My Cup Overfloweth. Living with an Emotionally Full “Cup”.


So, I finally decided I might talk about my experience with a Mental Health Diagnoses. I preach breaking stigma and am the VP of the Board of Directors of my local chapter of NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness)…I need to be able to practice what I preach. Awareness is everything. If we are not aware of what we need to change, change will never occur. I am, however, going to talk about this a bit differently than I pictured. I’m not telling you what I’ve been diagnosed with until the end. Mwahaha!

When talking about mental health I like to talk about each person having their own cup of what they can “handle”. Everyone’s level in the cup is different–some are mostly empty while others are very full. Adding stress (good or bad) fills the cup. Personal growth and positive coping skills can help lower the baseline level so we can handle a bit more being poured in, or perhaps a trauma occurs raising the level allowing less. What happens when the cup overflows?

My cup tends to be quite full from the get-go. It has been since I can remember. It does not take much to fill it full and, while I do my best to try to level it off, sometimes it overflows. A new name for what I deal with attempting to replace the old diagnoses is: Emotional Intensity Disorder (EID). I very much prefer this as it reflects my world more realistically. With EID I experience the world a bit differently than most. I experience relationships differently and experience my self differently. The best way to describe the “difference” is adding intensity to whatever emotional connection one has with the world and people around them. Granted all pathologies exist on a spectrum (and I tend to be on the higher functioning end of the spectrum) those afflicted with EID don’t just dislike, they hate. They don’t just like, they deeply love, they don’t get disappointed, they get devastated, not angry, they rage. Black and white. No gray.

I tend to keep my cup quite full because I have a lot of interpersonal issues I’m working through. Though the last two years has emptied much cup a bit, I am still doing enough self-work to maintain a more than half full emotional load. And, unfortunately, I’m also someone who tends to be very motivated…which means I love to fill that cup, too much…and then crash. Hard. I’m learning balance. I’m learning balance within myself and with the world around me. This has led to me dropping a lot of things I used to very much enjoy. I quit the kennel club, I quit therapy dog, I stepped far back with my Beachbody business…because I just couldn’t anymore. Between work, NAMI, and school (yes, I took another class…I’m a masochist)…I just didn’t have room…and still don’t…for anything beyond. Not to mention the whole “trying to have a baby, but can’t” thing.

My cup is full. And this hurts. I love to love. I love my friends and family and love to spend time with you, but often I keep finding when I allow myself to take in another I drain myself…well…fill I guess. And I’m an extrovert. It’s so hard to learn boundaries and limitations, and enforce them, where they never used to be. I have tear down my past view of my relationships and create new ones based on my understanding of myself and the other souls–which is still being developed. I don’t have a strong sense of personal identity. I never did. It’s developing, but until it’s there I’m still navigating what this new world of mine will look like.

Now here comes the hard part. Telling you the truth. I have lived most of my life with substantial self-depreciating, devaluing, and defeating mind. I hated myself. Hated. I could look myself in the mirror and rage would swell inside as the face of the person looking back at me was the very person that was my worst enemy. I never understood “love your neighbor as yourself” growing up. It was a very perplexing idea…I never knew most people didn’t hate themselves until I was much older…I always thought it should be the other way around. Through two years of intense therapy, medication, two hospitalizations (resulting from incidents I should not have survived), and group Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, I can finally say I don’t hate myself. The love part is coming…I love parts of myself. But I don’t really know who I am to be able to love all of myself…not yet. But I know this will come. I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. For those of you who are familiar…please know it is not what you think. The stigma against BPD is disgusting. The stigma WITHIN the mental health field is disgusting.

For those of you unfamiliar: BPD is a personality disorder caused by nature and nurture. The perfect concoction to create a hell inside your own mind. I struggle with debilitating depression and anxiety. There are days I cannot get out of bed and there are days I have a full blown panic attack in public. There are days I feel like I’d rather die than live with myself one more minute, and there are days where I feel fine. BPD tends to be like bipolar, anxiety, and depression all wrapped in one nasty little package. Healthcare practitioners look at people afflicted with BPD as manipulative and attention seeking. While this can be, it is not simply for the sake of “look at me! I want attention!” It’s more like “Please help me! I want to die, and I know there’s supposed to be a way out of this!”. Again, there’s a spectrum.

I had a Psychiatrist tell me: “What do you have to be sad about? You have so much going for you! There are ways around infertility, you shouldn’t be upset about that”. I will never forget what he said, because it stung. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be “sad”. Which just made me hate myself more. When one hates oneself, and constantly hears how worthless they are ringing inside their head…there’s no reason to live. The pain is so intense, all you can think about is getting out.

It’s like being on fire. No one would ever say to someone on fire “Don’t be upset, it won’t last forever!” The person on fire doesn’t care how long…all they know is they’re burning alive and they want out. 

Please be gentle. You don’t know who is fighting a battle, you don’t know who is on fire, you don’t know another’s story. Instead, just hold them. Just meet them where they are and be there with them without judgement and without expectation. My brain doesn’t work like most…an no one’s brain works the same. Our experience and understanding of the world around us is unique to each individual…and beautifully fluid.

There. I said it. I’m normal, successful, smart, happily married, and I also have a Mental Health Diagnoses. So what.

I am stigma free.


I Just want my Foot Back!! (Why I Run)

Several years ago I was diagnosed (officially) with freaking plantar fasciitis. The fancy word for “crazy sore feet for no reason”. Well there is a reason…for me comes down to body mechanics and muscling that ultimately proves I’m a horrible specimen for furthering our species. I can’t even walk right, and it’s not because of a condition, it’s just because when I learned how to walk I did it wrong…and now my feet are paying for it. Normally when I have a flare up I just take some time off from running, stretch, ice, and all the crap they tell you to do…and it gets well enough to begin running again. (I have done everything I’m supposed to except cortisone shots…if anyone has any other ideas please, by all means). My problem now is I’m a nurse. I don’t get to rest my feet until I can correct the problem…I have to keep walking. So I pop ibuprofen like candy when working my 12hr shifts on my feet and then hobble around at home after my shift tormenting my husband with my whining about my throbbing feet.

This post isn’t about my feet though. It’s about running, and connecting with the world around me. I started running in my early twenties because I felt it was probably something I should be doing. I started with 2 miles and normally ran between 3 and 6 miles several times a week. As I’ve grown as a person so has my experience with running. It had become a massive coping skill for me and has been a huge comfort in times of stress.

When I ran I could let my mind do what it needed to do…whether it be working through issues I was having, thinking about mundane somethings of the day, or just being an empty slate for the interactions around me. It became prayer. And a fantastic practice for discipline (HILLS). I would often experience “a-ha” moments during runs as well as times I was called to pause and just take in the scenery. My heart always smiled when running our nature trails as I ran in to many animals and the river it shadows was oh so comforting. I used to walk down the street to where the trail began and sit by the river and just…sit. I’d meditate. I’d feel connected to everything and everyone around me, I could feel God within and around me and my heart would be at complete peace.

Now, when I walk to that place I end up limping back wishing there was shortcut home. I tried forcing myself to run and a half mile in deeply regretted it. But ok…don’t run, just go for walks. Nope. Can’t walk either. Walking around the house to clean is enough to put me off my feet for the rest of the evening. I want so badly to take my dogs for our walks and go on evening walks with my husband. These things I’ve treasured and leaned on have been taken away from me.

I’m trying to learn to ride a bike so maybe I can at least do that. I can ride…just not well and there’s a lot of hills around where I live and I’m not very good at the whole “gears” thing yet. That and I need to train my dogs to run with my bike. Even still I can only take a couple of them (the others are out of shape). So while I’m perfecting my bike skills I’ve also begun to swim. Another wonderful thing to do and I enjoy swimming very much, but it’s not the same. I want to be outside. I want to walk to the park and sit under my favorite tree. I want to run. I miss it so much.

I love my job. I love love love being a nurse, but the shifts are causing me to fall apart…physically and mentally (swing shifts). Maybe I’ll get used to it. Being a DNP with different hours and physical demands will also help…motivation to hurry up with that grad school thing. Either that or I need some “go-go Gadget Legs”.

Who would have thought that being able to run is motivation for higher education?

Today I Married my Mother

The Church is a whore, but she is my Mother.
-St. Augustine

If you had asked me five years ago what I thought of Catholics I would have given you a 20 minute lecture on how they’re “wrong”.

I was a proud Protestant. Grew up in the Assemblies of God church where we spoke in tongues and danced in the aisles. My favorite part about church was the child-like celebration of God…jumping around, clapping, dancing. I love all of this still and when worshiping with music on my own I still dance and shout! There was nothing ever wrong with where I was with my faith journey, nor is there anything wrong with anyone else’s. I had just gotten to a point where my relationship and understanding of God felt awkward and stagnant. I started reading, I read a lot about Catholicism vs Protestantism vs Atheism. Yes, I did toy with the idea of whether or not there was some “God” at all. I remember sitting across the table from my husband when we were out for supper and told him I’m not sure if I believe in God anymore.

The more I learned about science and religion, the more I realized it’s impossible to believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God. That the LITERAL ENGLISH translation of what we call the Bible now is the literal word of God. Once I found that crack in the mirror, I took a sledge hammer and completely shattered the mirror that represented by belief system. I started from scratch. Read scholar after scholar, re-read a lot of scripture, read a lot of the original translation, how the Bible even became what it is today. I learned about truth. How facts and truth are not synonymous. An old Native American quote sticks with me:
“Now I’m not certain if this is how it happened, but I know this story to be true”.
I believe the Bible is indeed true. Truth, not meaning facts. There might be some facts, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t need to be taken as factual. It simply asks you to listen to it’s truths.
One of the undeniable truths is that God is Love. And we are a reflection of Him, thus we are also Love, living in Love, for Love, by Love. This concept caused me to stumble into the hands of many Mystics as St Francis of Assisi, Thomas Keating, Marcus Borg, Richard Rohr, Thomas Merton, and Rob Bell to name a few. These men opened a door of idea that I had been so blinded to before and this doorway led me to Catholicism. But not for the reason one would normally find Catholicism. It the idea of mercy and grace that the Church teaches. The reverence given to the one we call God. The rich meaning behind everything they do.

Something the Mystic Fathers have taught me is the importance of meditation…silent reflection with our Heavenly Father. Meditation is something the Protestant church as a whole greatly missed out on for me. The importance of prayer–and I don’t mean just literally talking to God–is phenomenal. Prayer looks like so many different things–it can be admiration of creation, sitting in silence, being with and loving another, participating in a therapeutic coping skill. Anything that involves interaction with the One is indeed prayer.

I found my understanding of the universe and transdimensionalism seemed to fit much better with Catholic theology. Not that this means it’s right or wrong, it’s simply easier to relate to. Transdimensionalism, however, opens up a whole new world of understanding where the spirit of us, our soul, our energy “ends up”. Its not so odd to think that those who have passed before us are simply living in a dimension interactive with our own, allowing intervention–good or bad if one considers the idea of evil spirits. But also this brings to light the beauty of the intercession of saints. When a dimension is without time a person’s energy exists always. To put things very simply-the “Praying to Saints” issue most have with Catholism is covered under concept that those Saints are still very much with us and are able to pray with and for us.

Anyway, to get to the point of this blog post. It took me a few years of really digging and piecing back my idea of Faith to turn to Catholicism. I did a lot praying, I did a lot of fasting, I did a lot of critiquing, learning, and thinking…and I just kept getting led back. So I “converted”. Please don’t hear me say Catholicism is the only way, it is simply where my husband and I have been led to meet with the Beloved at this time in our lives. The journey you are on is meant for you. This just happens to be ours.

Today my husband and I were baptized into the Catholic Church. And it was amazing. It felt like I was at a wedding, I was nervous, I was filled with joy. My husband agreed, that it felt like when we got married. I was filled with joyful tears throughout but after partaking of the Eucharist (Communion) for the very first time the joy was overwhelming. The love and peace that took over me at that moment made me realize how symbolic this moment really was. How I had just chosen to bind myself in Holy matrimony to my Mother Church. I never in a million years imagined this day would ever happen, let alone that it ended up being as rich and meaningful as it was. I feel like I’m home.

This leads me back to a dear friend of mine, Marty S. Dalton who wrote a poem years ago that has always stuck in my mind. Today it is more real that I’ve ever experienced it:

Over on the dirty side of town glimpsed between the red flashes of “don’t walk”
And barely visible through the steam spewing off of street drains
Leaned up against the neon sign of a pawn shop is a prostitute
Whose mother was a prostitute
Whose grandmother was a prostitute
Whose great-grandmother was a prostitute back
As far as they can recall
And she’s wearing the hand-me down wedding dress that fits her a little too well

And if you go down the right alleyways
You’ll find her prayers stenciled onto liquor shops like brick wall communiqués
Up to the ears of a still-listening God go her graffiti apologies

Confessions so painful they can’t be pretend
They get more vulgar until you reach the alley’s end
Where they run out of room and start climbing up the wall,

Climbing up and up and up until they turn into steeples
The spray paint colors into stained glass windows
Forming a sanctuary whose doors don’t close
She strides inside and waits at the altar in white clothes

And who should reverse the customary process and approach as her groom?
None, but a ruler whose purple train fills the entire room
How backward to see this promiscuous harlot married to a king
But as she mouths her vows
They resound as forgiveness hymns she sings

In the pews made of cigarette butts and beer cans
Every hard-backed row built by her own hands
Sits a throng of witnesses
And all of them can see she doesn’t deserve His graces

Their sense of justice so violated
It can’t be controlled,
That their arms are crossed like origami waiting to unfold
In objection to this unholy marriage
As they ask themselves who gave her the privilege

At this alter she doesn’t have a right to be
“But,” she says, “He proposed to me.”
And wedding wine never tasted so good
Full forgiveness flavored finer than it should

He leans down with a kiss on her brow
She tilts her weary head down
And feels the weight of a holy crown
Etchings along the inside
Read: “Child and Bride, In You I Abide”

And with whisper in her ear He is repeating over and over
I love you I love you I love you I love you
I love you…

The congregation cheers and rises,
But from the street outside the open doors of the shabby-made cathedral
A shout across the crowd breaks the joyous celebration
A man cursing as he swore
“You can’t hear the gospel from a whore!”
But in walked two daughters and then in walked a son
They placed their hands on the man with a smile and said,
“I and my mother one.”
(c) Marty Schoenleber III 2012


Know Thyself


Going through everything I’ve been through the last several months the phrase “Know Thyself” has been circling in my mind…specifically the scene from the Matrix when the Oracle points the sign out to Neo which states:

“Temet Nosce”

Or Know Thyself in Latin. (Future tattoo idea??) As I progress in my journey towards wholeness I realize more and more how little we spend getting to know ourselves. We spend so much time wrapped up in social media or Netflix binges that we forget to spend time with ourselves. Silence, reflection, and meditation seem to be things we run away from…as if we are afraid that something ugly from within might surface. Here’s the thing though–whatever it is that we are afraid of is exactly what we need to accept. If we don’t truly face ourselves and learn and grow into who we are we just end up being reflections of those around us…never really reaching our full potential or truly being able to love.

I think about those around me that hate their appearance, hate who they are…thinking “If I could just lose another 15lbs I would finally be happy with myself” “If I could just get him to like me” “If I could just get that promotion…or job”…but the thing is our identity is not what we look like…it’s not what we do…it’s not how we feel.

Our identity is complete acceptance of who we are right now, in this moment, warts and all.

Your appearance does not define you, nor does your job, nor does your spouse…Our world is all about change. Constantly improving, which is fantastic don’t get me wrong, however when it comes to looking inwards we’ve got it all wrong. We should never try to change who we are…but rather grow into who we are. There is nothing wrong with you.

“This moment is as perfect as it can be”
–Richard Rohr

We are all on a journey and we are all in different places, and where we are right now is completely OK. Meet yourself where you are. Embrace it and begin to know thyself. Spend time alone in the quiet…reflect on the “whys” behind feelings and actions, know that sometimes you may feel those “whys” are ugly, but also know it’s ok. Accept it for what it is, learn from it and move on. Lean into yourself, lean into your gifts…your strengths. Embrace you.

Now this is all easy for me to say…but to turn it all back onto myself is a different story. But that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? As I keep saying–it’s a journey. And I’m OK with that.

Feelin’ Good and Ready to Rock

During the past two weeks I’ve done my Preceptorship for nursing on top of working and have not had any days off until yesterday…I LOVED IT. Being able to spend 12 hours pouring myself into other people was exactly what I needed and it brought me back. For now. I’m praying I can find a way to balance where I am now with where I was so I can keep from the edge of that cliff. Meanwhile I’ve started working out again and started a new group on Facebook that focuses on the wholeness of health. I’ve learned how important mental, physical, and spiritual healths are for the entirety of our well being. If I’m going to be whole, I need to be whole in each of those areas as well. So I invite anyone reading to join me on this journey! It’s a new year…let’s make this the beginning of a new life.

Here’s video that explains what I’m doing. I’m kind of funny…just watch.

Mercy’s Violent Love

Mercy screams its violent love
And mercy
And mercy
The death of us created for
And mercy
And mercy
This is where they kiss

The first few times I listened to this song I really struggled with understanding the marriage of justice and mercy. I understood mercy…and adored (still do) the imagery of “mercy screams its violent love”, but what is so sad to me is I had never been taught restorative justice. I was reading a book by Richard Rohr entitled Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi at the age of 27 before I realized there was a justice outside of retributive justice. This is deplorable! Our entire society functions on the misunderstood concept of “an eye for an eye”…which, by the way, does not at all mean what we were raised to think it means. It does not mean “if you take my eye, I’m going to take yours!” but rather “if you take my eye, you owe me an eye”…which leans closer to restorative justice than retributive justice.

When one considers restorative justice–the justice that works to reconcile the wronged and the wrong-doer–mercy naturally fits into the equation. Where is this? Why have I not been taught this? What is it about us that drives us to assume violence is the best answer? That punitive treatment is going to fix all of our problems?

I invite you to recall 9/11…or another national tragedy…the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting for example. Take a moment to remember how you felt when you first heard or saw the news…do you recall a sense of loss? Of mourning? Even if those events had nothing to do with you…don’t you still feel somehow connected to them? To the victims? Some may argue that this is due to our egocentric attempts at making the world about us, but I would argue differently. We feel connected because we are connected. We are all humanity. I recall one of the most popular TobyMac songs “Made to Love”:

I was made to love
And be loved by you

I think of hundreds of people screaming in excitement at the intro to this song at a Christian music festival…I think of those words leaving the mouths of those who also tell someone who loves another of the same gender that they are going to hell…or that the woman who is walking out of Planned Parenthood is a murderer. If we were made to love, where is this love? What is this love?

1 John 4:8
Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love.

God is love. If God is love, were we not created for love? To be in union with God is to be in union with Love, is it not? Perhaps this is what causes the connection between us and the strangers we see mourning on TV…perhaps this is what it feels like to be connected through Love…to be connected at the core of humanity…creation…God. Perhaps we really made for love, to love, by Love. I know we were not made to judge, and we certainly were not made to convict…so what are we doing? An eye for an eye…

We preach love one another, yet hate our neighbors…I’ll re-word “neighbor”…we hate our enemies. Jesus came right out and spoke it very clearly using the word agapate…granted I’m not a student of Greek, but I’ll take the assumption that agapate is a derivative of agape (verb vs noun I’m thinking). Agape is perfect, self-sacrificing love…this love is not possible without Love. We cannot possibly be capable of true Agape love unless it is from Love Himself, through us. Agape my enemies. Mercy. Restorative Justice. Peace. Love.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20
 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.

Mercy screams its violent love, justice and mercy…this is where they kiss.


Searching for Myself

I sit here tonight in the full realization that I truly do not know who I am. I have managed to separate myself from myself in order to survive, but because of this my identity never truly developed. I know in my head what I’m supposed to believe. I know in my head that Christ dwells within me, that it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives within me. But there is such a gap in between my head and my heart. I don’t communicate well with my subconscious, because again, that’s how I survived. By never allowing myself to look at my wounds, to treat them, I’ve been able to ignore them. Except now they’ve become infected and I have no choice but to take the bandages off and treat them one by one. Digging in the inflamed tissue to debride the wound is intensely painful…sometimes unbearable. There have been nights when I am crying so hard it is almost like dry-heaving, the pain inside is consuming and my body is trembling. My husband will hold me and pray with me and I know that despite the raw emotion and consuming fire of pain, God is right there with me. Holding me as well. Healing my wounds.

This is the softening of my soul. It’s a beautiful, yet excruciating process. But with every purge leaves more room for His love to fill the void. I am beginning to see as He sees. I am beginning to understand what it means to be a part of humanity. What it means to be His. What it means to be made new in Christ. I am understanding what it means to be a part of the kingdom of Heaven. I am beginning to love myself. For years I have always hated who I was–I was always somewhere in between failure and over-zealousness. I was never good enough, or was too much. I have moved from hating myself to tolerating myself, which is where I have been for several years. I cannot love myself until I can fully understand who I am. Which is Christ in me. Do you understand that? 2 Corinthians 5:21: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Did you catch that? So that WE MIGHT BECOME THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. That is who I am. I’m getting it now. God is love. I was made for love. Together, Christ in me, I am made to love with His love, with Agape love. A love that extends beyond any human capability, a love that I will never fully comprehend–but through Christ I am somehow capable of true Agape love. I highly doubt I will ever realize the true magnificence of Agape…and I am sure my humanness will always hold me back from allowing Him to Agape through me completely. But the capability is there, and that’s pretty damned amazing. I find myself yearning for His love, longing to completely understand who I am in Him. I know this is a journey and I know I’ve only just begun, but damn am I excited to see what We will do. I know I am created for greater things. I know God has a purpose for me and I know this journey I am traversing is exactly what is necessary to shape me so that I can be the person I need to be to complete my purpose. Do you realize this? I have a purpose. It was not so long ago I was questioning the meaning and purpose of my life…and humanity in general. I can now see humanity and it’s beauty and know we were all created in His image. We are all the same. We are all connected.

“If your only goal is to love, there is no such thing as failure”
–Richard Rohr

I have a long path ahead of me, and I know there will be terrain that will cause me to stumble once again. I know there will be areas where I don’t think I’ll ever crawl out of, and I know I will come face to face with my own mortality once again and most likely beg for death. But now I know I am not alone. I have more tools in my utility belt and better shoes. I know it’s ok to be where I am…which is somewhere in limbo between who I am and who I am. My image of self and of God and religion has been completely shattered, but what is being rebuilt is something, o’ so much more beautiful.

“My old self had melted away like cotton candy in the rain, but I had no sense at all of having actively fashioned a new one”
–Tim Farrington

One day I know I will wake up to realize I am no longer who I used to be. One day I will realize that I love myself. One day I will know my identity. One day I will be able to look at my brothers and sisters with a deep love that does not come from me, but from within me, from Christ. I will be able to see creation as an extension of the beauty of the Creator Himself. And it will be good. I will be able to sit in the darkness and know peace.

“The woods are lovely dark and deep
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep”
–Robert Frost


Peace in Desolation



I’ve been struggling since August with the worst episode of depression I’ve ever endured. Normally they last a few weeks and I can regain my footing and get back to life, but not this time. This time I keep slipping. I’m climbing my mountain and getting nowhere fast and my knees have become very skinned. Maybe I need new shoes. There are days when I feel “I can” and I will climb so far only to wake up the next morning fifty feet below where I started. Desperation. This journey of mine is not just about depression, it is about my faith.

I had lost faith, questioned God. Questioned His existence. You see when you are at the bottom of a dark well deprived of emotion and connection your mind starts to question your own existence. I knew God existed…I served Him…I’ve felt Him…how can I possibly deny that? But when you have been starved for so long you begin to wonder if food ever existed…was it all just memories? Was it all just something my mind crafted so I could pretend the world was a better place? I couldn’t possibly accept this so I tried harder. I sought God out through others, through church, through so many attempts to find Him…only I was left even more empty and alone than before. I spoke for Him I stood up for Him, but in the back of my mind I doubted my own words. I was losing faith. Prayer fell into an empty space, worship was void. He was gone. I was gone.

My relationships with people lost meaning. I no longer cared about them. I no longer cared about my future, and I most certainly did not care about myself. I didn’t understand the point. Why am I even here? Why are we all here? We are all just ants performing for some creator that doesn’t even know my name. If I left this world, some other ant would take my place and the world would continue to rotate. I am meaningless. I am nothing. And I hated knowing this. I hated not caring. I hated who I was and was trying to fight it so bad. Depression is for the weak. I am supposed to be strong, my life isn’t that bad…I actually have a lot going for me…then why am I here!? Again desperation.

I started seeing someone. This person is no doubt God’s direct answer to my frantic searching. To my desperation. But the answers were not want I wanted to hear. “And yet enlightenment isn’t a picture, it’s a shattering of all pictures. And a shattered life isn’t what we were hoping for.”–Joko Beck.

God is in the darkness. In my darkness. God is in the moments when I feel so alone and so much like dying. I finished the sentence “If God loved me…” “He would take the pain away”. But He wouldn’t. You see, the pain is what is forming me. When there is nothing left but to surrender and accept the darkness, that is when He will work. But not until then. And He will take His time until the process is complete. So I return to the picture above of that gravel lot. I was running one day and each lot was filled with lush green grass except that one. It caught my attention because that is me. That is where I live and I’m ok with that. My world is nothing but ash and desolation but I am here and there is peace. But acceptance doesn’t mean there is no pain. I am still in a great deal of torment, there are nights when I beg for death, for the pain to stop. It feels like I’m burning from inside and there is no escaping that torture.
“And no soul once it feels the heat of that fire wants to be there. The essence of the dark night is the arrival at the heart of human helplessness, the conscious realization of being immersed in a fire of misery so hot it burns away our every remedy for escape”–Tim Farrington

I used to fight those moments of consuming fire…but now I know this is necessary. A purgation of past pain.
From St John of the Cross:
“The soul finds no solace or support in any doctrine or spiritual teacher. This dark night brings solitude and desolation with it…Rather than being consoled, the soul’s suffering is intensified. She knows there is no hope, no cure, no release from affliction…And in truth there is no way out. Until God finishes purifying the soul in the way he desires to do it, no remedy can heal her, nor is there relief from her pain…She remains like this until her spirit is humbled, softened, and purified, until she becomes so subtle, so simple, so refined that she can become one with the Spirit of God”.

So here I am. In the midst of what I perceive to be a dark night. Knowing full well this isn’t over and being ok with it. In those moments of fire I used to think God had left me, but now I realize it’s quite the opposite. Because grief is love too. The pain I am experiencing now is that of the Holy Spirit doing “His thing”. Now in those moments when I’m screaming for the pain to stop I know He is there and I allow Him to work. And in between the fire I can feel Him in everything and everyone. There is so much peace in pain. He is present in everything. He is present in the dragon fly. He is YHWH.



Day by Day

I’ve had a break in August from my Accelerated Nursing Program and had thought I was going to train hard and be very ready for that half marathon and well on my way to train for a triathlon next year. The triathlon is not out of the question still but when August rolled around I trained hard the first couple weeks, dealt with my heart thing (SVTs) and then got the all clear to workout again. I was elated. Except something else happened. Not being in school, not working (except every other weekend) allowed me to sink back into depression. I’ve struggled with depression for fifteen years of my life and have tried many different things but there is always an inevitable moment where I’m forced into a pit that I have to crawl out of. I thought this was over, that I had conquered the symptoms with nutrition and exercise and the realization that my life is actually pretty darn good. But towards the end of the semester this darkness just kept nagging and nagging and as soon as I was no longer distracted it took completely over. For those of you who do not understand depression:

It has nothing to do with the person’s view of their life being bad.

It does not always mean something bad happened to that person.

It does not mean they need more Jesus in their life.

It does not mean they feel sorry for themselves.

What it does mean is that mostly for unknown reasons they are crippled by this feeling of hopelessness and despair. That no matter what they do it won’t leave, they can’t escape. They try–through alcohol, drugs, and unfortunately suicide. When they are feeling this way everything seems so difficult. Imagine carrying around two ton body armor. That’s how it feels. Every movement is heavy. When I feel this way I force myself to take a shower no matter how I feel about it because if I don’t take at least a shower I’ve given in…and given up. That might be all I can manage for the day. I may spend the rest of the day half-asleep half-awake in silence…only to me it’s anything but silence. There is plenty going on inside. A battle in my mind…my rational self trying to convince my depressed self that I am worth something. That I am lovable, that I am not a burden on other people. When I’m here, working out is the last thing on my mind. I’m just trying to survive myself. There is no way to see someone struggling with depression and know the battles they are fighting, but believe me they are ugly and very bloody. The fight to survive is just as hard as someone with a terminal illness. They don’t need you judging them, telling them their life isn’t that bad. They know that already. That’s part of the battle. They don’t need you telling them to snap out of it. Trust me if a person could “snap” out of that hell and torment that would be the first thing they would do. They need you to support them. To love them. To be quiet. Maybe a hug. Definitely prayer. 

I a currently seeing a therapist who is a literal God-send. She is giving me my life back one piece at a time. Giving me the hope and strength I need to fight my inner demons. It is a battle in itself facing those demons, but so far I’ve faced a couple and won. I think. I hope. With each memory, each moment of my past that I conquer I feel stronger. I am so hopeful that eventually I can redeem all of my past wounds and demons and lay them to rest. Only to look forward at a bright future that I know I do have. But I cannot give my all to my husband or my God without letting go of heaviness I drag around from my past. It’s wearing me down. But the load does feel lighter. I do feel more optimistic. I know I can do this and I’m thankful for my guardian, my guide and my God for finally taking me through this journey. 

So that being said. I am living day by day. I might workout. I might not. My biggest goal is to conquer my thoughts. If I get a run in there, then awesome. If I do Body Beast that’s even better…we will see. But bare with me as I heal. I’ll be back with both arms swinging. In the meantime–know you are loved. Know you can do this. Know there is always hope. Always.

The Ultimate Reset–Yeah but did I keep the weight off??

Isn’t that what everyone wants to know? Ok so you lost 11lbs, but what really matters is that you kept it off! DID YOU!?

The answer?

Yes. Aside from 2lbs. So instead of losing 11lbs I ended up losing 9lbs. 


By not going back to eating like a cow! …well actually more like eating like a cow…eating more veggies. The Ultimate Reset was more than just a “diet” it was a way to change my perception of food. Now I look at pizza and think…gross. I know right?? Cray cray. I ate like crap most of December because of stupid Christmas and all the delicious cookies and people making bad for me food insisting I eat it so I did…but oh my GOSH did I miss spinach! I ate a spinach salad, salmon, and brown rice yesterday and it was GLORIOUS. I loved that much more than any pasta or pizza…and if you knew me that’d blow your mind. Pasta used to be what I lived off of. It is my specialty for cooking, but now I don’t really care about it. I don’t care about cheese either…also an “OMG” thing. Sooo long story short you’ve got to change your mindset to change your habits. And this can be done as long as you’ve got the willpower to do it! I can help too…I like helping 🙂 Just ask!