Browsing Category | adversity

What I Can Do with My Anxiety

I’ve been having a no-good, horrible, very-bad day. It started with going to work. A huge panic attack arose. I couldn’t fight it, I kept it in as long as I could. Then I broke down. Cried really hard. Confessed honest feelings about myself to my husband. And here I am, watching Netflix already feeling panic about going to work tomorrow. 

After talking to my husband & my mom about the things I can’t do in regards to my life and mental health, I started to feel tired. I usually do. Crying brings a migraine and that brings exhaustion. But I felt strongly about making a list a things I CAN do when I’m experiencing anxiety.

It’s so hard to coninually feel like all you do is negative. All you talk is negative. Your thinking–negative. Because that’s anxiety. But I want people to know that I can function when I’m experiencing anxiety. Even if I can’t hold a job, I can still be productive and take care of myself too.

  • Read a book
  • Go to the temple and serve
  • Craft/create
  • Therapy
  • Clean
  • Small business from home
  • Meet with Karli–meal planning
  • Exercise ☝︎
  • Learn a new skill
  • Spend time with family/nephews
  • Go to the library
  • Blog
  • Maybe start growing a garden?
  • Go to church
  • Take notes on something
  • Hiking

These are just a few things I know that I can handle when I’m feeling anxious. I’m not some lazy human who sits at home and sulks in sadness. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with staying home. But I also enjoy having many interests, it’s part of being an ESFJ.

I’m going to try to make a self-care kit and probably include some of these!

Finding Peace in Jesus Christ — #PRINCEofPEACE

Finding Peace in Jesus Christ — #PRINCEofPEACE by Ashley Ziegler

I remember exactly where I was. I remember the text I got and I remember at what time. I remember not being able to feel anything except immediate peace and calm.

March 6, 2014 was the day I received a text from my mom that said, “Can you come over? I need to talk to you.” I just knew in my head… I knew it my heart immediately that it was bad news. My dad had surgery to remove his gall bladder, and the surgeons found a “large mass” sitting on his liver. My heart sank. I couldn’t breathe—my chest felt heavy.

I never ever saw this coming, never ever. I had a grandma on both sides of my family that had cancer but I didn’t know if it ran in the family or not. I remember seconds after my mom said the words “large mass,” this strong and powerful feeling of peace and calmness covered my entire body as if someone wrapped a blanket around me. Then, very clearly, I heard the words, “It will be okay. You will be okay.”

It went away. All of the scary, uncertain thoughts rolled right on it and I never thought about what I just heard, again.

My mom called me in minutes after sending me that text message. She couldn’t wait any longer to tell me. I was driving home from work but instead, drove straight to my parents’ home. I don’t even remember who was there when I walked in the door, family maybe…

My mother handed me photos of the large mass and began telling me about everything that had happened that day..

Finding Peace in Jesus Christ — #PRINCEofPEACE by Ashley Ziegler

Fast forward about a year later, I was attending my home ward one Sunday and during Relief Society we had a lesson on the talk, “But If Not” (by Dennis E. Simmons) and my life changed that day. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego is one I’ve heard before but that day, it was as if I was hearing it for the very first time.

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego refused to bow down and worship a golden image set up by the king, a furious Nebuchadnezzar told them that if they would not worship as commanded, they would immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. “And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?”2

The three young men quickly and confidently responded, “If it be so [if you cast us into the furnace], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand.” That sounds like my eighth-grade kind of faith. But then they demonstrated that they fully understood what faith is. They continued, “But if not, … we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”3 That is a statement of true faith.

They knew that they could trust God—even if things didn’t turn out the way they hoped.4 They knew that faith is more than mental assent, more than an acknowledgment that God lives. Faith is total trust in Him.

Faith is believing that although we do not understand all things, He does. Faith is knowing that although our power is limited, His is not. Faith in Jesus Christ consists of complete reliance on Him. (Simmons, Dennis E., 04/2004, GC)

All of the pieces fell into place like a perfect puzzle. The thoughts, “It will be okay. You will be okay.” and “But if not….” kept floating around in my head. It was making sense. I finally understood what the Spirit was telling me about my dad.

My dad will beat cancer! But if not… it will be okay. My dads cancer will not spread! But if not… it will be okay. My dad will not pass away! But if not… it will be okay. The whispering of the Spirit helped me piece together what it had silently and gently taught me. No matter what happens to my dad, my family, myself… I will be okay.

Even though God did not save my dad, I am okay and I know that I will be because I have received a witness from the Holy Ghost that I will see my dad again. I will be with him in the heavens and I will be loved and taken care of by God. All of this is possible through my Savior, Jesus Christ. Because of Him, my family is forever. Because He conquered the chains of death, I will not live in heartache for the rest of my life. He is the #PRINCEofPEACE. He is the peace I felt that day 3 years ago. He is the peace I felt that Sunday during Relief Society. He is the peace I feel today. Because He is, I have peace. I can have peace for the rest of my life. I know this to be true.

#PRINCEofPEACE campaign image via mormon.org

How have you experienced peace through Jesus Christ?

Visit mormon.org/easter today to read more stories from others who have experienced peace through Jesus Christ and learn how you can too!

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I Don’t Post About Depression for You

Quote made with the Wordswag App

There’s a lot of controversy over my blog. A lot of people love it while a lot of people hate it.

“It’s so nice to hear someone else going through the same thing!”

“Isn’t it exhausting? Talking about it all the time?”

More often than not, I get negative comments, messages, phone calls… anything from something I posted. I get it. I posted it which means that I’m “asking for it.” And while that may be true to you, I’m not posting for you.

I’m not going to say that I was that I loooooove this trial/blessing of depression and anxiety and that it is my calling to have it and to live it and to share it with others and that I swim in happiness. I’ve been told that all I do is sleep, eat, breathe and live depression. I can think of so many people who are probably thinking they never saw it comin’–me and depression.

I keep trying to think of how to say what I want to without coming undone and making a fool of myself online. I’ve been VERY open about my life and my struggles for about 7ish years now. That’s a long time and A LOT of sadness. 

Yes, I do wake up and sometimes, I cannot get out of bed. Yes, I do have a hard time starting the car and driving to work. Yes, I do have anxiety about whether or not I can make it through the next 5 minutes. Yes, I do literally count down the seconds until I can go home from work. Yes, I do get sad when I’m alone, or when Brady is at work/school. I do get sad, even with Lucy. Yes, my mind does wander and my anxiety predicts my future.

Yes to all of these things. I’m being pulled in two different directions. Half of people I know say to “buck up” and “be happy”. Stop being sad. The other half of people I know say to “grieve how you want” and “it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling.” I’ve got people who want me to live life one way and people who say it’s okay to live life another way. Isn’t that ironic though? People tell you to grieve and that it’s different for everyone? Yet, when you grieve they suddenly become experts on how to grieve and how YOU should grieve too? It’s amazing.

When I first started to experience depression, I didn’t know where to look. I didn’t know WHAT to look up. I wasn’t old enough to just drive myself right on over to the doctors and start “talking.” The Church didn’t have any publication on depression or mental health for matter and that was really hard to deal with. I’ve tried every medication under the sun. I’ve tried every breathing exercise you can suggest, and I’ve also tried exercise like a million times. What works for YOU or someone else is not and I repeat not always going to work for ME or someone else. If you don’t want to see this or read this stuff anymore, don’t. It’s as easy as that. If this drives you bonkers then unfollow. You’re not always going to like what you see and THAT. IS. LIFE.

I don’t know if people will ever understand that. Yes, I do get exhausted being sad all the time. Yes, I do get tired of living with depression. You bet your bottom dollar that I’m sick of taking medication and going to therapy. Yes, I’m tired of talking about it too. No, I don’t think I’m meant to be sad forever. No, I don’t think God punished me. No, I don’t think that I can just be happy right when you tell me to choose to be. Sure, I can definitely make an effort but when it’s something in your brain that affects your choice to be happy, no matter how much medication you’re on, it isn’t always going to solve it. Yes, I wish I didn’t deal with this anymore. I’m so tired of being sad. Do you know how ashamed I feel on those days when everyone tells me to be strong, and then I’m not? Depression just knocking on my door for that one.

But here’s what I’m doing with it while it’s here. I’m going to make the best of it. I’ve driven too many friends out of my life because of it. I’ve ruined so many relationships because of it. I feel so alone because of it. I’m going to be sharing my ideas of how I manage to get through the day or through the next 5 minutes. Yes, I’m going to talk about how much I miss my dad. Yes, I do plan on sharing my experiences of anxiety and depression while also sharing on the gospel and it’s affect on my mental health. I’m going to share how I write my feelings out in a notebook. I’ve been that one person to leave a comment on a blog that came up in a Google search for “how to deal with anxiety and depression.” I know what it’s like to “have nowhere to turn to.” So yes, I am going to talk about these things. 

I don’t post about these things so that people can complain to me about it. I don’t post to make you feel overwhelmed with how sad I am. I don’t post to make you feel like you need to take care of me. I post for that one person who might stumble across my blog. For that one person who can relate to at least a single sentence in a post from 2014. I blog for that one person who just needs someone to express how THEY’RE feeling but in a way that they can’t. I’m not posting for publicity or popularity. I’m posting for that someone who, like me, feels alone, unconnected and sad. 

Quote made with the Wordswag App

This is life and while it isn’t the fanciest, I’m taking it with what I have and doing my best and that’s ALL you can ask of me. Because for every 1 complaint email I receive, I have 5 thank-you emails waiting for me. THINK before you criticize someone for how they live their life, choose to live their life and how they take care of themselves. Do you really know what’s going on?

xoxo,
Ashley awake @ 12 AM.

Family Wall

When Brady and I first moved to our apartment, I knew this wall was going to be my family wall. What’s a family wall? Everything hung has to do with families and eternal families. With my dad passed just weeks after we moved in, it became a special wall and my very favorite. I hung up my most favorite Proclamation, the beautiful family photos my mom gave us for Christmas, a picture and quote that my sisters gave me when my friend past and I added a little special touch.

I have a special story that goes along with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s story. The scripture can be found in Daniel 3, specifically verses 17-18. This talk was shared one Sunday morning in a Relief Society lesson I attended. My brother-in-law’s mother was the one who gave the lesson that day and it just spoke to my heart. You can read more about that here. So I printed off a photo of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and created a plain white image with black text that reads,”but if not…” with the scripture underneath. It serves as a reminder of that spiritual experience I had after that RS lesson, and reminds me that when I have a hard day and I am missing my dad, that it’s okay. I love God and He loves me and He will take care of me.

Also, don’t laugh at my attempt at a gallery wall. :)

Off the Grid

Ashley Ziegler Portrait by Abbey Kyhl
Ashley Ziegler Portrait by Abbey Kyhl
Abbey Kyhl, www.akstudiodesign.com

I had a breakthrough during therapy this past week. I cried tears that have been held back for a couple of months now. We talked about my dad. We talked about how my heart just aches for him to be here. If I’ve learned anything about grieving around holidays and special dates, it’s that the anticipation leading up to the actual day is a lot more difficult to go through than the actual day itself. From October to about right now, I’ve really had a hard time.

Looking back at these past two months, I’ve noticed that I have kind of checked out. I’ve stopped talking to a lot of my friends, I’ve been blogging a lot less. I let school kind of fall off the wagon. I find myself just wanting to be at home or with my family. Since school is out, working regular hours has actually been going really well for me, and putting my focus on that has really made a difference. I’m not angry with anyone, I’m not hurt by something someone said. I think I’m just trying to take time for myself. It’s been all sorts of busy around my neck of the woods. Mom’s birthday, parents wedding anniversary, dad’s headstone put in, Veterans day, Thanksgiving, more birthdays, more family parties, Christmas, New Years…. so much is happening and dad is just not here.

It all just kind of happened. This “off the grid” thing. I’m ready for the year to end. It’s been full of nothing but loss. It’s exhausting. But on the positive side, my photography business has been growing extremely well! And to be honest, that’s what I’ve been spending 100% of my time doing. Between October and right now, I’ve booked and shot 4 weddings, shot 2 engagement sessions with 1 bridal session coming up, and three weddings next year. I also second-shot with an amazing photographer at the Provo City Center Temple and I am so glad I was able to meet her. I’ve really been putting all of my efforts and energy towards that.. it’s been nice to have that to focus on and see all the hard work, from this year, pay off.

I miss my dad terribly. I don’t know when I’ll be getting out of this “funk” or start to feel more active in my social life. I’ve just really enjoyed having this time to myself, unplanned. I miss my friends, and I miss talking to people. I am grateful to those who have stayed in touch and make me feel whole. So many people have truly reached out in the kindest of ways and my heart just can’t express the amount of gratitude I wish it could. 

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

xoxo