe. Nothing is going to happen.” I am thinking, “How many people have thought or said that and something happened.” I laid my head on the bar. The Captain wanted to know who all could swim and I was the only one that couldn’t. I looked at my friend and he said, “I am not going to let anything happen to you. I gotcha. Try to relax and enjoy.” The Captain saw my fear and begin to tell me his credentials and then he started to explain the physics of how this type of boat works. With the combination of trust in my friend and the captain, trust in God, the logic of how this boat floats, and comforting words (Oh yeah and downing a glass of pineapple sangria!) I started to relax.

I begin to talk to myself silently, “All is well. IF something happens you will not die. All of these people can swim and they will help you. The coastguard is literally in the water. It’s not your time. This is not how you will go and you know this. God is not going to let anything happen to you. Breathe. Look at the beautiful water all around you. Look at the clear blue skies. Feel the breeze. Soak up the sun and moment of this experience. And have a shot of vodka. :-D! ” Hey, my wine was all gone. After this photo was snapped, I thought about if I should post it. I look so confident but, I didn’t start out that way. I also thought about HOW I LOOKED IN THIS PHOTO. I am not a slim chic. I am who I am and I do love myself and my body. (I worked hard to get there) But most of us, even men, have some body insecurities. I saw the double chin. I saw the big boobs. I saw the mid section. I saw the lack of “junk in the trunk”. All of the things that cross between “WHITE AMERICAN BEAUTY” and “MY CULTURE’S DEFINITION” of beauty. This only lasted a split second because I was like, “The hell away with people. I love me!” Pic posted!

For some confidence is a given and for others we have to work at it. Confidence is built through experience. There are times you get to whip out your confidence on the spot and then there are times it has to be manufactured on the spot. The tools I was searching for in that moment seem to escape me. My fear of drowning swallowed up my confidence. TRUST is what I was searching for. LOGIC is what I was searching for. A PLAN for SAFETY is what I was searching for. When those things were presented to me I had to accept those tools. Then I had to use those tools to dig my way out of anxiety and an impeding anxiety attack. I did just that. It was difficult and it had to be done quickly.

I enjoyed the tour. I partied. I learned a few things about the area. I made memories with family. I did something new. I conquered a fear and silenced anxiety that day. Victory.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Housewarming

It finally happened. I had a housewarming for family and family-friends. And it was GREAT. We had a really good time fellowshipping with one another. Most of my immediate family is vaccinated and if not they have had their first shot.

It took me two weeks to prepare for one day because of physical limitations. Really, I started to prepare three weeks in advance. The last two days were brutal on my body and I had a few days along those weeks that were bad days and many sleep issues at night. However, I persevered. I also had help from my brothers, my daughter, and parents. I am grateful for that.

Today, I begin the process of recovery. It takes about a week and sometimes two weeks to recoup from an event like yesterday. Today, I feel like I have been hit by a ton of bricks. My body is exhausted. I am fatigued. I have a huge amount of pain and soreness. So, I have cancelled all plans for this week. I only have one goal, each day, for the next seven days that require my physical energy. I am also not taking any phone calls or dealing with any negative energy. It’s just not happening this week. No extra tasks for anyone else. This is the epitome of self care for those with autoimmune diseases. We must heed the lessons learned and the good advice given to us by others in order to preserve and improve our health.

Take Care!

~Nikki

Clarity is Coming

Went round for round yesterday with anxiety. I’ll have to admit it was a draw. I struggled all day trying to stabilize and to do things that needed to be done. Here’s something for us spiritual folks, if you have anxiety or depression God, the vast Universe, is intelligent enough to recognize your thorn (challenge) and compassionate enough, wise enough, providing grace and mercy to get you through these episodes. By whatever means. And sometimes it’s just your day to struggle. Clarity came at the end of the day. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t them. It simply (complex-ly) was anxiety. Today is a new day. Let’s work.

My thoughts from yesterday:

When does a breakthrough happen? After the the struggle. So if there is a struggle in the mind today, repeat: A breakthrough is coming.

If you are not clear in your mind, struggling in your mind, anxiety, uncertain: CLARITY IS COMING.

My affirmations:

Clarity is coming.

I will get through this day.

A breakthrough is coming.

God’s grace and mercy are sufficient.

~Nikki

My 2020 Recap

I admit I have had my 2020 bashing fits. Who hasn’t? And in the last post I was inspired to talk about what one has birthed in 2020 to focus on and not so much as what one has buried. Challenging I am sure.

In this post I want to highlight my growth and share my favorite moments of 2020. I choose to remember the life and light of two dear people lives that have transformed from their physical bodies to their spiritual bodies. They changed clothes in a sense from the seen to the unseen. One is engraved in my memory as a childhood brother and the first best friend of my brother. The other is engraved in my mind as the one my brother trusted and bonded with as second best friend, a brother, in the beginning of his law enforcement career. A soul that was his ace and knowing my brother had a good friend he could trust and count on made me happy. I remember life, love, and brotherhood.

My Growth

I grew spiritually. Every morning for about 40 weeks of this year my daughter and I have had breakfast each morning listening to Iyanla Vanzant’s Viral Messages Live on YouTube or Facebook Live. It blessed, uprooted, confirmed, and expanded my soul. I am forever changed into more of who I truly am on this spiritual journey. It also deepened the bond between mother and daughter as we shared breakfast, thoughts, and notes. I watched my daughter have her AH HA moments. I also took a leap of faith and had my first one day conference for women. It took courage because i deviated from the tradition of Christianity, Church, and Denomination and went with the flow in which I was created to go. It was so freeing and terrifying at the same time!

I am growing as a parent. My parenting style is changing and evolving. It has been a challenge and a rocky journey. I often have to deal with my own insecurities that produce anxiety and depression. I battle fiercely to not only keep my head above water but, to be on the boat and navigating the ship (my mind).

I grew as a micro business owner. I attempted to take free online classes. Due to my illness, I now have difficulty learning. What I did retain by writing down, I used when I created a website and marketed my business. I hope to have more funding to promote it and to expand it. I hope to make it a LLC. I took a risk with a virtual vending opportunity. I learned that I do better vending in person but, I did gain some exposure. I also broke slightly over even. I am grateful for that.

I grew mentally (matured) in my way of thinking and dealing with losses or disconnections. Four times this year I thought I had a suitable mate. However, each one disconnected for various reasons and the last one is the one that really got to me. I see it as the Universe, God, telling me that this was NOT the year to make those kinds of connections. It was not the time. The greatest lesson from the last one was to learn to let love go for a greater love. Let what is leaving, leave. Let what has been planted grow and manifest.

I grew healthier by learning how to control my diabetes better. After taking a 3 day diabetes class it changed my entire perspective on managing it. I learned that I can eat just about anything but, it all comes down to carbs and portion control. My A1C went from 13. 8? to 6.2. I still have work to do. However, it was a victory to me!

I sure hope our ride for 2021 is an actual ride versus the train wreck this one has been. However, it has brought to us the BIGGEST lessons and HOPE the majority of us SEE them. I hope we EMBRACE the lessons and APPLY them to our lives from here on out.

~Nikki

We’ve Got This and If Not, That’s Ok, Too!

Sometimes I go to bed feeling defeated. Sometimes I rise with power and sometimes I rise with a press in my spirit. I do not know why some of our lives have more obstacles than others. It’s not because we are special as we have been told (I don’t believe that). It’s not ALL because of the choices we make. But it’s always about the response. I believe it’s simply because this is our lot. This is our path. This is our journey and everyone’s journey is different. That’s it. I got this today with the weight of the world on my shoulders and tears in my eyes. I got this.

~Nikki

A Day in the Red Zone

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A day in the red zone can range from feeling like you are drowning to feeling like you are falling down a deep dark black hole that has no bottom. Today, I felt like I was drowning which I consider, lucky. This is not so lucky for others. It’s really not lucky for me, but let me explain. When I feel like I am drowning, I feel like I am fighting to stay above water, to stay in the game of life. I am trying to listen to something positive, read, watch TV, talk to someone, write in my journal, do some yoga, guided meditation, affirmations, pray and to sit outside. When I feel as if I am falling down the dark hole I have nothing to hold on to or very little. I do not know when or if I will hit the bottom and if I will be alive or sane. I do not want to do any of the things I mentioned before. And I don’t. That to me is worse than the feeling of drowning in my thoughts, experiences, and emotions.

In the black hole, there is no hope. You may feel pain, you may feel numb, and I have felt the worse feeling which is darkness. I know it’s not a feeling…but it is. Today, I tried to do all I could early on to uplift myself out of this red zone. It was frustrating because nothing seem to be working or it worked for the moment then quickly passed. I also was in shoulder pain and hip pain that didn’t go away. I tried eating fresh fruit, opening up the door and windows to light. So, I decided that I would just wait until the storm passed. It comes with a thought that says, “I can’t wait until this day is over.”

So, in my searching for something to express how I felt about depression today, I found this explanation on Pinterest. I shared in on my social media to help others understand what people like me go through. At least, some huge part of it. Then I decided to write about it as I watch NCIS. I am glad the day is almost over. I pray and believe tomorrow will be better.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: The CIRCUS of Life

 

The circus usually comes to town once a year. Sometimes, two or three times a year because there is more than one circus company. And let us not forget, the circus has a schedule of dates as it travels city to city. The circus, chaos, confusion, drama, confusion, whatever you want to call it, comes to all of us occasionally. Some of us live under the big red tent. Some of us look for big red tents. Some of us are drawn into it by the sounds, the smells of popcorn and cotton candy, or the weird music. It’s not until they bring out the animals we smell the poop.

Here we are in a big global circus. Shrink it down to your country, your state, your city or town. How much control do you have over what others do? Some want to to control because of the false sense of power they feel, but I believe some want to control out of a false sense of peace they feel. You see there are some of us that want everyone and everybody to be calm, at peace, happy, so that we can be calm, at peace, happy. Therefore, we try to control situations, people, influence their choices, etc. We get angry when we can’t. We get upset, anxious, we worry compulsively at times. It is okay to feel these feelings but I don’t recommend making it a lifestyle.

Here is what I know about the “Circus” or Chaos outside of my home, outside of my personal being:

  1. I cannot control other people.
  2. I can control my response.
  3. When I see what I feel is chaos, madness, and I cannot do ANYTHING about it, I repeat these words: Not my circus, not my monkeys.

The Circus inside is also filled with worry, concern, fear, and you have to find the root of that. Perhaps someone you love died or became ill because of something someone else did. Maybe, you didn’t have control over what happened to you, a loved one, etc. as far as an illness, accident, tragedy. Perhaps you, a child, someone you care about has an autoimmune disease, weakened immune system, or they are elderly and you are concerned for their well-being. Maybe you are just that person that worries about everyone. That worry, that fear, anxiety can be a barrel of monkeys on the inside. You are the Ringmaster of that circus. These thoughts, those fears, are your monkeys.

Here are a few ways I help myself:

I did what I needed to do to keep myself as safe as possible. I am at peace with this.

I did what I needed to do to protect my family. I am at a peace with this.

I did what I could, said what I needed to say to my family outside of my home, my friends, and associates. I am at peace with this.

I don’t have to agree with the actions of others in this matter, the choices they make. They don’t have to agree with my actions and my choices. I am at peace with this.

What they do or don’t do can affect me, it can affect others. However, I will choose peace by choosing prayer, meditation, affirmations, disconnecting from social media, turning off the news, making healthier choices, exercising. I choose peace by connecting with those that feel the way I do or those that are encouraging during this time. I am at peace with this.

When approached peacefully about my stance, I choose to engage peacefully or not at all. When attacked or approached negatively, I choose to respond with silence or wisdom. Silence is an answer and it is also wisdom. Do not go to their Big Red Tent. Do not buy tickets their circus. Do not be pulled in. I am at peace with this.

I can’t meet everyone at their level of understanding. If you argue with a fool, there are now two fools arguing. Do not be curious about this noise coming from the tent. It is a monkey. It is not your monkey either. You’ve seen this show before. You’ve been to the zoo. I am at peace with this.

~Nikki

 

 

 

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Mastering Anxiety. How I Survived a MRI

 

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Photo from Paris Trip

If you have ever had a MRI then you know how narrow and claustrophobic the huge machine can be. I didn’t have anyone to drive me so I could not take a sedative. But I really needed this testing done and I knew I would have to go all the way into the machine for almost an hour.

I didn’t sleep with my cpap machine on that night in the hopes that I would be drowsy enough to dose off once in the machine. Well, that helped. Once I was in the machine I quickly closed my eyes. I could feel my arms against the cold machine and I knew my face was only inches from this confined capsule. My first thoughts: “What if I get stuck? What if they can’t get me out because the table that I am malfunctions?” This may seem funny now, or to you, but to a person that has anxiety it is a very serious matter at the time. No matter how irrational it is to you. This is also where things go wrong with those who “don’t understand it” and the religious sector. This is the “Oh that’s sounds ridiculous. Now you’re talking crazy. Just pray. Think Positive.”

Mind you I am still learning how to deal with my anxiety. It hasn’t been long in my opinion since the diagnosis and when I look back over my life, if I only would have known that this is what was happening to me, I think I would have been so much better off in dealing with life. Instead I was labeled, emotional, a cry baby, weak, dramatic, and while I am proudly emotional now, and definitely can be dramatic (Hey, it’s part of my zodiac and artist DNA!) , it did not help me to understand what was happening. I suppose the double barrel is, “Black people don’t need therapy and if you are a Christian, you just pray about it. Use your faith.”

Back to the story. It is at that junction, of what ifs that I take deep deep yoga breaths until my heart rate starts to slow down. I focus on the breath. Then I address the thoughts. If I get stuck in here the table moves manually. What if the table doesn’t move manually? How do you know that? Did you ask? You should have asked. If it doesn’t, I can scoot out and they will help me. Whew, problem solved. Thank God I have been semi working on my weight. I do actually chuckle here.

I was aching that morning from joint pain, fibromyalgia, and muscle pain. I didn’t take any pain medication. I decided to first pray in the MRI tunnel. I prayed about everything and then I prayed for people, the Covid 19 plague (is what I call it). I prayed and gave thanks about my destiny, calling, lack of a love life, etc. I cast my cares and concerns on God. Then I meditated. I was at the beach. I envisioned my life, the way I wanted to see it. Then the lady interrupted me saying, “Okay. First part is over. You are doing well. Now, the table is going to move you all the way into the machine.” Me: “Okay.” Heck, I thought I was all the way in!

Part two: I finished meditating, never opening my eyes. I thought now what? I guess I will think about what I will do when “outside opens back up” and that means, when quarantine is over. I did that and then I did some affirmations. I know I dosed off several times during the hour I was in there.

I was so happy to hear the lady say, “That’s it! You did great for someone who is claustrophobic and has anxiety.” I told her, “I am surprised. In the past, when faced with tests like this or similar, I don’t always fair so well. I will take this victory. I did a lot of work in that machine to stay still and not panic.”  I just started telling myself days before the appointment that I could do it. I had to do it. I need to know what is causing constant pain in my hips, legs, shoulder. I need to know.

TRUTH: I didn’t just do a lot of work in that machine. I have been doing the work all along. I have been practicing meditation. I have been practicing the techniques from therapy. I have always prayed, but I have learned and I am learning to improve my prayer life. I have been listening to more positive videos, reading more positive things. I mean over years on the prayer and positive things. I can tell you that I have dropped off, “failed” techniques, just didn’t use them at all. It works more often than it doesn’t. It is because we are human. It is because we are faced with some things we have never been faced with and scales we have never dealt with. Yet, we get back on path. Crawling or walking. We get back on with life.

So let us, me, rival in this huge victory. Because last night, I had a battle with anxiety and it wasn’t pretty at all. Yet, I rise to focus on this victory from Thursday. One battle at a time, but I felt like Thursday’s MRI was a battle for the history books. It was like the movie 300! and I was fighting on that thing in the middle. I won. 🙂

~Nikki