Sad woman silhouette walking alone at sunset…. So, I started to work on myself and work really hard. As, I said in my last post I was working with a local therapist that specialized in anxiety. I started to realize that I wasn’t wanting to hurt myself… rather, it was the fear of making a mistake and losing control. The panic and anxiety had just spiraled me into a dark depression because I automatically accepted that as my destiny. I thought that I was crazy, and that I needed to accept it and live with it. Yet something inside me told me that wasn’t true. I had this deep, intuitive need to understand. The question I always asked was why… Why do people have crazy thoughts? Why am I stuck on this thought? Why… Why…. Why.

What I soon learned was it wasn’t the thought of the gun that I should be trying to figure out; rather than what lead me to that point. The answer was/is not so simple, it really is a perfect storm of years of screwed up self-sabotage. One of them being the mere fact that I buried myself in my work. My success as a wedding planner was so fulfilling and consuming; yet it took so much out of me. But, I continued to do it because I felt inadequate. I felt inadequate as a mom and a wife and my business was filling that void. My business was also filling a need to control. A need to have something of my own. Because as a mom (a new mom) I felt like I had lost a piece of me. My identity was now mom, which don’t get me wrong is the most important thing any woman can ever do. But how do you do something you feel you mess up at all the time? How do you do something you feel like you’re a failure at constantly.

Another issue I had was I just simply didn’t feel good about myself physically. And I am about to say something I have told few people (mom I am sorry… and I don’t want to hear about this from you) but, as a young child I never felt good about myself. Being a twin I was always comparing myself to my sister. She was tinier, blonde, and so much more outgoing than me. I always thought of myself as the fat sister. In fact, I didn’t just think that of myself, I saw it-literally. I didn’t like my picture taken but one time while I was visiting my cousins in Boston we went to Cape Cod and my Aunt took a picture of me on the shore in my one pieces (dare I be caught in a 2-piece). I begged her not to take it. I didn’t want to be rude or argue but she ended up taking it anyway. She sent the photo to use weeks later (this was the era of disposable cameras) and I looked at it shocked. I didn’t look like what I normally see in the mirror. It was that moment my 12-year-old self knew I had an issue. I come from a family of very athletic people. My dad played football, my sister and I were cheerleaders, my brother played hockey, and my mom was a gymnast turned aerobics instructor. Image and vanity to some degree were always prevalent in my home. Long story short I had developed an eating disorder that would last me long into my young adult life.

So you could imagine this issue was something that carried over into my quarter life crisis. The fact that I wasn’t able to control what my body looked like (in fear of losing my husband) and because I had bared a child was hard for me. The self judgement was enough to drive anyone crazy. So what did I do… I buried myself in my new-found obsession with Crossfit and eating Paleo. Yet another thing to add to my plate.

All of these things that I was constantly trying to hide, run from, and find something to bury myself with were all contributing factors to my anxiety. I felt on the surface like certain things and issues in my life were not effecting me, but deep down inside the 20 lbs of shit was locked in a 5 lb bag and bursting to get out.

Now naturally the thoughts about the gun and the what if’s lead me to believe that ok I am crazy and I am depressed. I had to constantly re-shape that in my mind and remind myself “Brooke NO it wasn’t a feeling of wanting to harm yourself, the feeling you had was fear.” Like I said before we all have mind chatter, we all have fleeting thoughts… I mean shit what if the sky fell? Or what if my car went into this lake I am driving by? Those are all similar irrational mind chattering thoughts. The only difference for me was I had emotions and panicked feelings behind mine.

With therapy I gained tools and the most powerful tool I took was learned how to breathe and meditate. Meditation used to be a joke to me. I thought that was hippy shit. Boy was I wrong. I started off working with a bio-metrics device that read my electromagnetic impulses and that really helped open my eyes. I listened to guided meditations and after I was able to see my results. Mediation was not easy. My mind would constantly wonder. I assumed that when people meditated that they were in this state of stillness and quiet the whole time. WRONG! Your mind will wonder, you have to let go of control and accept that your mind will go where it wants; but you can choose to come back to center. You can choose to come back to stillness. And with each practice, with each session you are able to sit and be just that much longer without having to re-center and re-focus.

With that gift I have realized my questions of why and my search for understanding this was a tireless and meaningless search. I didn’t and still do not need answers. I need to accept the thoughts, but I do not need to give them emotion or power. I need to accept the feelings but I do not need to live there. I do not need to control. Rather I can choose. So, I choose…. I choose to see love, I choose to forgive myself, and I choose to learn and grow CONSTANTLY.