Once upon a time, I was the girl who hated herself, got stressed out about everything, and had major anxiety attacks that led me to self-harm. High school, allegedly the best years of your life, were the darkest years of my life. I went from slightly insecure, to totally insecure, to unsure if I even wanted to be alive. How could life ever get better than it was? Life seemed so dark and hopeless. Four years later, I’m here to tell you that life get’s better. That’s why I created this blog less than a year after I left the hole of darkness I lived in for a while. I built this blog for myself, because I needed encouragement. I still need encouragement, but not the same kind of encouragement that I needed when I started DARE to HOPE. Now, I need the encouragement that comes from being able to write about better days.
My whole life, I’ve been incredibly accident prone. I drop everything, sprain/twist my ankle more frequently than any person should be capable of, and I’ve been in more car accidents than I care to admit. I’m also a perfectionist, so being clumsy and accident prone and also a bit of an airhead sometimes, is pretty much the worst thing I can be. Scratch that. It was pretty much the worst thing I could be. It’s taken years, but now I know how to handle stressful situations like screw ups and unplanned events.
On Sunday morning, I got in another car accident. Honestly, I wasn’t even surprised it happened. I have the worst luck with cars. Not just because I’ve been in way too many car accidents, but also because I tend to have random car problems at the worst times. Anyway, I live in San Antonio and right now pretty much every major street and highway in San Antonio is undergoing construction work. I live off of one of the major roads being worked on and it leads into pretty much every other road being worked on. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if it wasn’t for the fact that I really can’t avoid the construction because this road only goes one way into the city, the other directions leads more to the outskirts and farm land. That’s kind of irrelevant though. The point is, I was in standstill traffic and then suddenly it started going again, but seemingly out of nowhere, the cars in front of me started to slow down. I tried to stop, but my breaks kind of spazzed out on me and only worked halfway. Granted, I was probably too close to the guy in front of me to begin with, but I wasn’t any closer than anyone was to anyone else. I rear-ended him, he rear-ended another lady, and she rear-ended a second lady. For the first time ever, my airbags deployed and I was in a multiple car collision that was partially my fault (it started because the second car hit the first car and startled me). Needless to say, I was panicking a little bit, especially because the airbags deploying made me really nervous about how I and the others would come out of the accident. By the grace of God, everyone came out unscathed and the other three drivers were able to drive away from the scene. My car is probably totaled though, which sucks because it’s a mustang and I’ve always wanted a mustang.
Anyway, the whole reason I was driving in the first place–I don’t drive unless I absolutely have to, because I hate driving so much. Do you blame me? I have a pretty bad driving history. Two speeding tickets and a lot of accidents from turning left–was because I was going to church. Sunday mornings are the worst times to get in a car accident if you and all your friends and family are church people, by the way. Thankfully, I had made plans with my best friend, Shelby, for the same day, so I immediately thought to text message her that I wouldn’t be at church after all. I also called my parents and grandfather and text messaged a roommate who had been at home still when I left the house. Except for Shelby, none of them answered right away and when they did, they ended up being farther away from me than Shelby was, so when worship was over at church (she’s on the worship team) she came to pick me up and drove me to church for the second service for worship. Then we went to hang out like we had planned to before my accident.
If it were up to me, then there wouldn’t have been a car accident. If there had to be a car accident and it were up to me, then it wouldn’t have happened at the right time to cause me to miss church. That being said, I am glad it happened on a Sunday morning and that my best friend was able to pick me up. The best part though, is that it happened on a day when I had plans with her. Years ago, if something like this would have happened and I was left alone to deal with it, I probably would have ended the day with some form of self-harm before crying myself to sleep. If this had even happened a few months ago, I would have been having a panic and or anxiety attack the whole day. As it is, I still probably would have freaked out a bit more this time if I had been left alone, but I wasn’t. Even when things happen and cause negative circumstances, God is working out all things for the good of those who love him. I got to spend half the day with my best friend, which was a great distraction from what had started as a bad day. Still though, some anxiety did break through my time with Shelby, and once I wasn’t with her anymore, especially when I had to drive (borrowing my dad’s car) the anxiety really started to try to take over. By the grace of God, I was able to stop it from taking over though. If you need this encouragement today on how to avoid stress and anxiety and the worries of this world, then here’s a list of what helped keep me calm. Maybe you can use it for yourself?
- Text messaging and hanging out with my best friend.
- Retail Therapy (in my case two books and a movie I’d been wanting to for a while)
- A worship session with the Lord
- Taking control of what I can control (in this case finding a replacement car)
- Punching a punching bag and left some weights (read dumbbells)
- Taking a peppermint, lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus spearmint bubble bath that was hot it was like a sauna while in a darkened bathroom (think candle light, but with night lights and flashlights) and pop music playing while I soaked for a while before taking a shower to rinse/clean off (baths are a nice idea, but I can’t just take a bath. I need to shower after soaking in the tub)
- Watching a heartbreaking romance while eating popcorn and trying not to cry.
- Following it up with a cheesy rom-com Chick Flick and some wine.
- Expressing myself in an artistic way to reduce the left over stress of the day. (drawing, painting, writing, playing music)
- Taking a deep breath and reminding myself that I’ve made it this far so I can’t give up now, because God is on my side and He wants me to succeed as much as I want to succeed, even if my success is nothing more than not breaking down. You may not know this if you’re not anxiety prone like I am or if you’ve never dealt with any other kind of regular mental/emotional breakdown, but keeping yourself together when it seems easier to break down is actually a HUGE accomplishment if you don’t just bottle your feelings up inside and actually release them in a healthy way.
Anyway, I just wanted to share this with anyone who might want to read it. I was proud of myself when I realized I made it through the day without any major breakdowns even though the threat was at the back of my mind all day. Like I said, I used to be a girl who dealt with stress in a very negative and unhealthy way. Anytime I realize that I’ve dealt with it in a (or more) positive and healthy way, I just have to give myself a pat on the back and smile over the fact that “they” were right. It DOES get better and what doesn’t kill you really DOES make you stronger! I hope this post encourages you, because it encouraged me just to be able to sit down and write it. It’s amazing how therapeutic writing and reading can be; don’t ya think?
If you’re reading this and can think of any time, even the smallest of moments, when you made it through a moment that you wouldn’t have been able to get through in the past, then share the memory with me. I’d love to hear and maybe draw encouragement from it for myself in the future! 🙂