One hell of a team

Yesterday I found myself in a mental tailspin. My family and I had just returned home from a weekend of camping with friends at one of our favorite spots. A weekend like that usually leaves me excited, thankful and full of joy. But, as I stood in the kitchen making dinner, my breath quickened, my temperature rose, and the anxiety swelled. I felt out of control and panicked. The smallest details of the past few days flew threw my mind – I could have done more. I could have looked better. I could have eaten less. I am a mess. I am not good enough.

Anxiety and I are old foes. This was nothing new, but it was disturbing and frightening nonetheless. Disturbing because I have already claimed victory over these anxious thoughts and behaviors. Disturbing because it was a reminder that anxiety will never cease to battle against me. Frightening because I was caught off guard and unprepared to fight back.

I felt physically swollen and huge. Convinced that the clothes I was wearing were to tight, I hurried upstairs to change.

I returned to the empty kitchen feeling exposed and painfully vulnerable. I stood there paralyzed with anxiety, fright and panic. I was defenseless against the lies swarming inside my head – they confused me and ruined my frame of reference of what is real and true. I didn’t know how to battle the lies and find my balance. I struggled to find my way and realized I wasn’t going to without help.

At that moment, Isaac walked into the kitchen.

Tell him. Ask for help. It’s okay. He can handle it. He will still love you. Ready, set, go. Do it. He is in this with you.

They were as much thoughts as they were truths that he has spent 10 years convincing me of. Practice makes perfect. I fell right into our old drill.

Hey Love, I need to say this out loud. I am struggling with some anxious thoughts right now. It’s weird. This hasn’t happened, at least not like this, for years. It’s all of my body image stuff coming back. This is so weird. 

He looked at me and nodded. “Okay. You’re okay.”

He stood close. I fought against my shame and maintained eye contact as I let my thoughts spill out onto our kitchen floor.

He listened and hugged me. The panic was leaving, but still I felt confused and disoriented.

I stepped back and looked at him, taking a deep breath. It was my way of asking him to help me find the truth. He got it. He remembered. He told me who I really was – he spoke of my value as a wife, mom, friend, person. He said it with absolute confidence. I didn’t argue, but nodded in affirmation of every truth. I closed my eyes and let myself hear it. I breathed, slowly inhaling the truth and exhaling the lies. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.

My mind was calm. I could see the way out. I told myself to relax.

I am enough. I am enough. I am enough.

Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.

I pulled up a moment in my head – a moment that stood for truth. I focused my mind on a moment from earlier in the day. My family and I woke up in our tent that morning. It was chilly and early and we all smelled like bonfire. It was perfect. Simply the best.

My truth

My truth

 

That is the truth. The other stuff is meant to rob me from truth and joy. It’s the worst kind of bullshit.

 

It had been years since such an episode. It felt so familiar though. Back then, it was a daily thing for me… for us. We knew the battle inside and out. We fought hard and came out on top. Now, we’re old pro’s. We are one hell of a team, Isaac and I.

 

I woke up this morning feeling fresh and relieved. My mind was calm and full of truth. Victory.

Sure, you can handle much on your own, Strong Friend. But at times, you need a partner to join your fight. Find your fighters and build your forces. Yes, it will cost you your vulnerability and pride, but it is worth it. Share the battle and the victory with your people.

Peace and Love,

Natalie 

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29 Comments

  • Reply
    Samantha Shintaku
    03/31/2014 at 4:09 pm

    You are amazing Natalie. Such an inspiration to so many. Thank you for sharing your heart…you are so loved!!!

  • Reply
    Kayli Bagwell
    03/31/2014 at 5:15 pm

    You are a warrior my friend. Such vulnerable words that speak truth to so many of us that struggle with the same stuff. I love you so much!!!!

  • Reply
    Aida
    03/31/2014 at 5:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing Natalie. This resonated with me on a couple of levels. One of which is how I feel about my body post baby.
    Thank you for the encouragement to let others into our thoughts, it is hard to verbalize some things to another person.

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      03/31/2014 at 5:49 pm

      Hi Aida! The body is a wonderful and amazing thing, isn’t it? To grow and birth a life – it’s amazing! Congratulations!
      Letting others in has been life changing for me. Thank you for letting me share.

  • Reply
    Jen Varela
    03/31/2014 at 6:06 pm

    Wow! With tears I read… That mantra “I am enough, I am enough” is the song I sing too when the lies come in, I can’t catch my breath and the anxiety wants to win. I am so grateful to have Ray in my life to look me in the eyes, hear my raw inadequate fears and ground me with love. I love you Natalie and it is an honor to hear your journey, see your courage and watch our heart grow as you live your life out loud. Well done!

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      03/31/2014 at 9:36 pm

      Thank you Jen. Would love to reconnect soon! Love to you and the family.

      • Reply
        Jen Varela
        03/31/2014 at 10:21 pm

        Yes!!!! Maybe a phone date is way easiest to start … 949-280-4500 M-F 9am to 1 p.m is my best window… and you? I know the age of your girls is a moving target. It would be the peak in my day… give me 3-options in that window and I will try to match your schedule. Love who you are are and how you are going after life! Kinda strange to post it but not sure I have your current info. Varelie, xoxo

  • Reply
    Yvette Campbell
    03/31/2014 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. Glad to know I’m not alone. Xo

  • Reply
    Paula wheeler
    03/31/2014 at 7:17 pm

    Sweet girl, you just brought tears to my eyes. I felt the rawness of my own struggles with my body image. It’s real and it’s super scary when that dark place comes upon me with no warning. What a blessing it is to have a partner who is there to listen, talk us of the ledge, and love us despite that evil voice in our head. You are such an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing and for being real. Blessings to you, sweetie!!!!

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      03/31/2014 at 9:25 pm

      Thank you Paula! May you find a fighter to join with you in your battle. Isaac is my forever fighter and I am so blessed beyond anything to have him.

  • Reply
    Jenna
    03/31/2014 at 7:30 pm

    Okay friend…you just brought me to tears. Your writing is so beautiful just like you. I love your vulnerability and openness. Thanks for sharing and encouraging us all to have our “fighters” there with us. That is something that is always on my heart and mind and something I’m going to touch on on Wednesday. Love you!

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      03/31/2014 at 9:24 pm

      Thank you Jenna. Your encouragement and love means a lot. Glad to have you as a friend.

  • Reply
    natjtan
    04/01/2014 at 2:56 am

    I understand completely where you’re coming from with a tear in my eye. You have a great man looking out for you! Luckily my boyfriend is understanding too even though he might not get my issues and is miles away and busy, he’s there. This summer maybe the 8th summer he’s away for (3-4months solid) and it’s tough when I haven’t got him to calm me down, help shake of things off and be there in person for me. That’s when my mind plays tricks and the dark thoughts start. I’ve just shaken off the last load (of many years) and have got used to him around and then he’s off!

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      04/03/2014 at 3:18 pm

      Keep shaking it off Natalie! While he may be miles away, you’re not alone. We are all in this together. xo

  • Reply
    Carolyn Converse
    04/01/2014 at 4:37 pm

    You have always been so perfect to me. I would love to be perfect like you. It is wonderful for each of you to have such a wholesome marriage and love that helps to make you feel complete. Had it with Bill. You both have a family to be grateful, blessed, and happy with. I had no idea you had such doubts about yourself. Thank you for sharing what so many of us have not shared. May God bless each of you always. Grandma Carolyn

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      04/03/2014 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Grandma Ma! I didn’t know you read my blog. Well, thank you for reading and for your encouragement. Love, Natalie

  • Reply
    Heidi
    04/01/2014 at 5:28 pm

    I totally relate! So what do you do if your husband doesn’t know what to say or do in those moments? He is wounded and lost and unsure of the truth himself. He wants to be there but does not have the tools. It’s hard to go to someone for help when you know they don’t know how to help. It’s lonely. I guess that’s when I turn to a friend? That’s super vulnerable when you feel like a Debby downer, needy and unworthy. I try to remain hopeful to get to that place, through the Lords healing- which is feeling very slow, where I can say that my husband and I are “one hell of a team”! God bless you and your family!!! Thanks for your post!!!

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      04/01/2014 at 9:59 pm

      Hi Heidi, thanks for your honesty. It has taken me years to figure out a constructive way of letting people into this journey with me. My husband and I struggled with it for over a year – it was tremendously hard for him to understand, let alone support me… and compassionate words were few and far between. It was very beneficial for us to spend time with a counselor. Be hopeful and fight hard for your partnership.

      As far as friendships go, there are small few that I entrust with my anxiety. I guess for the same “Debby Downer” fear, but also because I realize that sometimes the thing I need most is to focus on something other than my anxious thoughts and friendly conversations (about anything other than me) can help me along. Not sure if that makes sense or if you can relate.

      Remain hopeful and remember that this is for a time. It is not forever. Your anxiety does not define you – you will overcome it.

  • Reply
    Lynzi
    04/03/2014 at 12:48 pm

    I love you friend and I’m so proud of you for being this vulnerable. You have won and continue to win and are encouraging so many other people to win with this truth you are screaming. Thank you for bringing me to tears and for being so real! I love doing life with you!!!

    • Reply
      Lynzi
      04/03/2014 at 12:50 pm

      PS- I will forever be a fighter with you!

      • Reply
        hellodaynatalie
        04/03/2014 at 3:17 pm

        Thank you dear friend. Your friendship means the world. Two fighters are better than one.

  • Reply
    Kaeli
    04/03/2014 at 1:04 pm

    Beautiful! This is just beautiful! Thank you so much for being brave and sharing this. It touched my heart. Xoxo

  • Reply
    Assorted Goods to Lighten the Mood | hello day
    04/04/2014 at 2:56 pm

    […] let’s lighten things up a bit up in here. If you’re not sure what I mean, read the previous post. But, before we move on, I must thank so many of you (you know who you are) for your response. This […]

  • Reply
    Christina Taver
    04/12/2014 at 12:11 am

    Oh friend, I am so thankful and feel so blessed to be able to read you incredible words of strength and encouragement. You are changing lives friend. You have such a tremendous gift. I feel honored to know you and to witness the impact you have on others. You are an strong, honest, loyal, and beautiful person. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. I love you so much.

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      04/12/2014 at 1:51 pm

      Friend, thank you for the heartfelt response. It’s amazing the history we have shared…thank you for understanding and encouragement. I love you.

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