Friday, September 18, 2020

Helping Others While On Your Own Journey to Recovery


Many people pray without the expectation of an answer. Maybe it's because they need a little more faith, or that they're used to not getting a solid response. But God doesn't necessarily give you a "solid" response, He will most likely give you the subtle hints of his blessings---something you have to be aware of. Exactly one month ago, I fell into a dark pit of depression. I honestly didn't know if I could get out of this one. Usually, I remain quiet, maybe even reach out to a loved one about it, but I don't want to become a burden on anyone. So over on Instagram, where I mainly put most of my private life on display (even more than this blog sometimes) -- I posted a beautiful picture of the moon behind a purple sky from my childhood home. And I wrote something incredibly heartfelt---something that came from deep within. I had a sense of 'dread'---a sense that I was no longer going to be here, but not by my own doings. I was heading into a deep depression. 


Since my work involves helping people who struggle with their mental health, I thought it was important to share my struggles as well. It's even more important to share how you overcame that very struggle and let others know about it as well. There's no shame in it at all. Those who are embarrassed by what they go through suffer in silence, in fear of people's judgements. I was never fearful of other people's judgments, only because I know how many people suffer with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. It's not just people who aren't functional in life---it's those who are married with kids and hold two jobs to make ends meet. It's your doctor, your teacher, your boss and even your own therapist. We are all human and in this together. Not one falls short of a mental health issue or crisis from time to time. If you're finding yourself embarrassed of struggling with anxiety or depression, or embarrassed that a loved one is having a difficult time with it, try to look at it from a different angle. What good could come out of it? The ironic thing about those embarrassed about mental health issues, is that they seem to mock those who are suffering just like they are. It's like a front that they put up so that nobody finds out how dysfunctional their life really is. You can be "dysfunctional" and yet still live a seemingly normal life. Anxiety and stress can manifest in different ways, from insomnia, to crying episodes, to yelling and screaming excessively at your loved ones just to 'get it all out'---it depends on what's your go-to. And we all suffer in different ways. For me, I get bad insomnia with a pounding heart that lasts for a couple of days. Two weeks ago, my heart rate sky rocketed up to 200 bpm. I was taken away in an ambulance and spent the weekend in the hospital. I'm fine, have a healthy heart, but this anxiety had really taken a toll on me. And I am not embarrassed to say what happened, because I want to tell people how I pushed through it all. 

Sometimes, you can do all the breathing exercises, the dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and grounding techniques all you want---but nothing has helped me more than prayer and meditation. When you sit down and tell God everything, talk it out, cry it out---whatever and however you let it out to God, He will answer you, but not the way you expect. Sometimes He has to put you through the fire to refine you and take out all the impurities---just like how gold is made. The struggle is the lesson, and then when you have the lesson, to take that and share it with other people who are at the level you once were on. Lately for myself, it's been a pretty constant struggle, but instead of every single day, it went to every other day, then to once a week, and now once every two weeks. Hey, I'll take it. It's progress. My anxiety worsened when my mom passed away, to levels I have never seen before. And as soon as I thought I was getting better, the pandemic hit me (and the rest of the world) really hard, to where I found myself gripping for the lifelines again. 

It's OK to Not Be OK

The one phrase that bothers me the most is, "You're not alone, we're in this together." No. Many of us are alone and we need to acknowledge that. People may be suffering just like we are, but we are indeed, alone. Sometimes, there isn't one person to help us in a crisis. Even our own loved ones can't, as much as they want to help. That's when you truly need to hang onto God and remember that He is the way---He will lift you out of that dark pit to see the light of day again. But you have to have faith---you have to believe that He is right there with you. It's not suggestive thinking or some kind of miracle that will happen, it's an actual physiological response you get when you sincerely pray and take time out for God. So, I used God as a therapist. I meditated on the Word. I meditated on the subtle answers that appeared before me. You have to keep at it though, it's not just a "prayer and a wish"---it's a constant communication between you and God. 

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. --Romans 12:12

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will go God in Christ Jesus for you. --1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

One of my personal favorites is this verse: 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. --Philippians 4:6

Gratitude 

It tells you everything you need to do. STOP being anxious. but PRAY and be GRATEFUL and tell God EVERYTHING. That's what stands out to me. I've been journaling every single day since my mom died. I have books on top of books that are just sometimes real eye openers. The one thing I like to do in those journals, is let it all out, but then to make a gratitude list of everything that I am thankful for. When you speak these powerful affirmations of thanksgiving---your entire atmosphere changes. It's important to make a list of things you are grateful for---even if it's just five things a day. List them out---running water, a roof over your head, food in the fridge, family, your health, breath in your lungs---things like this are not to be taken for granted. And it'll also put many things in perspective as well. 

Go-To Strategies for Panic Relief

The good thing about the suffering I experienced this past month is that I got to help others who were also struggling. I gave them some techniques to use, if they didn't have faith in God, and I also was there to talk it out with them. Even if you pray, it's also important to work out your go-to strategies when experiencing a panic attack or a deep depressive episode. 

For panic attacks, besides prayer and meditation, I use DBT. It's basically distractive methods to take your mind off the mental and physiological symptoms you are experiencing. Many therapists are using this method these days because it's working so well. 

I'm also a big fan of CBT, which is basically training your brain and mindset to view an obstacle differently. So say you have agoraphobia. The best CBT method is to just take a few steps outside of your home. Then walk back. Keep doing that until you walk down the block. Remember, you can always turn around and go home. Or if your agoraphobia is more about big supermarkets, the best thing to do is just get two small items near the front of the store, so you get some exposure. In time, you'll be pushing a large cart doing a full grocery list. It really works if you try hard enough. 

Vitameatavegamin

Another important helpful tool is to make sure you're taking the needed vitamins you are lacking (get bloodwork done so you don't wind up taking too much of one vitamin.) Make sure that you are deficient in vitamin D3 if you're going to take more than 5,000 IUs a day. The vitamin D has to be infused with vitamin K3. Taken excessive amounts can lead to heart damage due to the toxicity. It's a fat soluble and the extra waste will end up hurting you, not helping you. Vitamins aren't as safe as people think. Think of it as a medication. Your doctor has to tell you which ones to take. I take a regimen of vitamin D3 with K2, 5,000 IUs, vitamin C, 1,000 mg, and zinc 15 mg along with 200 mg of magnesium at night. 

If you suffer from heart palpitations and tachycardia, the best natural thing to take is potassium and magnesium glycinate. Your potassium can come in vitamin form, but best if you drink coconut water, which is all natural and provides electrolytes which also aids in helping palpitations and tachycardia symptoms. The magnesium glycinate is the most absorbable form you can take (no tummy issues) and it'll help regulate your heart's rhythm, as well as take away muscle aches and leg pain.

Cut the Alcohol & Go to Sleep! 

One of the best remedies other than praying....is SLEEP. I have stayed away from alcohol for more than a week so I could sleep a full 8 hours. I didn't say I gave up my wine time, but I save my wine time on a Saturday evening, with only 2 glasses being my limit. Alcohol will deplete the serotonin in our brain to help us sleep the night through. When I drink wine, even just two, I find myself up most of the night, or having sleep jerks, jolts, sometimes even gasping for air. It's not good quality sleep at all. And dare if I go above two glasses of wine, my heart will race relentlessly. Even though 2-3 glasses doesn't do much for me, it'll still give me what's called "hanxiety." Yes, it's now a word. Hangover + anxiety = hanxiety. Not only will I be up for the whole night, but my heart will be spinning out of control into a full fledge racing heart that cannot be controlled with 'deep breathing techniques.' Only time can cure that uncomfortable episode, and sometimes, it takes a full 12 hours to process. It's horrible. It's strange that sometimes, we turn to alcohol to take away our anxiety, to only have it slap us in the face hours later due to the withdrawal effects. So again, watch your alcohol intake. Some people can handle it, while others cannot tolerate the ill effects of this "calming" grape juice....or "potato juice." Whatever juice. And some people don't even know that their anxiety is from the couple of drinks they had the night before! Alcohol exasperates anxiety, and some people are ultra sensitive to it---very similar to an allergy. So be mindful when you pour yourself a glass of wine or open that first refreshing beer. I save my sleepless nights for Saturday when I want to indulge. 

That's all I got for now. I wanted to share what I have been going through with you. I also wanted to share what's been helping me the most these days. I think it's important that people who suffer with mental health help one another out. Think of it like this... Say you had to go to AA and the director of the meeting never touched a drop of alcohol in their life. Wouldn't that be unsettling to you? Wouldn't you want the director of your meeting you have experienced the addiction, pain and agony you went through so they can relate to you more? Even therapists aren't perfect. I prefer my therapists to have their own therapists. The best therapist I ever went to had her own therapist and was on medication. She KNEW what I went through---not just studied it. There's a huge difference. And for that, I am so grateful I came across her. She helped me while I was caregiving for my mom and she also watched me grieve the first days without her. I was such a mess. I remember calling her hysterically crying while I was home alone in my mother's huge, empty house. There was no way she could calm me over the phone. This woman hopped in her car to come over and help me. Because she had experienced similar events, she was able to compassionately save me on levels a regular 'textbook' psychologist could never. I will never forget her. I want to even say that it was the most beautiful thing anyone has ever done for me.

Help Others On Your Journey to Wellness

So remember, never feel like a hypocrite if you help someone else with their anxiety. And because you suffer from it---that may be the best help they can receive. Our struggle isn't for nothing. We are meant to suffer, but to recover and to help others out of their own pit. As I'm on my own healing process, I am so happy I can help those who need a empathetic ear. And while I hate saying, "You're not alone in this," --- I will say, that you are not the only one suffering. I know that may not make you feel better, but know that it's normal and it's OK to not be OK. When you're not OK, reach out. Pray. Practice mindfulness and keep at it every single day. 

If you ever need to contact me, please either message me on my Facebook page or you can DM me over on Twitter

Here are some great verses to meditate on before you go to bed:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10 

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." ~ Psalm 56:3 

“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” ~ John 14:27 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7  

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” ~ 1 John 4:18 

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” ~ Psalm 94:19 

“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” ~ Isaiah 43:1 

“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” ~ Proverbs 12:25  

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” ~ Psalm 23:4 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:34 

“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:6-7

“Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” ~ Isaiah 35:4 

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” ~ Luke 12:22-26 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” ~ Psalm 27:1 

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” ~ Psalm 55:22 

“Immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'” ~ Mark 6:50 

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:6 

“'For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,' declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” ~ Isaiah 41:13-14 

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1 

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper.” ~ Psalm 118:6-7 

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” ~ Proverbs 29:25 

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” ~ Mark 4:39-40 

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Psalm 34:7 

“But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” ~ 1 Peter 3:14 

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” ~ Psalm 34:4 

“Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” ~ Deuteronomy 3:22 

“Then he placed his right hand on me and said: 'Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.'” ~ Revelation 1:17 

“Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’” ~ Mark 5:36 

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” ~ Romans 8:38-39 

“The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” ~ Zephaniah 3:17 

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you…For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him…” from Psalm 91:1-16 

Be assured, He is with you in whatever you face, in the turmoil and struggles, amidst the anxious thoughts and the worries of life. He is there, strengthening, helping, and He holds you in His hands. God is greater. He gives us the power to live courageously, boldly, fearlessly in this life, when many things that surround us would tell us to be afraid. His truth whispers strong and sure to the deepest core of our spirits. “Do not fear.” All of that stuff on your mind? Give it to Him – again. Replace those fearful thoughts with His words of truth. And sleep in peace tonight. He knows what concerns you, He’s got you covered.

Read more here regarding fear and anxiety. 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Life and Death Are In the Power of the Tongue


In all my years, I have never seen politics become so vile, vicious and even downright dangerous as I do today. Whatever side you're on, people are killing one another over it. A few years back, it was interesting to talk about politics with people, even those with opposing views. Today, you literally have to make sure you're wearing a bulletproof vest if you wanna go there. The thing that I'm noticing the most, is that people are bonding more when they have someone to mutually hate. Whether you hate Biden or you hate Trump, they are bonding through the mutual hatred of another person, as well as the mutual hatred of those who support that person. 

And then you have social politics, where two or more people will gather as friends due to a common interest: somebody they hate. Nothing bonds them better than hating the same person. These types of people cannot be trusted. In most cases, they use one another to form a clique, and some even do it to gain something monetarily as well. 

The Triple Murder Threat

This can even trickle down socially. Remember in high school when two girls would befriend one another simply out of mutual hatred of another student? Maybe they even bullied him or her together and found that their common 'interest' made their friendship stronger. But that kind of friendship fades fast. Remember, when somebody gossips to you about another person they dislike, be sure that when you're not around, that same person will definitely gossip about you as well. I've seen this happen so many times, and I still continue to see it. There's an old quote in Judaism that says, "Gossip kills three people: the person speaking, the person they're speaking about and the listener." 

The Person Speaking 

The way the person speaking is being "killed" is that they're going against God. They're sinning by simply gossiping and perhaps, spreading rumors that aren't true. Even if the rumors are true, the act of spreading information that can hurt somebody else or defame them is a sin. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." People who gossip all the time usually don't have anything intelligent to say, other than talking about other people. They find a common ground (such as someone they dislike) and their friendship grows from that extremely soft foundation. 

The Person Being Spoken About

This person is being killed through words, hurtful stories and untruths. They are being killed, by having their name destroyed and possibly bringing others aboard their hate train. This can not only destroy a person's reputation, but it can destroy their mental health as well. Remember, people have feelings, and when you tear someone else apart through gossip, lies, defamation and your negative opinions about them, you may just bring them to a point they cannot come back from. Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way: “The tongue has the power of life and death.” The stakes are high. Your words can either speak life, or your words can speak death. Our tongues can build others up, or they can tear them down. An unchecked fire doubles in size every minute. 

The Listener

The person listening may be affected the most. Some people are morbidly obsessed with other people's tragedies or unfortunate circumstances, as well as the insults that are thrown at them. The listener has the ability to control whatever they hear. They have a choice: either stop it or correct them if they're lying about someone. For the speaker and listener, it shows a lack of self-control. It shows their true character and what they're really made of. So when somebody is gossiping, and speaking badly about somebody else, they're not intelligent enough to have a decent conversation about anything else other than hating on another person. They want to recruit you onto their team, and then when it's your turn to be spoken about, which happens almost 99% of the time, you'll think to yourself, "I should've seen that one coming." 

Keep your circle tight and welcome those who bring in the positivity. Life's way too short to waste time on hating anyone. In many religions, especially Christianity, hatred in your heart is actually considered murder. In 1 John 3:15 it says, "Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him." 

Love one another.

Be kind. 
Be understanding.
Have compassion. 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Mental Health & God: It's Okay to Talk About It

It's strange how someone like myself can suffer with anxiety and panic attacks, yet be of help to someone else who is suffering from the same struggle. Sometimes, even the most college educated licensed therapist or psychiatrist can do very little for someone. It's all about who you click with--not what kind of degree is hanging up on their walls. They're probably still paying off student loans and wishing they went into another line of work, and of course, there are some who are purposely there with passion, and a heart for those suffering. But in my opinion, you don't need a degree to help somebody else suffering. Sometimes all you need is experience with exactly what they are suffering with. I'm not saying schooling is bad---I am only trying to reiterate that experience goes a long way when someone is trying to explain to you what they are feeling. If you've experienced it, then you can relate and then tell them what worked for you. I will say this: when I was suffering with debilitating panic attacks, the people who've helped me the most were the ones who suffered themselves. It goes beyond psychiatry or licensed therapists who can give you 'smart and logical' answers, but the people who work as peer counselors, like NAMI, who are there to help you when you call a crisis line are the ones who truly make a difference.

Recently, I was on a Zoom meeting for a wellness program with a quite a few ladies who attended. The program teaches you about mindfulness, and sharing your experiences with one another and also, a solution or remedy that you found helpful. So it's not just a whine fest---it's to figure out what works best for you. I was asked what works best for me in my time of suffering. I didn't think twice about it (and totally forgot that this is kinda politically incorrect to do in a wellness program)----but I said, "Praying to God, and turning up worship music when I feel anxious. It changes the atmosphere and motivates me, instead of leaving me in a pit of despair."  One of the directors started to clap and shake her head and said, "Girl! That's exactly what I do! I turn up my gospel and I start to remember the promises of God and to not fear." Then she reminded me of the scripture, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."---Philippians 4:6-7

Then I explained to her that every single morning, I verbalize aloud Psalm 91. It encompasses all that is happening in the world right at this very moment.

Psalm 91 
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly plague.
He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.

I also reminded them, since we all suffer with anxiety, that the word "fear" is listed in the Bible 365 times. That isn't a coincidence. It's there for us to read for each day of our lives. I truly have not found  such intense help as I have when I sit, pray and meditate on the Word---miracles start happening. Miracles do not have to be "winning the lotto" or coming into a windfall of some sort. Miracles are the little things we sometimes miss during our day---little reminders that God is always with us. Not only is God with us, but he is IN all of us, which is why we have to remember, when you hurt somebody else, you're also hurting God. When you help somebody else, you're also helping God. Always treat it that way, and you'll see how beautiful that concept is and how God blesses you along your journey. It's not to do something for someone else to get something----it's doing it as "God's employee," or as I prefer, "God's child helping out their siblings" ---in any way you can, big or small. God knows what you can give, and what you cannot give.

In the world of mental health awareness and psychiatry---we're forbidden to talk about religion. Well, I don't have a religion. I have a relationship with Jesus. It's different. But for them, that's even worse. Even if your therapist or psychiatrist is the same faith as you---they are not allowed to talk about a certain faith or claim it. I would never want to be in that line of work only because I can't share the word of God. Now they have Christian coaching and therapists who are of the same faith, which is good, but as you would expect, they get less clients. "You will be persecuted just as I was." --Jesus

And that's why I do what I do. Those of you who have followed me on all social medias, especially Instagram, know that I suffer terribly with anxiety. I write it all out on there. If I'm having a bad day, and sometimes those days feel like they may be my last---I write it all out only to monitor the help I receive days, or even weeks later. You can see the spiritual attacks I go through, and then you can see the spiritual help I get. I'm not ashamed of what I go through, because millions---billions go through mental health struggles, and it's okay to not be okay sometimes. I believe that God has put me here for a purpose, and gave me this cross to bear for the sole purpose to help others who are suffering. I'm starting to 'get it' now and I am so grateful for all that has taken place recently.

I also have to say that I have some amazing friends who have been there for me recently and reminded me of my worth. Some gave me tough love, while others just listened with zero judgment. With all that's going on in the world, it's nice to know that we are not alone in this struggle and it's okay to reach out for help when you need it.

Sometimes when I'm having a bad day full of anxiety, I look up scriptures that are relevant to my situation. You can do a concordance study and look up the word "fear" and find amazing passages that can relate to your situation.

"Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hoops in God! I will praise Him again--my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember your kindness--from Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar." --Psalm 42:5-6

"God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline." --2 Timothy 1-7

"I am leaving you with a gift---peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be trouble or afraid." ---John 14:27

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know they are good for us--they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectations of salvation."---Romans 5:3-4

One thing about is, I will never be politically correct or hide my love for God. I may talk and write about other topics, but that doesn't mean that my faith as watered down. It only gets stronger. Sometimes, I will refrain from writing, only because I may be suffering myself, and needing to hear these scriptures and encouraging words from somebody else. And that's okay too. It pushes me back to where I have to be.

Never be afraid to help someone else who is struggling with similar issues as  you. You may be the best help they ever receive. And that....is how God works.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Surviving 2020


 "Go out, get out of the house, it'll be fun," they said. I miss going out, visiting my favorite restaurants, driving over to the local farms and seeing what's going on in our local fish market. I miss getting a mani/pedi at my local nail salon and getting my hair done. I miss just being around other people, but yesterday I thought it was time to get my feet wet. I didn't want to go out. I wanted to protect myself from seeing the world post-COVID. But yesterday, something inside me said, "Just do it." And I did. I went to a few farms and bought some fresh produce, cut a few sunflowers and made my way into the local fish market like I always did. I finally drove my car! I truly thought that I had forgotten how to drive---it's been that long. The sun was shining, but the weather was a little hotter than I expected.

Questions through text were like, "So how was it? You got out, huh?"

It sucked.

I will tell you why. First let me say that the only pleasurable part about our trip was indeed, the trip. The drive to the farms and the drive back was my favorite part. As we got out of the car to head over to buy some fresh produce from the farm, we still had to wear masks in an outdoor area. I'm fine with that, because I'm all about protecting other people, including myself. Thing is, it was so hot and humid out, that no matter how much I maneuvered my mask, my glasses were so steamy, that I couldn't see out of them at all. My breath inside my mask alone was making me hot. So I literally rushed through everything and got the heck out of there so I could go out into the field and take the mask, and then wrap it around my chin. I saw people cutting the sunflowers with their masks on and I'm just like, "What are you doing? You're outside next to NOBODY!" But I never judge. I just wonder about the level of fear we have been subjected to.

The produce was questionable. Sadly, most of the produce was spoiled and basically rotten. The only good thing I bought were small red potatoes, a bag of peaches and four corns. Everything else looked bruised and beaten up. Usually, this farm is my favorite, but sadly, the harvest in many areas are dwindling. It wasn't the same place I once knew. Nothing is the same place I once knew. While we were trying to pay for our stuff, we had to wait in a hot hut for the longest time, sweating and unable to breathe through these fricken masks.

And then of course, establishments will try to make you feel safer letting you know their methods of cleaning their business. But what ends up happening to some people like myself is---this is serious! They're wearing HAZMAT suits. They have fire extinguishing cleansers! This is.....WEIRD.

Everywhere you go, from small shops, to coffee shops, to any type of shop---it looks like a complete shit show. Our favorite coffee shop now has cleaners come in with what looks like HAZMAT suits to disinfect. While this should be comforting, this is also very troubling. I always tell Madelene, "I want the world I complained about last year!" They're disinfecting with tanks that have some sort of cleaning agent in it---looks like a fire distinguisher. Even the nail salons are making people literally wear protective PPE gear---an all body plastic suit. I can't. I can't anymore. These photos are straight from my coffee house's Instagram.

The only thing I kept thinking?

"I wanna go home, I wanna go home."

I understand that people need to get on with their lives and try to live some sort of "new normal"----but for me personally, it is not worth it. I will gladly get groceries delivered, and stay within the confines of my own home. I will cook my own food and cherish my balcony and porch area. Nothing about this is "healthy" in any way---not mentally, and certainly, not physically. Come fall and winter, this bitch of a virus is going to rear its ugly head once again, and we will see ourselves in a mandatory lockdown again. I just know it. After the elections, and if Trump gets re-elected, there will be a civil war. Trust that. Also, in my little 'tinfoil hat' of a mind---the virus will never go away....until Trump goes away. If Biden wins, I bet you 100% that the virus mysteriously disappears like magic.

Get ready for the civil war. It's already happening in some states. In Portland, ANTIFA and BLM are marching down the streets, in residential areas, shining bright lights into families' homes chanting, "Get out of your house and into the streets!" Right now, it's just. marching around in their streets, but soon, they'll be breaking and entering, if Trump gets re-elected. Read all about it HERE. They even have videos of crowds of people marching through terrorizing suburban neighborhoods in this website---CLICK HERE.

I don't want any part of this world any longer. I'm trying to be positive, but it's very hard to be positive with such a negative world. I put all my trust in God right now because that is the only way I will survive this. That's the only way anyone is going to survive this.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Respect In the Midst of the Pandemic

The effects of this pandemic has hit an all time high. Here in New York, the mortality rate is below 1%--and I don't know one person who is sick right now, other than a bad case of seasonal allergies. But what I mean by "effects" -- is that the world still looks like a huge Dexter murder setup---plastic wrapped around every wall, counter and credit card processors in the stores. Plexiglass is put up as borders and sneeze guards, and of course, people wearing masks and big face shields walking around everywhere. Companies, like the one my better half works for has a policy---no mask, no service. All employees must wear a mask at all times. No ifs, ands or buts about it. It's not the law, only a mandate, but businesses are allowed to make their own rules, rightfully so. "No shirt, no shoes, no service," --- same thing. So while the virus has simmered down a tad, we are headed into flu season. With the flu on its way and COVID still lurking in the darkness, it's the perfect storm for PANIC. 

Respect

I'm going to personally give you an example of what people need to stop doing. Stop making your friends and family feel guilty for not wanting to venture out to BBQs or come visit you right now. Stop making them feel guilty for wearing a mask. For me, it's about the 'what if' because I don't believe anything the media tells us. So instead, I prefer to err on the side of caution and wear a mask, stay home more, and not attend parties right now. Call me "sheep" all you want, but that's my personal preference. That's my right. And let me tell you---it has definitely wreaked havoc on my mental health like never before. I don't know what's worse really, because back in 2017, I almost died of the flu and was hospitalized. I had pneumonia, pleurisy and had to be on breathing treatments, like albuterol nebulizers, prednisone drips, and oxygen. When I came home, I had a slew of regimens to follow as well, with a bunch of inhalers and nebulizers to last me a lifetime. I never want to go through that again if I can help it, so I can only imagine what it's like having COVID. And then you have some people saying it's like a cold. I believe we all had it this winter through March, so given that thought, the second whirlwind of it would be mild, due to the antibodies...or would it? Nobody knows. 

You can only do what's best for you. Just because you're "so sick and tired" of not socializing anymore, does not mean you should make your loved ones feel bad for not showing up, especially if they have relatives who are immune compromised and elderly. It's selfish and pretty much rude to the point of not giving a rat's behind about anyone else other than your ability to satisfy your need for human interaction. And trust me, I know how hard it is to not interact with people. I've been so depressed these last four months, and sometimes, it can bring me to a low that I've never even seen before, but I get back up and I try again. I know that someday, this virus will be gone, or it will be a virus that we can coexist with, just as we do with the flu. 

You Do You

Recently, I had a friend tell me how she was partying last night and got to hug all of her friends she hasn't seen before. I didn't say anything other than, "I'm glad you got out. I'm happy for you." And then she said, "Well, you should try it sometime." With that, I reminded her of how her son had COVID with a 105 fever earlier this year. So I reminded her of when her son was sick with COVID.

"If I had kids, especially one who almost died of COVID, I guess I wouldn't be so 'brave' especially knowing how sick your baby boy was. I'm just trying to wait it out." 

Her response: "I choose life over fear is all. This shit crap is over...people are not sick...people are realizing they've been hornswoggled and we've been lied to on a mass scale. It's a flu and sadly people die from the flu. This flu has less than 1% mortality rate. Fuck Hell if I'm hiding anymore. My mental health is at stake. I do respect your feelings and decision though." 

My response: "I respect your decision to do that. But please respect mine because I miss my mother-in-law and my grandmother. I need to be ok and not be asymtomatic. We definitely will get together soon and I can't wait!" 

Her response: "Asymptomatic has an extremely low rate of transmission...it means you have no symptoms. Unless you're making out with that person, you won't get it. I just use reasonable common sense. I do respect your decision and I'll always support you." 

The funny part about her skewed info on asymptomatic people is that they're more likely to cause the virus without even knowing it. See, nobody knows anything. People want to play the role of "virologist" and make like they have some sort of secret info we never got. Well Karen, I never got that memo. The denial and the ability to pretend like you know more than a scientist or doctor just baffles me to no end. I love my friend, but sometimes, it's just like---you need to do you and let others live their lives the way they want. It's not that I don't want to hang out with my friend, it's just because I want to be able to see my relatives without the possibility of being contagious. And you know---I would probably have spent time with her if she wasn't partying or hugging everyone in sight. I wish I could hug my friends and family right now, but I don't have enough credible information that lets me know that it's safe. 

It all boils down to respect. Whether you think the government is lying to you or whether you think the virus is or isn't real, just know that your family and loved ones may feel and live differently than you do, and that's okay. 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Friday, August 14, 2020

Cog In the Wheel

Everyone has a cross to bear or some kind of issue that may not be visible at first glance. I know many people who prefer not to share their problems or physical ailments with the world, and I happen to be one of them. Of course, my blog is literally an open book, but in a general conversation, I tend to keep a lot of personal things to myself. Nobody wants to hear a whiner or someone possibly seeking a pity party. I remember when I was a young girl around four or five years old, we had these older next-door neighbors, a husband a wife who seemed to be very nice. When the wife got to know my mom, she stopped by more often, usually with a homemade baked pie or something she cooked herself. It was either feast or famine with her---either she came too much or she wasn't to be seen at all. Sometimes, my mom would worry and call her up to see if she was okay. As time went on and mom figured that her friend wasn't up to socializing anymore, but then she received a phone call from her husband. She was found dead in her home---literally had her head in the oven and gassed herself. It was a tragic incident nobody saw coming, because nobody knew anything. The stigma of mental illness was much worse than it was today. If someone found out you were seeing a psychiatrist, you'd be automatically listed as "crazy." 


Fast forward 2020, mental health is still an issue, even more so with our world in completely chaos. Social distancing and isolation doesn't help the already existing sufferers of anxiety, depression, agoraphobia, etc. It has now attacked those who never truly experienced mental health problems before. People who never experienced anxiety are now feeling the horrible affects of what our minds can do to our physical bodies. And I'm not talking about "fear of speaking in front of large crowds"---that's a very common thing---in fact, I'm even going to say that it's safe to say that it shouldn't be on the list of "phobias." That's just the norm. I'm not being insensitive---I'm just trying to say, the fear of walking out of your own house as opposed to the fear of speaking in front of a large crowd does not compare at all. 

Other silent ailments, that I personally experience besides anxiety is fibromyalgia. It comes and goes, and when it hits me, it hits me hard to where I can barely get out of bed, or even walk down the stairs. The pain radiates from the top of my head all the way down to my toes. Every bone 'crackles' and many nights, I can only sleep on only one side. So besides my periodic episodes of agoraphobia, which is mainly walking into a large supermarket or being around a lot of people, if I have a flare up, you probably won't see me very often. I've gotten a lot of "unsolicited advice" from various people. "You should get out more, it's not healthy to stay inside all day." And there are days where I will go to the park with my dog or take a drive to the store to pick up something---but especially during the pandemic, this has made a huge impact on how I live. Even just to sit outside can be unbearable, and I don't want anyone to think I don't want to talk or socialize with them, because the pain makes me literally cringe in one spot, making it hard to have a decent conversation with whoever stops by my porch. Sometimes, you have to let people know what you go through. And other times, there's no need to tell anyone. So if you notice the absence of somebody who used to trek out more often than not, be kind and less judgmental. Maybe call and see how they're doing, instead of gossiping about how they've become a "shut-in." 

Sometimes I look at this world we're living in now and wonder if I ever want to get back into it. I've set up my home to where I can do everything and anything at any given time. I have my office all set up for work which I love. In the morning, I make time to sit, pray, and meditate. I write out a list of things I am grateful for. I have about 5 books/journals filled to the brim with more waiting to be filled. I always think to myself, if I were to ever leave this world, my family would have something to read with all my little sketches and basically, my heart written out on paper. I also have many entries in this blog, as well as posts on social media. Since I don't rely on technology to be there forever, I write in composition notebooks with more rawness. So if someone was trying to get to know me for real, it's all there uninhibited. Many of my journals include my relationship with God and how He has helped me through the death of my parents and now this pandemic. I see the world killing one another and then think to myself, "I kinda like my isolated world." But people insist that isolation will kill me. I'm not sure about that. The last time I went out, I was thinking one thing: I cannot wait to get back home. To see the world covering their faces and people fighting because someone wasn't wearing a mask---it was ugly. I don't like this world anymore and if I choose to limit how much I see, through shopping or even through the mainstream media, then let me have my peace. 

Never make apologies for how you want to live, or how you have to live. If they're not paying your bills---they have no say whatsoever. I'm lucky enough to have an essential job working in the mental health field, helping those suffering with anxiety and depression, because I've been there and still struggle from time to time. And that's okay. It's okay not to be okay sometimes. This world has forever changed, and I have a feeling that there's something coming down the pike...something that'll make it even worse. They're predicting the worst health crisis this fall, and I can only imagine how much stress and anxiety that's going to put upon everyone. My only saving grace is staying close to God and making sure that even before my feet hit the ground in the morning, to say "Thank you for another day!" Because another day means an opportunity to either help somebody else, or learn something new, so that you can teach somebody else. Everything has a purpose. We're an important cog in the wheel. 

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”― Mahatma Gandhi

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Which Is Worse? Isolation or COVID-19?

To tell you the truth, I have yet to figure this one out. As New York's numbers in cases and mortality declines, the south is seeing a huge spike unfortunately. We've had a couple here and a couple there get tested positive, but less than seven people died in our state...sad, but better than thousands. As I continue to 'shelter-in-place,' along with the occasional trip here 'n there, perhaps to a park or the farm market, I'm seeing so many people having pool parties in large numbers, going out to bars and restaurants without wearing masks and having a great time. I'm also seeing thousands protesting in NYC. But we're "good"---right? No one is getting infected really. And if they are, it's super mild. Did New York conquer the bug? Has it weakened? Or, will it catch up to us eventually? Are we in the "February" where we saw a few cases and then BAM---March had us locked down-throw-away-the-key kinda quarantining.

I'm so sick and tired of people fighting over everything, between the masks, and if the corona virus is real or not real, or mild or strong or deadly---it's getting ridiculous. So let's just say nobody knows what the hell is going on. Some rely on science and some say that the scientists are evil and corrupted liars trying to push a communistic agenda, and on and on and on.

So do we still 'shelter in place' or can we go out, with the risk of the virus being out there and live our lives again? Do we sacrifice our physical health for our mental health or our mental health for our physical health? Because from what I'm seeing and experiencing, being 'sheltered in place' is truly wreaking havoc on everyone's mental health. For me, I get anything from horrible panic attacks, insomnia, myoclonic seizures, racing heart, bouts of crying---when is this going to end? I've never felt so lonely as I have now. Top that off with a sprinkle of hypochondria and you got yourself a complete meltdown palooza.

Even though I work from home mainly in the morning till mid-afternoon, my routine has come to a dead stop. No more light shopping (cause I get my groceries delivered usually) or going out to the farm market to get fresh produce. No more nights out to our favorite restaurants or visiting our friends and family. And since I'm at high risk, I'm nervous to be around other people, who have exposed themselves to many people. That doesn't mean I am judging them at all, but I refuse to be around those who feel that the virus won't affect them. Maybe it won't, but I went through it in March and it was awful. I'm not sure if this bug can reinfect, because frankly, nobody knows a damn thing about this virus yet. Get the vaccine when it comes out---don't get the vaccine---the vaccine will kill you---the vaccine is the only cure. My head is literally spinning with so much misinformation. I don't know who or what to trust in regards to getting the right information about this virus.

I've been told so many things lately:

  • "If you don't go out, you'll develop really bad agoraphobia." (Too late.) 
  • "If you don't go out and face this, you'll lose all your friends." (FaceTime works for me, my friends are still there thankfully.) 
  • "If you don't face your fear, you'll end up really depressed." (But if I get COVID-19, where will I end up being since I'm at high risk? Isn't this a legit fear?)
  • "You have to live your life, Deb! You can't just stay home all the time." (Why, where will I go? To a BBQ that consists of 30+ guests?) 
  • "You're doing exactly what the government wants you to do. They're watching our behavior to test communism on us." (How do we know this? What happened in 1918 with the Spanish Flu--was that a test too?)

These are the things that drive me nuts, besides the lack of face-to-face human interaction. It's true, we are social creatures and need to be around other people if that's what makes us happy. Sometimes, if I'm around too many people, I get over sensitized---sending my energy into a downward spiral of fatigue. But too little sends my reserved energy into a panic type of energy.

So which is worse?

Isolation or contracting the virus?

What do you think and what are your thoughts and opinions regarding the virus itself, and how you live (or want to) live your life?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Public Shaming People Over Masks

Lately, I've been noticing how people are twisting this pandemic into something political. They're also using this pandemic to fight it out because some people have an axe to grind for whatever reason.  There are a whole lotta' "Karens" in our world, as we have to just take it in with a grain of salt. I've seen most fights and debates over social media, and some that were in a flower and garden shop that absolutely took me by surprise. Why are we fighting with one another? I remember when we all came together after the tragic day of 9-11, so why are we trying to kill one another? You have people who think they're an expert with the virus itself and apparently, they've all been to the labs and factories while workers made masks to protect others from getting ill...or, the question is, do they protect?

Nobody really knows. That's why you get mixed messages.

People who take the time and effort to publicly shame others for wearing a mask or not wearing a mask are doing it out of fear. Here's my ~opinionated~ reasons why:

  • Fear. Fear makes people do things they wouldn't normally do, like shaming someone for their beliefs or personal views. 
  • Unresolved anger. It can put people over the edge if they have pent up anger, making the mask situation an excellent opportunity to rip someone a new one. 
  • Entitlement. Some people think they're entitled to bully complete strangers for whatever they're doing. Their arguments are weak and their approach is child-like. You can scroll through a ton of YouTube videos to see every 'Karen' out there. 
  • Socially awkward folks who need attention. They're the ones you don't invite to a restaurant or a gathering because they say the most inappropriate things imaginable. They're also the ones you would never put on speakerphone. 
"Sheeple" Callouts

The other day I was watching a video where this woman literally hid behind a pile of carts at a Target, "baaa-ing" at people, calling them "sheep" for wearing masks. What would provoke someone to take their time and do something like this? I actually believe there are people out there going crazy at home and they're bored out of their minds. Get a hobby for the love God! It doesn't even make sense why this woman did this. It just shows me people have lost touch with their ability to remain somewhat sane throughout this 4 month lockdown. I get it, even though I love staying home and work from home, I was forced to stay home and not visit my friends or family or even go out to my favorite restaurants. It gets to you. We all know. Even if you're an essential worker, that doesn't even qualify for "socializing" because they're out there working in fear, braving it and helping those who cannot work.

Onto the next...

The Whiney Karens

I will never forget the video I saw based in Staten Island. I used to stay with my cousins over in Staten Island and they ain't playin' around. Those are some tough folks, especially the women! Staten Island is close to my heart, but what happened at this grocery store was absolutely shameful. They saw a woman in the aisle not wearing a mask, so a bunch of women, including a couple of men starting yelling and pushing her around, saying, "Get the f*** out of here!" I have never seen people act this way---only with the toilet paper issue, which is a whole other can-o-beans. But the overall barbaric behavior from grown adults is really scary. It feels like our society has truly broken down and not only has this virus destroyed lives physically, but it's destroyed the very core of our existence---to come together as a community, as a civilization and not kill each other over something so 'fixable.' Personally, I always wear my mask when I enter a store. That's for you, that's for your son's compromised immunity and it's for your grandparents. I see it as a shield that "may" protect others. I can't say if they protect 100% because I'm not a scientist, nor a virologist, as others seem to think they are. 

Isolation/Social Distance Shaming

There seems to be a trend of poking fun at people who still want to social distance, especially if it's with your family and friends who do not live in the same household. For me personally, just because New York has had a major decline of infections and mortality rates, I will still isolate and social distance until I know for sure that this virus is gone, gone gone. If you're upset that someone in your family or one of your friends are shying away from invites, you have to excuse them. FaceTime them, or give them a call to chat with them. They're not okay with this either. Even though I never judge anyone who chooses to be around a lot of people without masks, I have the right to choose whether or not to see them. If I see on your social media that you're in a huge group without a mask, you're not going to see me for a very long time. I don't like it either, but I'm just not as lax as some people are. I don't get it---I see people hugging in groups and having these big parties, and then they ask, "Why don't you come by?" I can't! I won't! There's a pandemic out there and as much as I'd love to spend time with my loved ones---I have to be sure that this thing is over and done with. My better half is the same way. She even went back to work, and although she doesn't feel the masks are effective, she wears one anyway because she is not sure, and she wants her customers to know that she cares about their feelings. When she gets home, she takes off her shoes in the garage and enters the home that way. She throws her clothes in the wash down in the basement and washes her hands before seeing me. Even though she's very cautious, I get a little anxiety about being in an office for 8 hours a day around people---even if it's limited capacity. 

It all boils down to respect. Everything I wrote above---it's all about respecting people. I know you have your set beliefs, and you think others should have the same as you, but that's not possible. If someone in a store isn't wearing a mask, I don't publicly shame them. I simply walk away. You can do the same thing as well. If someone is wearing a mask, and you have the urge to make a "baaaaaa" sound, then obviously, you're not socially equip to handle society right now. 

It doesn't hurt to be kind. Whether you think this virus is a "plandemic" or a "pandemic"---treat people the way you want to be treated, usually left alone. I mean, your freedom of speech is your right, but when does it get to the point where you're just indirectly throwing your anger at those who have no clue what you're angry over? It's not even about the masks, is it? 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Friday, July 03, 2020

FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real

There's a lot to be said about be afraid--about having a constant fear gnawing at you day after day. Fear literally shrinks your mind...it also shrinks your entire world. I know it shrunk mine for a very long time, and it still manages to keep it there ever since this pandemic took center stage. People who normally didn't suffer with debilitating fear are now experiencing it for the first time ever. This world is full of illness, rage, injustice and grief. For a while, I sunk back into my small world---into that fearful corner of anxiety and hypochondria. I had to stop thinking that every little tickle in my throat was the corona virus and that each sniffle would bring me closer to a ventilator. Back in the day (like last year) I would've just blown it off, popped a Claritin and be done with it. Today, I question every sensation in my body, monitoring it like a prison guard. My heart would start racing, but there was nobody to really help me. I couldn't just go to a doctor or check into the ER. No. Those places are now out of the question. I had to literally face my fear head on. At the brink of going insane, I finally gave it all to God. Each morning's racing heart was met with a prayer before my feet hit the ground. Enough is enough. When it seemed as though nothing would help, I just kept saying under my breath, "I trust you...I trust you.

Being Brave in the Midst of the Storm

Remember what happened to Peter in Matthew 8?

The storm was barreling down on them, and Peter asked, “Lord, is it You?” Peter asked. “If it is, tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” Jesus said.

So Peter got out of the boat. He walked on the water toward Jesus. - Matthew 14:28-29

When Peter looked at the wind and waves, he began to doubt if Jesus was more powerful than the storm that surrounded him (Matthew 14:31).

He cried out, “Lord! Save me!” Right away Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. “Your faith is so small!” He said. “Why did you doubt Me?” - Matthew 14:30-31

When Peter looked at the wind and waves, he began to doubt if Jesus was more powerful than the storm that surrounded him (Matthew 14:31).

Do you know what the Bible says about doubt? “People who doubt are like waves of the sea. The wind blows and tosses them around.” (James 1:6) What an interesting word picture! Peter’s doubt literally caused him to be tossed around in the wind and waves. He began to sink. We look at the scary situation around us. We doubt whether God actually has power over that situation, or if He cares enough to help us. We may stop doing what God wants us to do. Or we may be overwhelmed with fear. You know the kind of fear I’m talking about---the kind that makes you feel like there’s a whirlwind in the pit of your stomach. But here is the truth: Lots of situations are too big or too scary for you to handle, but nothing is too big for Jesus. Don’t focus on the situation you are in. Focus on the One who has power over every situation. He WANTS to do what is best for you, and He is ABLE to do what is best for you. Focusing on that truth should give you peace. That truth should give you the confidence to step out of your boat and do what it is He wants you to do without any fear.---read more like this.

Each morning after, the first thing I did was look to Jesus. I thanked Him for another day. Every morning after that, my anxiety lessened little by little. My fear lessened as well. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I 'stepped out of the boat' at least, I 'walked on water' and if I sink, it's because doubt starts filling my mind again, but if I keep my eyes on Jesus, I won't sink. If you keep your faith strong and don't let it sink, you will see you can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you.

FEAR is a liar. FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. The devil is a liar. He's just waiting for you to sink into the water. It's funny how many people are a little shy to admit that they are Christians or that they pray to Jesus. They think they'll be seen as a "holy roller" or that they're one of those judgmental bigots holding signs demeaning other people. The fact is, your relationship with God is your own. People--those who worship God but their behavior shows differently are lost or hurting. Some even have a warped view on what God is. God is LOVE. God doesn't represent hatred or insults. He represents YOU. We are all "sinners" and we all fall short sometimes. That's OKAY. That's the perfect time to go to God and talk with Him. Did you know that fear is spoken about 365 times in the Bible? So each day, for an entire year, you can read something that'll help you with your fear. It's one of the most talked about things in the Bible.

False Evidence Appearing Real

Have you ever noticed a time when you had anxiety about something you had to do or somewhere you had to go? You thought the worse case scenario and it may have filled your mind with doubt. But when you went through it in fear, you realized that none of those things that you were thinking about actually happened. We seem to forget them when everything pans out. Especially for agoraphobic people like myself, I will drum up a scenario like, "But what if I break down," "But what if I get stuck in traffic," "But what if I pass out in the middle of the grocery store?" Those "what ifs" will drive you into a smaller world, as it did for myself. It's okay to make a plan. So for instance, if I break down on the road somewhere, I have a phone plus a service my car has where you push a button and an operator comes on to assist you. If I get stuck in traffic (and hopefully I'm in the slow lane) I can simply pull over, do some breathing exercises or call someone. If I pass out in the grocery store (which never happened to me)---then someone would definitely help me, I'm sure. If I rationalize my irrational fears, it makes me braver, like, "I can do this!"

Fear is a Normal Fight or Flight Response

Without a doubt, I still get those late night panic attacks where I sometimes call my sister for help. She then puts my mind at ease and I start thinking, "Why am I so out of control?" But it's okay. Sometimes it happens and it's good to have a trusted person to be available when they can. And when nobody is there to help, talk to God about it. Go in another room and just pray as if you were talking to a trusted friend. This is what's been keeping me sane lately. Now, when I wake up in the morning, my heart isn't racing as much as it usually does. I can get all my work done, make coffee and enjoy my mornings again. Fear will ruin your life if you don't get a grip on it.

Yes it's normal to "fear" the virus.
Yes it's normal to "fear" our world being so incredibly different.
Yes it's normal to "fear" not being able to see our friends and family again.
Yes it's normal to "fear" unemployment and the collapse of our economy.

But guess who is stronger than all of those scenarios above? The earth recycles events and even plagues. In 1918, they were plagued with the Spanish Flu. (Which has now become politically incorrect to say these days.) There were earthquakes, locusts, tornadoes, tsunamis and wars. We have been through much of it, maybe not in our lifetime, but this world has seen it all. Is it a sign of Jesus coming back? Nobody truly knows the day nor hour. But it's good to be ready and excited for it, nonetheless.

All of it is so very frightening. So I've come to the conclusion that we should never fear death. Yep--I said it. It's such a primitive and natural fear, isn't it? So how do you overcome fearing death? By believing that God is there to take you when you leave this world. Faith will let you overcome that fear. But faith is like a muscle, you have to keep at it for it to become stronger. You can't just say, "Well, I believe in God, so...." It's gotta be more than that. I do believe that we are living the end times, but that's neither here nor there. We are all going to perish one way or another, some day or another, so we might as well face it fearlessly, and keep our eyes on Jesus. Walk on the water and don't fall---have faith.

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