What Do You Want To Fix? (Three Ways to Become a Better Person)

“What do you want to fix about yourself?”

“Um. Everything.”

When we look at ourselves, we see so many flaws. Too thin, too large, too many bones, too many stretch marks, too morbid, too happy, too giggly, too quiet, too flirty, too standoffish, too nerdy, too stupid, too opinionated, too indecisive . . . the list continues to build as you stare at yourself, trying to figure out what to fix.

If you struggle with an illness, mental or physical, the list seems longer. Too tired, too sad, too confused, in too much pain, too broken.

It’s overwhelming to choose just one thing to fix, to choose one thing to be thankful for because there are so many things that needs to change. How do we change ourselves and at the same time, be grateful for who we are?

Understand your Strengths

I’m sure most of us struggle with this. I don’t see myself as gifted, or unusual, or strong in any way. It’s hard for me to see any quality inside myself as a strength, especially when you realize that the thing you were probably rebuked about the most as a child can be your greatest strength.

I was a stubborn kid. Like, really really stubborn. When I was five, my mom and I would argue for half an hour over my outfit, and the argument usually ended with my mom backing down. (Since then, my mom has learned to let her daughters explore fashion and figure out who they are by themselves. She says you got to pick your battles, and outfits aren’t worth the battle.) If I decide to do something, I’m going to do it, come what may. But it goes the opposite way, too. If I decide I’m not doing something, I’m not doing it. (Which still at times can get me in trouble.)

We all have strengths that can be translated into annoying or troublesome facts about yourself. For instance, I’m also really distractible. Conversations aren’t my forte, because I’m going five million places in five minutes, and I’ve already found the answer to my question and moved on to a totally different topic by the time you’ve caught up with me. Some people would find this annoying, and at times it really is. I have to work twice as hard to learn from a teacher or to listen to podcasts or sermons. But it’s also a strength because I’m able to more in a day than most people, and I’m positive it helps me with my creative and random ideas.

Identify what you want to become.

We can identify bad habits and weaknesses all day long, tearing us down until we don’t want to do anything because we’re such terrible people. How can we become anyone or anything? But instead of identifying bad habits, we need to identify the person we want to become.

What do I mean by that? It’s easy to list reasons why we can’t become who we want to become, easy to say that we are us, and that’s it. But if we want to become more like Christ, if we want to become a healthy person, if we want to be an actor, a writer, a musician, a dancer, an author, fill in the blank, we need to identify that, and act on it. Once we know, “I want to be a mentally stable person.” Or “I want to be more like Christ,” we can figure out what to fix.

The steps to becoming something or someone is slow and steady work, but it’s not impossible.

Create a path, and don’t give up.

I love lists. Lists, lists, and more lists. I have notebooks full of lists, I have lists on my computer, I have lists beside my bed. When I journal, I journal in lists. Why do I love lists so much? Because for my brain, they don’t overwhelm me. I can take all my fears, all that I know and everything that’s floating around in my head, and spit it out in a list.

A list helps me take baby steps to success and quenches the overwhelming thoughts and anxiety that keep me from taking action. But the hardest thing is sticking to the list. Because it gets boring, and missing one day can’t hurt, can it? And then you miss two days and you get discouraged, wondering if you should continue working on this.

Don’t give up. Maybe you’ll end up taking a week off. Just start back where you started, and continue working towards your final goal. Lists are there to stay, and keep you on track, even if you fall behind schedule, or struggle to stay on track.

~~Amie~~

EDIT: The new WordPress design is not being very friendly for me at the moment, and so you’re blessed with an early post. 😂

Things Friends and Loved Ones with Mental Illness Want You to Know

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Whether your friend or loved one has depression, anxiety, or some other long-term mental illness, there is so much going on in their brain that they want to say to you, but find impossible to say. So many emotions are buried beneath the surface, so much they wish you could know. But when you’re in the middle of these emotions, it’s so hard to tell the people who love you about what’s going on your mind.

Being vulnerable hurts and takes time, especially when you’re confused, hurting, or numb to the world around you. So here are seven things that people who battle with mental illness and mental health would like you to know.

DISCLAIMER: Not everyone with a mental illness will relate with these. I am not a psychiatrist, or have any degree in psychology.

We really don’t know.

We have so many emotions or such a lack of emotion, so we aren’t lying when we say we don’t know. Our rational mind has no excuse or reason for what we’ve done or the way we feel. We wish we could give you a concrete answer, we wish we knew how you could help, how we could help ourselves. We’re afraid to explore our emotions or to poke our dead mind back to life. We’re afraid you won’t believe us or understand. So we just don’t know, and we don’t try to know.

We’re afraid.

So afraid. We’re afraid of ourselves, of failing, of giving in, of giving up, of failing you, of hurting others. We are afraid of waking up and we’re afraid of falling asleep. We’re afraid of letting people see what we’re really like. We’re afraid of how we’ll react to situations that normal people are fine with. We’re afraid that we’ll never get better, that medicine won’t help, that we’ll end up weighing you down. We’re afraid of everything that happens in our mind, and we don’t want it to translate over into our life. At the end of the day, we are afraid.

We’re trying.

You might not like our reactions or seeing us struggle, but think how painful it is to be the one struggling with it yourself. We hate it as much or more than you do and we’re trying so hard. Every day we’re waking up and trying. Some days, it’s more fruitful and we are able to function like you. Other days? Celebrate that we’re out of bed. Celebrate that we’re talking. Be thankful we’re smiling. Because God knows we’re trying.

We try, we take our medicine, if we have some. Or we just sit there, to be with you, when all we want is solitude, all we want is sleep, all we want is to pace around the room and try to quiet our mind as it frantically thinks. But instead, we’re with you. We’re trying, and we’ll keep trying.

We’re tired.

Not only is insomnia one of the most common symptoms of mental illness, fighting your mind and emotions, keeping everything bottled and neatly packed away takes so much energy. But we aren’t only sleep tired. We’re tired of feeling, of not sleeping, or if we’re hyposomniac, we’re tired of sleeping, we’re tired of living like this, tired of being needy, tired of trying to smile, tired of not being believed, tired of feeling guilty.

We’re tired of not being normal, we’re tired of trying to fix ourselves, we’re tired of eating, of feeling, of breathing. We’re tired of hearing our heart thunder in our ears, tired of our breath coming in heaves, tired of a mind that won’t give us relief.

We don’t remember.

When we say we don’t know or we don’t remember, we truly don’t know or can’t remember. It might be something as serious as forgetting what we did at a party, or as simple as not remembering the first half of the day. We don’t remember. And we hate the fact that a part of our life has been swallowed up and dissolved by our minds. We’re sorry that we don’t remember the awesome time we had, or we don’t remember when we first met, or that we don’t remember being hurt or being yelled at. We just don’t remember.

We’re sorry we don’t remember saying something, we’re sorry we don’t remember hurting you. We’re sorry that we can’t answer your questions at the moment, we can’t do our school work at the moment, and we’re sorry we missed another meeting. Someday, we’ll remember it all again.

It physically hurts.

Our head throbs with our heartbeat, our muscles are so tight you could strum them like a musical instrument. Our chest feels like it’s being crushed, our arms and legs weigh a hundred pounds. We’re nauseous way too often. Food is disgusting or we eat way too much. When we say we have a headache and skip dinner, we really have a headache. Every sound, every sense, the air even has a taste. It’s all intensified to such an extent that if we don’t hide, it’ll cause us to explode.

I’m okay.

How can we tell you that we’re dying inside? How can we explain emotions when we’re not even sure about? How do we know if this is what normal people feel like, or if it’s something wrong with us? So we’re okay. Because we choose to press it all down, to hide it for you. Because we don’t want to be that morbid person, we don’t want to weigh you down. We don’t want to hurt you or wear you out. So we’re okay. Because we love you. And we want to be okay.

~~Amie~~

People

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Thoughts have been swirling in me, and I’m just going to let them out. Will I delete half of this post? Probably. Will it matter? Definitely not.

People are important. How can I stress this enough? From my brainstorm partner that brightens my day with her smile, to my friend that pokes fun at me for not having a “guy” but still genuinely cares about me, to the one that I call to have a heart to heart for two hours.

And the people that have burned me. The ones that have caused my eyes to overflow, and stream pain down my cheeks. Those people, they’re important, too.

At one point in my life, I thought I was too broken to heal, too heartless to love, and too hurt to feel. So I pushed everyone away. Those who cared and those who spoke heartless platitudes alike.

Hating humans, blaming them for the pain I felt, and hurting people like they hurt me. Because that’s the only fair way to respond to the pain of life, right? The stronger you are, the heavier your hand, the drier your eyes, the better you are at handling pain.

But that isn’t true.

People help you through pain, they help the wounds heal, help your mind to dwell on things that matter.

This topic is so important to me, because my people are important to me. They make life so much more livable, each adding a different shade of sunshine. And when one tells me that they worry about me, it makes me want to cry. Because it means they care.

Underneath all of our sarcastic banter, underneath me avoiding them for a month, underneath our business, each of us have a heart that needs love. Sure, love stinks sometimes, but it’s so worth it. When you find someone who actually cares, when you finally see that even through the pain, love sets you free.

Let people in. Let people see the you that you’ve hidden underneath layers. Stop trying to be lovable, because when you stop holding up a picture perfect facade, you’ll finally feel free. No longer sweating underneath the layer, you can be you.

And people will love you.

At first it may seem as if no one cares about who you are. But after awhile, God will bring people in your life that care. That want you to live this life to your fullest potential while serving Him.

Please don’t let those who have hurt you, or the circumstances that have torn you ruin the rest of your life. Don’t let them ruin your memories either. There’s always a gem of a good memory, even in the bad.

So take that gem and shine the light on it. It’ll certainly sparkle back.

~~Amie~~

P.S. As my readers, what are some topics you would like to see me write about, talk about, discuss on this blog? I’d love some ideas. 🙂

Freedom Or Liberty?

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The people on the streets cry, “Freedom, freedom!”

People in their homes wish for freedom, freedom.

The veterans look at their sons and say they fought for freedom, freedom.

But when they ask for freedom, they don’t know what they mean.

The French obtained freedom with their Revolution. And what was the end cost?

Freedom from government will bring nothing but anarchy, bloodshed, tears, and more repressive governments. Freedom is not what we need, freedom is not what we desire. Freedom was not what we were promised by our founding fathers.

We were promised in the Declaration of Independence the right to pursue “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Freedom is each man on his own, but liberty. Liberty is freedom of a government that creates tyrannical rules.

Liberty is what is threatened. When we are all free, free from rules, from responsibility, from consequences, no one is really free. We are enslaved to others, we are the slaves of those around us. We are slaves of ourselves.

For we always serve a master.

For some, that master is money, some serve themselves, some serve the government, some serve food, other serve Christ. And when you serve Christ with all that is in you, you are free, and you can truly understand liberty.

You can understand that absolute power corrupts absolutely, which is why anarchy leads to dictatorship. If each man is in control and able to make his own rules, does he have absolute power? Does it corrupt a man to be free, totally and absolutely free from all standards, rules, morals, and obligations?

Americans need to stop fighting for freedom. Instead, they need to take a moment and step back. They need to understand why our founding fathers appreciated liberty. Why men and women risked all to leave their countries to create a new one. Why we are sitting today in a “civilized” and “free” country.

Why would Patrick Henry stand and famously say, “Give me liberty, or give me death?”

Why do we now stand and say, “Give us freedom, or we’ll give you your death?”

Will we never understand that government is not the one that creates evil? Will we never understand that the evil was created way before governments, before civilization, back when Eve disobeyed and brought grief to mankind? Our hearts long for peace, and we’re promised peace with freedom.

But true peace only comes from righteous rules. Rules that protect us from harming other citizens. Rules that protect other citizens from harming us. Rules that are created by a government that is checked and balanced, unable to grow, unable to steal, unable to infringe upon our God given rights.

So will we fight for liberty?

Or will we continue to stand in the streets and cry for freedom?

In Joshua, Joshua tells the people that they must decide for themselves. They must decide whether they will serve the Lord, whether they will stand for the God who has protected them through the wilderness. But as for Joshua? Well, he has already decided.

You must decide what you want for yourself. What you want for your children. What you want for the future of our country.

But as for me?

I stand with Patrick Henry and say,

“Give me liberty or give me death. I will settle for nothing less.”

~~Amie~~

My Message (+ huge announcement!)

I’ve written a lot on here about mental health. At the moment, mental health and Christians who deal with it are very close to my heart. Why? Because I’m one of those Christians.

Especially Christian teens that deal with it.

I’ve talked to lots of people in the mental health and disability communities. A little known fact about me is that I grew up in the disability community. My favorite people didn’t look like me, and I would grow livid if anyone talked down to them, or hurt their feelings for that reason.

And so when I appeared in the mental health community, I wasn’t sure what to say or do. Especially since I was apart of it.

I’m not an expert. I’m not super smart. I’m just a teenager going through similar things to you, and if you’re just starting your mental health journey, I’m in front of you, extending a hand to help you. To give you hope.

I hate admitting I’m not okay. What are you supposed to say to people? They expect you to be okay, they want you to be okay. And someday you just have to realize that it’s okay to not be okay. You don’t have to carry the weight of their expectations.

This week I found out that apparently I have anxiety, depression, and dermatillomania. I’ve never considered myself an anxious person, but apparently I am?

(Dermatillomania is the repeated picking of your skin, to the extent that you have open wounds on your skin. It’s related to OCD and anxiety, and yes. It’s really painful and really embarrassing and super super super gross.)

I’ve battled with dark thoughts, with losing the person I’ve always known as me. I’ve struggled with things that I would never wish on anyone else. Even though I wouldn’t want people to go through it, other people do go through it, and so the next best thing I can do? Help the people who are struggling with it.

And so I’m doing something huge.

I’m publishing a poetry book.

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One of the ways to express the feelings that I wasn’t even sure I was feeling was to write them in poetry. To express truths and pain in the same poem, so I would know that even if I felt this way today, the truth is that it would be better.

Fifteen will be launching October 23, and it’s a book filled with poems about mental health. About the pains of trying to be okay, but not being okay. It’s filled with hope, because in the end, you don’t have to live with the demons in your head. You can get help, you can get better. It’s filled with the sunshine that follows the tears, it has the lullaby that soothes your fears.

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I didn’t want to publish Fifteen originally. I didn’t want to put this out here, to have to work on this. But slowly, God showed me that this is my message. These poems are going out there to help you.

Because YOU have helped me so much.

Fifteen will also have hand drawn illustrations (and a few painted ones!) depicting the story as well. My prayer is that it’ll reach your heart and help you in your mental health journey, even if you aren’t a poetry fan.

And maybe it’ll help you understand others or still touch your heart even if you don’t struggle with mental health. Even if that isn’t the thorn in your side.

So raise a glass, my friend! Let’s celebrate this news!

If you’re super excited, go to my Instagram, follow me, and share my announcement post on your story because AHHHHHH. IT’S REAL, FOLKS! AFTER SO MUCH WORK.

Also, if you’re interested in being apart of the cover reveal, GO SIGN UP HERE!

~~Amie~~

Endless Supply

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Some days, I feel like a fish in a dry fishbowl.

I’ve given all my water, drop by drop, to other fish who need it. Projects which are like sponges drain my mind, there must be a hole somewhere inside my bowl. Worry, anxiety, stress, and fatigue leave me gasping.

Some days it seems like I have no mental space to deal with anything. Just a raised voice makes me jump out of my skin, and the bright glare of the sun sends me shivering within. It’s hard to give and give and give of my time, it’s hard to be a servant when you can barely even tell people hi.

But guess what?

We have a way to be filled, even when life and pain and illness drain us. When life seems overwhelming, but there are still people that you want to help, people who have lives you want to pour into, you can know that you have a source to take life and joy from. A fountain that is ever ready to fill you to overflowing.

We don’t have to worry, because we have an eternal fountain filled with everlasting mercies.

“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

I was talking to a friend on the phone, and she mentioned the verse about God’s mercies never ending, being new every morning. And it hit me.

My whole life I’ve pictured God’s mercies like sand in the hour glass. I only have so much mercy allotted to my life, and if I use it up before the end of my life . . . So I try to do as much as I can on my own, “saving” my mercies for when I really need them. But that isn’t what the Bible teaches us.

We have a fountain from which we can drink, a fountain that quenches our thirst, and that fountain wells up in us. In fact, it should overflow in us! We should be overflowing with eternal life.

One of my favorite children’s book is actually a wordless book. It’s called “The Flower Man” by Mark Ludy. In this book, and old man comes into a dark and hopeless neighborhood, and one by one, he gives flowers to the people around him, lighting up their world with hope and love. This represents how we should be with eternal life. Everyone we touch, we should be giving them “flowers.”

And we don’t have to worry about running out of eternal life, or of mercy, or of grace, or of God’s steadfast love. We can give and give and give, and still be refilled, if we remember to continually go to the source.

Of course it isn’t easy. But the most fulfilling things in life, the things that grow us as humans and grow our relationship with God aren’t easy. God often calls us to do things that hurt, things that scare us, and things that seem impossible. But that’s when you’re rewarded beyond your comprehension. Because if it had just been you, the results would never have happened.

And the results are definitely worth the cost of the tears and pain.

In Christ, we aren’t fish in a dry fishbowl. We’re fish, caught by the Fisher of Men, and placed in the cleanest water available. And then we’re told to share this water with others. Because Christ has an endless supply.

~~Amie~~

 

Leave You Alone

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Everyone needs someone beside them, shining like a lighthouse from the sea.

Lamplight shines through the window, filtering through the lace curtains and slicing the darkness. Emotions grip my chest, tightening and twisting, whispering thoughts and words, swirling and pushing, hating and demanding.

Here I am alone.

But then a text comes. Listen to Brother by Needtobreathe. 

Brother, let me be your shelter
Never leave you alone
I’ll be the one you call
When you’re low

The acoustics in my room are magical, the music in the darkness calm the tears that long to be released. Soothe the pain filled ache, and remind me that I am no longer alone.

There are so many brothers I have in my life. One’s giggle sounds like tee-hee-hee, her eyes laugh along with her voice, she understands my wackiness and she is always there to annoy. Another one listens to me, tells me I am not nothing. She “tucks” me in, reminding me I’m no longer alone. She whispers truth and helps me look to find the root problem. Another is a genius, brainstorming with me, loving me, and she is unafraid of the darkness in my mind. Another laughs with me for a whole hour, reminding me of God’s new mercies, of His love and forgiveness, and helping me embrace my awkwardness.

I know that in my weakness I am stronger
It’s your love that brings me home.

Left alone in my mind, struggling through the clouds, looking for land. Where was the home that I left? Where am I? Who am I?

A gentle hand, holding mine and keeping me grounded, reminding me that home isn’t far away. My beliefs are a reality. I’m not all alone.

Humans to keep me believing in the world around me. Humans to remind me that the world isn’t just virtual. There is a real reality. There is a home. There is a world outside my mind, and all I have to do is call. They’ll take me home.

Brother, let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home.

The darkness is no longer full of thoughts and fears. Instead, my heart is soothed, my mind at rest. I’m not alone. My dog is at my feet, her head resting on my ankle. I know I’m not alone.

My sister walks into the room, and quietly turns on a book light, whispering that she loves me and telling me goodnight. I’m no longer alone.

Heart beat calms, peace washes over me, knowing that tomorrow when I awake, people will be beside me. They’ll tell me good morning, and ask me how I am. And they’re okay if I say I’m terrible. They’ll try to help, or they’ll just send me hugs.

I ain’t made for rivalry, I could never take the world on alone

I never was made for the drama, I don’t mind if you’re better, or prettier, or nicer. All I ask is that you won’t leave me alone. Let me need you, let me love you, let me care about your victories and your failures. Let me bring you coffee and tea, let me send you gifts for your birthdays.

Please let me love you.

And please, don’t leave me alone.

Brother let me be your shelter
(Brother, NEEDTOBREATHE)

Please, let me give back, let me know your dark places. Let me in to your heart. I know I can be cold and needy. I know I have problems, but let me be your shelter. I’ll love you until the sky falls and until the Lord comes again.

Just give me a chance.

I won’t leave you alone.

~~Amie~~

The Road Isn’t Easy

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(read last weeks post here.) 

The road isn’t easy, and my energy isn’t endless.

Two sad facts that pain me everyday. How do I remain on the path when my mind is so fogged, I can’t remember my own breakfast? How can I remain on the path when every time I sit down, I start drifting to sleep? How can I remain on the road, when all I feel is a heavy sense of defeat?

Does God still take worship from a tired mind? Does He still honor its plaintive cries?

Rocks crumble along the roadside, my step is slow, and my mind is weary. Somedays I can run along the path, keeping my thoughts straight, my mind on things above. But then it seems the fog rolls in, the numbness follows, and it takes all my will to keep from letting go and becoming hollow.

This week has been kinda tough on my mind. It’s reminded me that I’m not perfect, that the world is full of sin and sickness, and that I need to have patience with myself as well as with others. If I could have my way, I would be a super hero who could do everything all at once. But I’m just a girl, with a list of problems. Thank God He’s given me a list of grace to cover each of those problems. It’s just that I hate accepting grace and admitting I’m not perfect.

God calls us to do our best. (Colossians 3:23-24) Not to be perfect. Perfection is unachievable by the fallen human race. (Genesis 3:1-8, Romans 3:23-26) My best isn’t always what I want to do, but that’s where I can practice giving grace.

For me, it’s often times easier to give grace to others than to myself. My mind makes excuses for those around me, pulling at my sympathy and besides, how can I judge and know if they’re doing their best or not? But when it comes to myself, I’m truly my worse critic. In my mind, I can always do better, always be better, and if I fall from my schedule, or from my exercise routine, or if it takes me longer to draft a blog post than I think is acceptable, I’ll beat myself down with a mental metal rod.

I would feel horrible if any other human did this to themselves. But I believe I deserve it. I deserve to be beaten up by myself and others.

Which isn’t true.

And that’s why, this week, I spent a lot of time doing what I would consider “nothing.” I would wake at six, and instead of getting up like usually and working right away, I just let myself lie there and admire the sky. I let myself rest, because for once, I knew that I needed rest.

It isn’t shameful to be unable to do as much as someone else. The sooner you acknowledge you aren’t a superhero, the sooner you’ll be free to be the best hero you can be.

So take a breath.

It’s okay if you haven’t had a clear mind to pray, or if you needed to take a nap today. Keep heart, and remember. Someday we’ll be in a place where there’s no more tears, sickness, or brain fog. ❤

~~Amie~~

Dropping in

Yo.

So, like. I never pop in here like this, because I’ve become the most scheduled human being in the world who never does anything without scheduling it all three hundred days in advance. (not true, but ya know. Exaggeration adds some flavor to life.) Anyway, I’ve had a pretty major burn out, but I still need to throw out content, right?

right

I mean, no. XD But I want to instill the love of creating back into my life, so I’m hopping in to announce that I’m going to do a Q&A on my YouTube channel on Saturday, and I need to know what YOU want to know about me. XD

In other, less confusing words, I need questions.

Send ’em at me. I know this is really abrupt and out of place, but hey. Y’all hopefully check your WordPress Reader/inboxes enough to see it before it’s too late.

*looks at you seriously*

Time is of the essence.

~~Amie~~

P.S. Did I ever tell y’all about Wordcrafting Wednesday? If not, check out the newest video I have from today!