Thursday, October 10, 2019

World Mental Health Day

It doesn't matter if you hide it well, or never tell a soul about your unraveled feelings you keep bottled up, the fact is, we all suffer with mental health one way or another. You may be independent and highly functioning, or you can be debilitated with agoraphobia due to your panic attacks. Bereavement also goes down as part of mental health issues and so does behavioral issues, like uncontrolled anger. We all share this common human element that we feel ashamed to share publicly. Fear of abandonment, depression, manic depression (bipolar disorder) and even hormonal imbalances, which can contribute to mental health issues. Chronic pain can put you in quite a depression as well. Pain is the most common factor for debilitating depression. Whether it is circumstantial, inherited or developed over time, we can all admit that we had or still have suffered from a mental health situation. And there's nothing to be ashamed of.

Myths and Phony Boloney Statements Made

"They're just lazy." Fear and anxiety can sometimes limit what a person is willing to do. Many people refuse to exercise due to their heart rate increasing, leaving them to panic and then have their heart palpitate, thinking it's a heart attack. They develop what's called PVCs (Premature ventricular contractions, are extra heartbeats that begin in one of your heart's two lower pumping chambers (ventricles). These extra beats disrupt your regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a fluttering or a skipped beat in your chest. With more exposure to exercise and knowing what is triggering them can put relief onto the person so they'll continue to exercise without the fear behind it. But one of the myths told when someone with anxiety doesn't exercise is, "Oh, they're just lazy."

"They don't like me because they never hang out anymore." Social anxiety is another common thing people go through. Even the most independent of all people can develop social anxiety. So whenever you invite your friend over who has social anxiety, remember that it doesn't mean that they don't like you, it just means that they may feel a bit more anxious that day. Do not take someone's isolation personally. For real, it's not you---it's them. And the more you start understanding social anxiety, the more comfortable your friend will be and more opt to take you up on your invites.

"It's all in your head."  Well, yeah. But that's even more reason to take this seriously. Our minds are convoluted with fear and unraveling thoughts of 'what ifs.' It's interesting to see someone tell another person who is suffering with anxiety or depression to just "cheer up" or "you can change your entire mindset!" It's not that easy. It's possible, but it takes a lot of time and hard work with a professional, and sometimes medication if need be. You're dealing with a mind that's unlike your own. If you know somebody with anxiety, depression, PTSD or bipolar disorder---take it easy on them. Our mental health can sometimes determine our physical health as well. Many of us develop psychosomatic symptoms, which can feel just like a heart attack. It can cause back pain and cause fibromyalgia flare ups.

A Blessing or a Burden? 

From personal experience, I've witnessed how people react once I'm in a crisis mode. When I first lost my mother, everyone was so kind and generous, offering anything they could do for me, and if I needed to reach out to just call or come over anytime. But after the funeral, you won't hear from those people....possibly ever. When I lost my home and moved into our new house---I started getting rebound anxiety attacks. The adjustment was huge for me. Whenever I would reach out, I would always get abrupt answers, sometimes harsh, telling me to "calm down" or "you need medication" and worst of all, complete silence from some. Here's my theory on this as of now: find resources so that you never have to make that call to a friend or relative who resents you for having these mental health crises. Let's face it---people have enough on their plates, so taking on our issues would possibly be too overwhelming for them. And many times, people don't know how to say "No, I can't help you." And that's okay. For me, I have 1 psychiatrist, 1 psychologist, 1 mental health peer (in case I need assistance at home or if I need to run errands but too anxious.) I have a crisis patient advocate who will evaluate me over the phone or come to my location to see if I need to go to the ER or simply need to calm down. I can call these people during the day or 2am when I'm shaking like a leaf in the corner of my room. They're professionals, my friends and family are not. This is what they do for a living, so instead of reaching out to someone close, try gaining the resources so the "burden" is less for all of you. Remember, you ARE a blessing to many. You are NEVER a burden. Some people just have too many burdens of their own to take on new ones. I respect that.


It's OK Not To Be OK!

You are NOT weak for asking for help.
You are NOT crazy for having mental health issues.
You are NOT a burden.
You are NOT faulty.

You're simply a human being living in a faulty world. Sometimes it's all you can do to not self-medicate and throw in the towel. Your life has purpose. You're entire reason for being here is greater than you even realize. And when you have that 'ah-ha' moment of why you're here, you're going to feel calmer, more confident in who you are and why you are here at this very moment. Sometimes things just don't make any sense whatsoever. Ooooh, life's one big mystery. Yeah kinda-sorta, but when you sit back and look at the bigger picture, you have a bigger plan for your life. You have a much bigger purpose waiting for you. Self-love is important. Positive self-dialogues are imperative for your mental health. We listen to our minds more than we ought to. If you have negative thought patterns, you'll end up believing that "you're ugly" or "too fat" or "too skinny." You'll believe the lies your mind conjures up. By instilling positive self imagery on yourself, on the way you look and who you are inside--watch how you start feeling better little by little.

Be good to yourself, kinder to yourself. Forgive yourself more. Learn to adapt a whole new respect for who you are and what you do for others. Find purpose before you find out your real purpose. Do things ON purpose. Don't let anyone tell you that you 'need this' or that you 'need that,' unless it's from a health provider.

Have faith!

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, October 09, 2019

Get Behind Me Satan! I'm Jumping Out of My Comfort Zone!

The waves of grief are strange and unpredictable. It's like, one day you're doing great and feeling like you're somewhat healed, and then one night, you wake up in a puddle of tears because you dreamt of your lost loved one. That's what happened to me this morning. I was doing okay. I thought I was "fine." It was 2am when I gasped for air, trying to hold onto mom, half sleeping and half awake. Was it a visit? Was it just a dream? Was it my subconscious telling me I need to purge more in order to heal? I don't know. All I know is, I woke up incredibly sad. My heart was racing a mile a minute. I took a deep breath and praised God. "Get behind me Satan---not today, not today." Even though it was somewhat of a late start to the day, I got up, showered up and showed up. The devil wants us to live small lives---lives full of fear and dread. The power behind pushing through that heaviness, the dread that nearly consumes you is not easy. But if you're getting help by praying to God every single day, I promise you---it does get better and you will do things out of your comfort zone. I am not in my comfort zone just yet. I cannot tell you how hard it was to leave my home---the home my wife and I had dreams about renovating. It was the home we both took care of my parents in. It was the home that we made ours. Of course there were other factors that made me want to leave as well. Those things weighed out more, like the horrific winters being stuck up on a mountain with no electric for days at a time or the expenses of keeping up with an old house that needed a lot of TLC. New roofing, new pipes (that was costly) and keeping up with the landscaping. It was worth it because it was just an amazing, beautiful place. It was exciting to see the place look so nice, until winter came.

Instead of fighting for the house, I jumped out of my comfort zone and into a new townhouse. It wasn't like I moved from New York straight into Texas---that's one hell of an adjustment. My new life took some getting use to. A change like that: deaths in the family and a major move are all apart of what they call "major life changes." I wasn't really surprised when I started getting panic attacks for the first few weeks. I learned a few things from these panic attacks, that sometimes had me worrying that it was my heart.

You're Not Going to Die

When you realize what it is, anxiety (the devil's attacks) will start leaving you alone. I finally got fed up with my rapid heart rate one morning. It was 4am, and my heart was out of control. Instead of checking my pulse---I started breathing in and out, and with each exhale, I muttered, "Praise Jesus." I did that five times, and all of the sudden, my heart calmed down and I fell asleep in a second. Later on, I woke up calm, hopeful, and full of excitement that it really worked. And then it happened again. I started breathing in and out, with the exhalation of "Praise Jesus." Gone. Poof. Just like that. There's power in His name. When you praise Him in the storms, in the midst of chaos, you are instilling faith. You're telling God that you trust Him to take care of you. Resist the devil and he will flee. You will not die from a panic attack. And if you do die----what's the worst thing that can happen if you're a believer? You go straight to God. I'm igniting my faith in order to help with the anxious feelings of this new change. So when you feel anxious and your heart is fluttering, always remember that you are not going to die. That's number one. Number two is---God has your back in case you do. But usually, when we think something is going to happen, it never does. Just breathe in and out slowly with the exhalation of praising Him. It works.

Therapy Is Good, But It's Not Enough

Talk therapy is an excellent way to get an outsider's help, instead of complaining to your friends and family. I want to be a blessing, not a burden, so I have a wonderful therapist who helps me with coping mechanisms and listens to me---really listens to me where she can even remind me of something I forgot about. It's hard to find a good therapist. Trust me on that one. I went through dozens before I found someone who really heard me. As helpful as therapy is, it can be quite expensive. Most insurances don't cover mental health for some reason. Many centers will have a sliding scale system, going by your income. But it's always near $100 or more. I really needed the help, so I opted for once a week, but it was more than my car payment. Moving into our new home became a bit of a financial strain for now, until we catch up again. I need the therapy, but I can't seem to scrounge up enough pennies to make that happen right now.

What helps me the most is giving it all to God. Telling God all of my issues and struggles. Most of all, thanking God for everything He has provided. Trusting God, leaning on God and making God number one in my life---all of these things really work. Every single coping mechanism I used didn't work long enough. But if I used the breathing technique with praising God at the same time---it took the anxiety away almost immediately and for a longer period of time. There is something so powerful about casting your cares to God and trusting Him to help you in times of trouble. And sometimes, it feels as though God isn't there. But the teacher is usually quiet during a test. And yes, God does test our faith to see where we're at. Once He knows how much you trust Him, just call out His name and miraculous things will start to happen in your life. I know that some of my friends tell me, "What's with this God stuff you write about all the time?" It's about living a quality life while I wait for God to take me back to my real home. You can have heaven on earth if you have enough faith. Even when you're going through the most stressful time, call on His name and watch how the situation changes.

But I Don't Feel Anything When I Pray - Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayers? 

Pray without ceasing! 
Faith is like a muscle. You have to keep exercising it in order for it to become stronger. And if your faith is strong enough and you are not getting your prayers answered, sometimes there's a blessing in unanswered prayers. Have you ever prayed for something in the past and have it turn out to be a really bad situation? I have. I wish that prayer wasn't answered. Sometimes, God may be protecting you from something He can see down the road. God sees the bigger picture, while we only see a small scope of things. Trust it when God doesn't answer. I remember my prayers weren't being answered last year, and God kept saying in different ways, "Just endure a little while longer." I wrote it down in my "prayer and answer book." He kept telling me to wait. I was praying for a place to live since we needed to get out of the home we were in. So I waited, and waited, and He gave me more than I even expected. If I would've taken things into my own hands and didn't wait on God, I would've been living in a weird efficiency apartment that was way too expensive. This is 100% true---I will never forget that. I almost settled into a home that would've caused so much grief. And now, I'm in a home that I fell in love with the moment I walked into it. That was God working in my life. Sometimes God says, "Yes," sometimes He says, "No, that's not good for you, and sometimes He says, "Just wait a little while longer."

When you feel that things are just too overwhelming and everything is going to crap---just say, "Get behind me, Satan! Not today, not today!"

"So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." ---James 4:7

Whether you know this or not, there is a spiritual war going on, and you're apart of it. It's all up to you how you want to handle it. Do you want God on your side, or do you want the devil to keep on winning? God has already overcome the world, so have some faith! Get outta' your boat and walk on water. Push through the anxiety, the sadness, the temptation to have a huge pity party---get excited about what God has in store for you.

"Each time he said, 'My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me." ---2 Corinthians 12:9

When you are weak, He is strong. It doesn't mean that "you" are weak, but the power of God is stronger than what we are capable of handling.

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!

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Complicated Grief: Is It Ever Truly Uncomplicated?

Having struggled with mental health most of my life, and then running into circumstantial challenges and major losses have all been a real eye opener. You get to see what your limitations are and how your body, mentally and physically responds to it all. And sometimes, you'll feel God's subtle hedge of protection, guarding you from things that you just cannot do alone. It's that type of inner strength you never knew you had. It's actually the inner strength you never had, because it was God's strength while in the midst of our weakest moments. That strength didn't belong to us.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” --2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

People Will Try & Comfort You

Any time someone would say, "Well, it does get easier with time," while referring to the loss of my mom, I just nod my head (without arguing) and mentally say, "But it doesn't." Another one of my favorites: "Take it day by day," yeah yeah yeah. This is not AA, this is not some sort of recovery group for addicts---this is the loss of a loved one you're talking about. I get that people mean well and they try to say comforting words the best to their ability, but sometimes, it comes off as these lame clich├ęs and platitudes that everybody else uses. Sometimes, the best thing is to just be silent and listen to them, even if they're doing one of those ugly cries. Comfort them with silence and a hug. That's it.

Death of a Loved One Can Cause PTSD

As I was watching a Facebook video on my phone about this young child having this rare disease that left her hospitalized all the time, I found myself in another world---in my own archives stashed behind my mind that I never really noticed was there. I heard the sounds of her machines that were supplying her with medication as well as keeping her vitals. It was a constant 5 second low beeping sound. My mind automatically took me back to when I was sitting with mom. Her face drooping on one side from an apparent stroke we had no clue about. Her body looked so uncomfortable, as they kept trying to prop her up as if she was alive and well. But that beeping noise. As the video finished, my flashback to that day wasn't done. Telling Mom my goodbyes, and how I loved her so much....I wasn't done. Playing with her hair and holding her lifeless hand...I wasn't done. Hoping she'd open up her eyes and miraculously, telling me that she feels better for some reason...I wasn't done. Flashbacks, and more flashbacks came rushing into my mind, until I was paralyzed with anxiety and debilitating grief.

As I went to sleep, I dreamt about my mother and I being together again. When I woke up 10 hours later in the guest bedroom, I realized it was 7am and I had to get up. She was fresh on my mind. I only intended to sit in the guest bedroom to grieve for a little while, not to sleep there all night. But something took over, where God comforted me in a way no other person could do. If you know me at all, you know that my sleeping habits are terrible. I either go to bed at 4 am or I wake up every hour. This was a straight through nonstop sleep---the type of sleep I used to get when I was a child.

You Got This

The one thing I never want to do is to burden others with my ongoing bereavement. God is truly the only one I go to when I'm grieving or need to talk. He either gives me messages of clarity or simply just comforts me in ways the human mind cannot even fathom. When I write about my grief, it's not to complain or whine or to vent---it's so that maybe someone out there who is grieving as well may find some relief in what I've found. And the one thing I've found that is the most consistent thing in my life is God's continual comfort and love. It's so true---He won't give you anything you can't handle.

"No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it." --1 Corinthians 10:13

The 'weak' moments seem unbearable, as well as developing the patience for God to protect you from the overwhelming sadness, but it's something you have to go through. It's a process of purging and healing, purging and healing...and little by little, with more purging, there is more healing. Once you feel that sense that something within you had died exactly when your loved one died, you'll start to feel this sense of aliveness---this raw and unadulterated energy surging through your entire being. Perhaps it's more of a connectedness, or a spiritual awakening that lets you know that your loved one isn't too far away. Sometimes, people develop spiritual gifts that can help them through their journey with bereavement. Some may dream of their loved ones, while others can actually hear and sometimes feel their presence. This is something to be careful about, because remember, there are such things as "familiar spirits" ---demons trying to mimic your loved ones so that you'll keep returning back again and again. You'll know the difference---you'll feel the difference. In the Bible, it tells you to "test the spirits" to see if they're from God. Once you do---the familiar spirits will vanish. You didn't entertain them by noticing or engaging them.

Relying On Mediums to Contact Your Loved Ones? 

Stop trying to contact your loved ones through mediums and other sources, especially Ouija boards. That's a phone call to hell. I fell into these traps a long time ago when my Dad passed away back in 2012. I went to this psychic in Provincetown, MA. It was a tiny little basement shop that he had going on, where some man in an Elvis-like suit came out to greet me. He took me behind the beaded curtain to a table that had little candles and a bunch of Tarot cards placed in the corner. This man told me things he couldn't have possibly known. He was spot on and I even felt this sensation of hope! I started to tear up with happiness, but to only realize, that the only messages I was receiving were all from familiar spirits. The devil is extremely intelligent and knows every single detail about your life, even the little locket you have tucked away in your left pocket. They reel you in by telling you things that will amaze you---but it's all magic---literally magic. Black magic. It's all used to lure you into a world that you may not be able to get out of. It can open portals that may not be able to close again, so you want to be more cautious in your weakest moments.

Grief Support Groups Can Do More Harm

In my experience, grief support groups can do more harm, because it's triggering most of the time. By hearing other people's stories, you can develop the same level of sadness, or "think" you "should" be at their level of sadness, when in fact, grieving is a personal and individual journey. The one thing I really noticed about being apart of a grief support group was that I was absorbing so much sadness in one spot. There's something to be said for being around people who are carrying heavy burdens. It's good to reach out and help others while they're suffering, but while you are suffering, it would be more beneficial to surround yourself with those who are veterans of grief, or at least, more positive about their outlook on everything. The best source of help besides going to God, is to see a grief counselor, or a therapist who can get you through your worst days. They can show you coping mechanisms that'll help you with your process. I always felt this heaviness every time I walked out of a grief support group. Call me an empath or maybe I just absorb too much---it was all too consuming. The negative energy had rubbed off of me and I became more depressed walking out of there than I did walking into the group. This is just my experience. Some people have had positive ones, so take this with a grain of salt.

Stages of Grief

Boloney! There is no such thing as the "stages of grief." There is no levels to which a person goes through the same thing as someone else. Yes, we will feel denial at some point, and even anger, but to tell people that level 1 is this...and level 2 is that....is utter b.s. in my personal opinion. I didn't reach the "set" stages of grief. I felt some of them, while others I felt nothing at all. I was never in denial---ever. I saw my mom die and yes it happened. There was no thoughts of, "She didn't die!" If they're talking about 'denial of grief'---utter b.s. as well. I'm so sick and tired of hearing about the "stages of grief." It's like the 12 step program for alcoholics. I don't believe in it, while many do. It's convoluted with "should bes" and "never should bes" ----it's a messy and complicated way to try and help you recover. My suggestion is: feel every emotion you can. Purge it out. Cry it out. Talk it out with a professional and most of all, go to God with everything! I mean, every single little inkling or feeling you may be experiencing.



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, October 03, 2019

Words Are More Powerful Than You Think

Every single day is a gift. Some of us realize it, while others just can't see past the fog. Depending on what you're going through, that "gift" can feel more like a burden, so we start resenting it---leaving a sense of ungratefulness. We may not even notice that we woke up with air in our lungs, a roof over our heads, a bed to sleep in, and food in the fridge. We forget to even thank God for waking up at all. We trudge through the day in this mundane shuffle of everyday routines, and think to ourselves, "What is it all for?" Sometimes, if I'm in a real bad funk, I'll ask, "What's my purpose? Why am I even here?" There are some days when I can't even move due to my fibromyalgia. I had really bad flare ups these past two days or so. It usually happens when cold air meets the warm air, or if a weather system like rain is moving in. In other words---I'm old. Even though I sometimes get depressed about it, because I know it's not going to be a very productive day, I try my hardest to stay in the present moment and to enjoy whatever it is I'm doing. I don't want to be in this constant state of  'waiting.' As Eckhart Tolle stated, whenever you're waiting for something, or just getting impatient with the time it takes to get from point A. to point B., just saying, "I'm OK, I'm just 'in' joy' in' 'myself.'" I'm trying to adapt this attitude myself. I find myself impatient with how long it's been taking me to finally adjust to my new home, and to be temporarily without an office right now. But instead of complaining about it---because to complain is to remain---I list a bunch of things for which I'm grateful for. I write out only the pros. Get rid of the cons. It won't do you any good to go over those.

You're Somebody's Answer

Although I tend to ask God, "What's my purpose here," I always find another example of why I should be where I am at this very moment. As soon as I start asking those questions, I'll either get an email or a direct message on one of my social media platforms telling me how much my articles have helped them. I never know who's reading my stuff, so I'm grateful when I get an email stating, "Hey, I know I never comment, but I've been reading your blog for years, and today it really hit home for me. This really helped, thank you." That to me, is the best feeling in the world. Knowing that through my own past and current struggles, that it may be of help to somebody else---that's golden. Think about what you do on a daily basis. In what way do you feel you may be helping somebody? Even just sharing your struggle with someone is helping. It shows that the person who is also struggling feels less alone in their daily battles. The reason why I'm so open about my 'issues' on this blog, is because there is such a stigma when it comes to mental health issues. I love to share what I'm going through, but to also tell them what may have helped me during that time. And sometimes, just sharing it alone is help enough. Your testimony can be somebody's inspiration and motivation. Never think that what you go through is not good enough to share, or perhaps you feel it's too embarrassing to share. People want to hear that kind of stuff because we all share some kind of embarrassing struggle from time to time. Please remember, that you are NOT weak for having anxiety or depression. You are NOT weak if all you can do is just get out of bed and shower. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Because as you continue to move through your own journey, you'll be able to relate more to people and tell them how you succeeded.

Watch Your Mouth

Words have power. Whatever you say can manifest in many ways. Things like, "I just can't do this anymore," (one that I am guilty of saying) or "This is killing me," and "My anxiety--my pain--my depression," ---they're not yours to own. Just as if someone says, "I'm fat." No. You're not fat. You may have fat, but you are not fat. Don't label yourself with these tags. Don't claim your anxiety or depression. Don't say "my"---just say, "I feel anxious," or "the anxiety is overwhelming." Claiming an illness of any kind sets a tone for owning it. I'm learning that self-dialogue is just as important as how someone else speaks to you. You'd want someone to respect you when they communicate with you, so why not expect the same for yourself? I listen to a lot of Joyce Meyer when I'm getting ready in the morning. One of the things I heard her suggest was telling yourself, "Something good is going to happen to me today! And something good is going to happen through me today!" Another one of my favorites is, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me!" I say that about three times when I'm feeling overwhelmed.

“Words can strengthen the weak, words can rejuvenate the meek - words can breathe life into the dead, words can unite the divided - words can bring smile on the face of the unfortunate, words can encourage the hearts of the desperate – words can alleviate the anguish of humanity, words can sow the seeds of serenity.” ― Abhijit Naskar

Proverbs 15: 1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but hard words stir up anger.”

Proverbs 15:4 “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

Proverbs 16:24 “Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

So whaddya say? How will you speak to yourself today? How will you speak to others around you today?  You can uplift and edify someone, as well as tear them down into tiny shards of broken glass. It's all up to you.

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, October 02, 2019

Undeserved Forgiveness: Does It Exist?

Many people are diagnosed with PTSD. But some people have also been misdiagnosed with it. I know I was to an extent. When I learned what PTSD actually was by a series of questions my therapist asked, we both realized that I wasn't the one with PTSD--my parents were. One of the questions were, "Do you constantly have flashbacks of the day when your parents were arrested in your home when you were sixteen years old?"

No.

I mean, I think about it from time to time, but what I think about most is how all of us became closer and supported one another during the process. We stuck together through it all like a true family. There was forgiveness and healing after everything was said and done. If you click here, you can read up on the details of that dreaded day. In short, my parents home was raided by the FBI for a number of reasons, which is listed in that article.  Was I upset? Of course. But this was my parents' trauma---not mine. I mean, thinking that you're going to lose your parents because they're going to a federal pen is pretty traumatic. Seeing a ton of FBI agents with assault rifles pointed at your home is pretty scary---but I wouldn't call it as traumatic as someone living in an abusive household. I looked at the bigger picture. It could have been much much worse. I could've been in a real shady household, being physically and verbally beaten or sexually abused. I wasn't. When I think back on my childhood, all I can ever remember is all of the happiness, comfort and safety. I think about the togetherness, having three amazing siblings to spend my life with.

On that same day our home was getting raided, and my property was being dug up 30 ft deep for "missing bodies" (which turned out to be a lie) I thought to myself, "All these years my parents' punished me, and yet they're doing something 100 x's worse!" But I loved them. They were my everything. So, I forgave them. I realized how human they were. All of my siblings forgave my parents too. We were truly all best friends. Nobody could do any wrong in our eyes. We can 'see' the wrong, but we can also move past it.

By not forgiving someone, you are possibly enabling your own PTSD by keeping a record of wrongs. Depending on what took place in your life, if it is something that you can pardon, it'll not only benefit the person who needs forgiveness, but it will relieve your heart and after some time, your mind will start to erase the memories more and more, to where you no longer have "flashbacks." When they say to "forgive and forget"---I believe that once you forgive first, your mind and heart starts to think less of it, which leads to forgetting. We may keep an archive file in the back of our minds, and take it out from time to time, but that file won't jump out unexpectedly. You have to literally pick it out of that folder you have tucked away.

I've heard that in order to forgive, you must always remember the offense so that it doesn't happen again. I disagree with this. I mean, yes we can all learn from something that has happened to us, but why aren't we giving ourselves permission to move on from it? I know quite a few people (writers/authors) who talk about PTSD and dealing with people who have hurt you in the past. They even give detailed descriptions of certain traits of people to stay away from. I think each person is so individual---how can you peg them for doing something another person did? That's why many people don't trust anyone anymore. They were hurt by someone they loved, whether a spouse, an ex, or a family member, and they use that very experience and purge it all on the next person to come into their lives. It becomes more about misplaced anger.

Here's my motto. Give the benefit of the doubt, until the day you can't anymore. Then if need be, walk away from that person. See, forgiveness doesn't necessarily mean reconciliation. It means moving forward, for both parties involved. One of my favorite sayings is, "Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die." That person probably doesn't even know that you're still seething over past arguments, and most likely, enjoying their lives while you're home complaining about them. You're letting them stay in your head rent-free.

"Well that's just too big of a thing to forgive."

In a schoolhouse shooting years ago in the Amish community of Pennsylvania, the people had forgiven the killer and his family. News of the instant forgiveness stunned the outside world–-almost as much as the incident itself did. Many pundits lauded the Amish, but others worried that hasty forgiveness was emotionally unhealthy. As a father who lost a daughter in the schoolhouse said, "Forgiveness means giving up the right to revenge." --you can read more about that story here.

Forgiveness is purging your hurt and pain. It's not "bottling up your emotions" ---bitterness will do that. Everything can be forgivable whether you believe that or not.

“Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?’ ‘No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!’” (Matthew 18:21-22 NLT).

Forgiveness can be very difficult for some people to do. It puts the seed of revenge in your heart. When you don't forgive someone for their faults or actions, you start to imagine revengeful things, even if it's as small as snubbing that person at work. You're harboring resentment. You're the one suffering with this heaviness, while the other person may not even know what's going on. I remember talking to my friend last year about this. She wasn't able to forgive her ex, (now friend) for moving on and dating again. She explained to me that she can figuratively kill someone with her words. She literally said, "I don't use violence, I can destroy someone with mere words. I can point their weaknesses out and use it against them." For me, it sounded like a whole lot of emotional work and a heavy burden to bear. Wouldn't it be easier to realize the situation for what it is, and forgive it and then move on?

When someone is insecure about themselves, it usually shows up in other ways. When you hurt or wrong them in whatever way, it validates why they are insecure in the first place, leaving them to feel too vulnerable and betrayed beyond belief. We all get betrayed from time to time, but many people fall upon playing the victim. For me, when I see the character of a person (including myself here) I look for how they (or I) respond. Do they tend to get violent and revengeful or are they more understanding and forgiving? When I hear someone say how they can easily rip someone a new fanny, I kinda start wondering how much hurt they have stored up in their heart. Maybe it's time to release it all and give it to God. I used to do the same thing, and I know how painful it was. This doesn't mean that you need to be a 'pushover' with zero backbone---it means that you can put yourself into someone else's shoes and see the situation from the outside.

How do you think I made it to 26 years with my wife? She forgave me a million and one times, ha... On both parts, we both forgave each other for whatever it was we were upset over. Back in the olden days, forgiveness was used a whole lot more, which is why so many couples stayed together. Today? You're lucky if you made it past 6 months. With all of these 'pseudo gurus' writing books on narcissism and how to "fight back" are going against what God even said in the first place. It's stating to not forgive the offender. Again, you do not have to reconcile, but forgiveness works in both parts: for you and for the offender. And if you don't want to wish someone well who has hurt you, then you are 'of this world' according to the Bible. But it works! I wouldn't be writing this if it doesn't work. Jesus said to LOVE YOUR ENEMIES.

"Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future." --Lewis Boese

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. --Matthew 6:14-15

If you're holding resentment or bitterness for someone, try letting it go and forgive them. Envision what it's like to live their lives and to experience all of their struggles. We all have a cross to bear, which is why we should be more forgiving, more understanding, more compassionate---everything that 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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, September 30, 2019

Fear Is a Liar

Anxiety is a tricky animal, and comes in all species, whether it's through headaches, chest pain, rapid heart rate or hyperventilation, etc. It can come on suddenly, or in a torturous gradual incline. No matter what the symptom is, many people can develop what's called "health anxiety" (the non-PC term is hypochondria.) Some may develop agoraphobia---an avoidance of places like big supermarkets, crowds, or in some extreme cases, to even step foot out of their own home. If you think about what anxiety is, it's pretty silly, isn't it? I mean, what are we 'fearing?' What are we so afraid of? It literally doesn't make sense at all. And maybe I've watched too many court shows, but as Judge Judy would say, "If it doesn't make sense, then it's a LIE."

Fear Is a liar.

Zach Williams wrote a song called, "Fear Is a Liar." If you can't view the video below, please click here to view this on Youtube.


"Fear, he is a liar. He will take your breath, stop you in your steps. Fear he is a liar. He will rob your rest, steal your happiness. Cast your fear in the fire 'cause fear....he is a liar."

Why do we keep believing these lies? Everything we conjure up in our minds such as, "I'm gonna die of a heart attack," or when you're standing in a long line at the supermarket and think, "I'm gonna pass out if I don't get out of here!" Thing is, the things we think that will happen to us, usually don't. It's not to say to ignore health issues, but if you suffer with anxiety, to remember that fact, as well as to determine ways to know that you are safe. People like us, we have a frig'd up 'fight or flight' adrenaline rush, so we freak out as if things are actually happen, and there's nothing happening.

So if you have anxiety, especially health anxiety or agoraphobia, here are some things that have really helped me bring reality into the situation.

Think You're Having a Heart Attack? 

If you are having chest pain and think you need to go to the ER, wait for a moment. Determine if it really is a heart attack first. An EMT explained to me that if you move your arms around, or twist your body around, where it recreates the pain in your chest, then it is muscle/skeletal only. It is not of any concern. Take some ibuprofen. Some people suffer from what's called "costochondritis" which is a really painful and scary symptom to have. Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage in the rib cage. The condition usually affects the cartilage where the upper ribs attach to the breastbone, or sternum, an area known as the costosternal joint or costosternal junction. Chest pain caused by costochondritis can range from mild to severe. There's also what's called "referred pain." This pain that stems from your chest, collar bone or shoulder can radiate down your arms, and if it happens to be the left arm, just know that the pain you are feeling is muscle skeletal. But if it is a dull, heavy pain in the middle of your chest that does not go away with movement or any method you use, then seek out medical attention. I know women can get different and subtle symptoms, like heartburn and a pain in the middle of the back or sore arms, but these things are so fleeting and rare, that it can mess with your head. If you're that concerned, have a full work up done, and when they tell you that your heart is strong and healthy, then know that your heartburn is from the burrito you had last night and the pain in your back is from being slumped over your computer for 8+ hours.

Are You Afraid to Get Out of the House or Go Shopping at the Grocery Store? 
This advice was given to me by a seminar speaker regarding anxiety. Where do you think the most "dangerous" place to be is? What place will hide the fact that you need medical attention if you can reach out for it? ...Your own home. Now, I'm not trying to freak people out about staying home alone, but it's a fact that you are much safer out there in the world than you are in your own home. If you are in the grocery store and need medical attention, people will call for help in an instant. If you're in traffic and need help, pull over. You have people all around you. So, we should adapt to this mindset that it's much safer in a grocery store than it is at home. This is what helped me when I had a case of agoraphobia. Another helpful thing was CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.) I was taught to drive down my road and back home again. If nothing bad happened, then drive a little further. Go to the gas station and get a few dollars worth of gas just to challenge yourself. Play some of your favorite music while you're driving too. Always know, you can always turn around and go back. Keep telling yourself that. Visualize yourself succeeding and enjoying your time out there in the world. Even if you're like me, work from home and a bit of a homebody, you won't have fear to make it out to the store if you need to. You won't decline innovations to parties because you feel "unsafe." It changed my life.

Advice From Someone Who Also Still Suffers With Anxiety is the Best Advice

Why? Because it comes from a genuine empathetic heart. It comes from trial and error. It comes from someone who can truly understand what you're going through, instead of flipping through some psychology text book. It's like an AA director who never touched alcohol in their life. They can't understand as well as somebody who has been there. I've gotten so much advice regarding my anxiety and how to cope with the symptoms. I remember being rushed to the ER, and after the tests were completed, my nurse said to me, "I get them all the time too. Even though focusing on your breathing and trying to ground yourself is all well and fine, try distraction too. Start cooking or doing one of your hobbies you enjoy. Make yourself busy so that your mind forgets the negative chatter." It truly works most of the time, but when the panic attack is really bad, I have to sit and start grounding myself, using meditative soothing music or guided meditations from a Youtube video. Nonetheless, distraction is another great way to forget about the lies going on in your mind.

My Go-To Remedy: GOD

When I wake up with a heart rate of 150 bpm and I can't seem to catch a breath, I turn to God. I talk to Him about everything. Prayer and meditation has been a great tool to beat the agony of anxiety, depression and especially grief. Studies show that those who had faith in God were more likely to recover from losing a loved one than those who had little to no faith. The same goes with anxiety. As soon as I start praying, maybe saying a few biblical passages aloud, the atmosphere changes. When it seems like it's not working, don't give up. That's what the devil wants you to do. "Oh it's not working so I'm gonna just skip this step." Don't. Give it another chance. Calm your mind, take a deep breath and if all you can say is, "JESUS"---all of the heavens can hear you. I truly believe this. And there are going to be times when you just don't have it in you to pray, that's when the Holy Spirit intercedes. In Romans 8:26, it states, "And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words."

How beautiful is that?

Keep in mind that God sees our suffering, and He will help you if you have faith---if you *believe* it even before you pray for it. Don't think our God isn't a God of testing. He will test your faith, so be ready for it.

"Be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold---and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." ---1 Peter 1:6-7

I also want to thank some of my new readers for reaching out and letting me know how much my articles have helped them. This is why I write. I want you to know that you're not alone. If you ever need to reach out, please do not hesitate to contact me. My contact form is on the right side of this blog. I also can be reached at any of my social media sites: Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

I hope you feel better. Let's make today a GOOD day!

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, September 27, 2019

God's Timing is Always Perfect

Going through any major life change can be daunting. Whether you've recently been through a breakup or divorce, have recently gotten married, or maybe a loved one just passed away, you may be experiencing the pangs of transitioning. Even if you lost your job or moved from one home to another, all of this affects our mental health and the ability to function one way or another. All of these things are considered "big life events." It affects your entire life: your atmosphere, the way you look at life, a possible change in the people around you, and even changes to in own health. I remember discussing the "7 year itch" with my mother a few years back. It wasn't just for relationships. Every 7 years, we change. Our bodies change. Our allergies change. Even our taste buds change, which is why we start loving one food as opposed to another type of food we used to enjoy. Think back 7 years ago. What was different in your life? What did you eat back then that you wouldn't eat today? Or who was in your life 7 years ago that isn't present in your life right now? There's a growth transition in the 7 year mark that makes us who we are today. So if you have gotten past the already known "7 year itch" with your spouse, then you should be okay. (We hope.)  Sometimes, a couple goes through a phase where their goals and direction in life changes. They no longer want the same things in life they used to dream of. One person may be left with the same dream, while the other person has a new outlook on life. And so, they may grow apart if there is no compromise. If they're not honest enough and fail to communicate, it'll come out in some way or another.

Looking Back 7 Years 

If you ask me where my mindset was 7 years ago, my wife and I were helping my mom after she lost her husband of almost 60 years. I was afraid for her health since she was so exhausted from hospital trips, caring for dad and overall caregiving fatigue and eventually, grief. She never cried in front of us, but sometimes I'd knock on her door to give her breakfast in bed, and she'd be lying down watching the morning news with a pile of Kleenex on her bed. I'd clean up her tissues and give her coffee. Lola would jump onto her bed and lay next to her, as if she knew something wasn't right. Mom would always say, "Ever have one of those mornings when you feel depressed?" I would tell her that it's healthy to grieve and of course you're going to feel depressed for some time. She shook her head, as if in denial of her own grief, perhaps to protect herself emotionally and then say, "No, I just feel depressed." And I'd say, "Okay ma, whatever I can do," and passed her the bacon and eggs breakfast the way Dad used to make it. She loved that kind of breakfast more than eating dinner. She loved having bacon and eggs for dinner sometimes. Typical New Yorker. It usually cheered her up, and then moments later, I would get a call in my office, "That was the best breakfast ever, Debbie! Thank you so much!" And I could hear the increase of happiness in her voice. That was 7 years ago. She was my life. Even during the day, when I felt she was in her dark bedroom for way too long, I'd slip in with my dog Lola who she loved so much, and say, "Hey, I need some sun, wanna go to the park with us?" And she'd smile and would take a minute to decide, then slowly would say, "Okay!" We'd go to the park and sit next to the ponds to watch Lola chase the geese around. When we found out Mom had cancer, my entire life came to a halt. I was having anticipatory grief while grieving over my father. It was too much. That was my "7 year transition."

I honestly never thought I'd see a life without both my parents in it. I never thought for one second that I would see my mother suffer, or even die for that matter. She was my 'go-to' therapist, my early bird dinner date, my best friend, my comforter, my martini with extra olives teammate. We would go to the bar to have dinner and drinks, and they'd even set up a footstool in order to get her onto the bar stool. It was so cute. All the bartenders loved her. Some of the older gentlemen did too. She kept calling this one man, "Norm" all the time, when in fact his name was Bruce. He was okay with it though. We would laugh until we cried. She would tell me stories of her past, and even if I heard it a million and one times, I wanted to hear it again. I never said, "Ma, you already told me this!" Because I really didn't know if she was forgetting, or if she just wanted to reminisce again. Any of it was okay by me. Sometimes, I'd ask her to repeat a story, just so it would stimulate her long-term memory---and she was overjoyed whenever you asked her about her childhood living in Brooklyn, NY. She loved talking about herself and her past, and besides, if you have ever listened to an elderly person talk about the 'good ol' days' ---trust me, it's much better than hearing a millennial talk about theirs.


What Happens Inside the Cocoon? 

A transitional period can be very exciting, traumatic, and sad all at the same time.  It depends on what it is. For me, my transitional period can only be described as a complete metamorphosis. Much like the caterpillar cocooning for its final transition, it may look like nothing is going on, but big changes are happening inside. Special cells that were present in the larva are now growing rapidly. But if you were to remove the caterpillar before this huge transitional period, it would fall out and die. So the pressing and waiting needs to happen before God can present a new life---a new chapter. For the two years following my mom's passing, I was that cocoon, praying for God to remove me from this situation, to take away my loneliness and isolation. In my "prayer and answer" book, He gave me a message that said, "Just endure a little while longer." His timing is always perfect, but my patience however was not. This period of time, I dedicated to God. I would spend two or more hours praying and meditating, studying the Bible and memorizing passages from Psalms, as well as learning more about Jesus and all of His promises. If it wasn't for this transitional period of isolation, I wouldn't be here right now. I used to be sick all the time with bronchitis and asthma, taking tons of stimulants like albuterol inhalers, steroids and nebulizers. Even my voice shut down when I got that sick---(I think many people were thankful for that part.) And today, He has blessed me with health, to the point where I never need my inhaler or need to grab the nebulizer because I'm wheezing up a storm. It's as if He took my asthma away. He gave me new lungs. I give Him all the credit.

Would you want to be where you were 7 years ago? Or are you grateful for where you are right now? Each stage of life isn't going to be perfect. But it's learning to thank God in the midst of chaos. It's learning to praise Him in the storms. I always say, I'm not where I wanna be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be. And it doesn't mean that I still don't wish my parents were back here with me, it just means the agony and pain that my family and I suffered is leveling out somewhat. The waves of grief come and go, and that's a normal process of grief in itself. As humans, we are never going to have the "perfect life." It's accepting all of the imperfections that come with life. It's testing your strength and endurance to push through the fog---praying for the mighty inner strength of God to help you through it all.

Are You Dependent Enough?

Independence is somewhat a negative word when it comes to relying on God. God wants you to be solely dependent on Him. And that's what I did. I trusted in God and in my heart, I knew He would take care of everything in His own timing. I never in a million years thought that I could've purchased a home here in New York. It just wasn't possible from the homes I've seen. We were looking at places near Maryland and even flirting with moving to the south due to the cost. But God saw it differently. Everything is possible with God. He made a way to fulfill not only my request, but my mom's request. She always said, "Debbie, please buy a townhouse where you don't have to worry about living up on this mountain in the winter." And a townhome I prayed for. I had doubts, but I believed God would place me in a much better situation....and He did. And even though I still may have a leg and arm stuck in my cocoon, my transitional period is almost here. It's okay if it takes more time than you expected.

"For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay." --Habakkuk 2:3

"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." --Isaiah 40:31

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" --Psalm 27:14

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." --Ecclesiastes 3:11

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, September 26, 2019

Matters of the Heart

It's always good to wake up with sunshine, a hot cup of coffee and a ton of hope after a rough patch. I've been experiencing increased anxiety lately, which was discouraging. I couldn't understand why in the world I would have a heart rate of 195 bpm. This started about 6 weeks ago. My heart would spin out of control and I was so confused. We had so much excitement with buying our new home, moving and settling in. The place is perfect for what I need it for. No more lawn care, no more getting stranded up on that mountain for days because plows couldn't even bust through the 5 ft snowdrifts. So why in the world would I be scared or anxious? I should be overjoyed and calmer than a clam here. It just didn't make sense. So in my little anxiety-ridden noggin, my first thoughts went to "It has to be something physically wrong with me." I had the case of "health anxiety"---another term for hypochondria. Guess they're getting a little more sensitive and PC about certain labels. It is what it is.

Is It Anxiety Or Something Physical? 

After a million and one tests---I mean, ever single test imaginable to rule out heart issues, hypothyroidism and menopause, I was left with educated guesses by all 5 of my doctors. Yep, you read that correctly. What I want to share with you is very personal. Since my anxiety has quadrupled this past few months, there are days when I literally cannot drive---wait let's get honest---should not drive. My heart rate has gotten to the point where I have passed out twice on two separate occasions. It was concerning for my doctors, so a while ago, they sent me to the ER to get my head checked (in various ways.) Clean bill of health, thank you God. But the days when it gets really bad for me, I have what's called a mental health peer. I have a gentleman who comes over to either talk with me if I'm having a crisis, or he will drive me to doctor appointments, therapy appointments and even sit and wait for me while I'm in the ER (if I have to go.) It's a free service that the state pays for in order to help those who are suffering with any debilitating condition. Anxiety is a "condition" just as any other disability.

Yesterday afternoon, after my peer dropped me off after a doctor's follow up, I came home feeling really down. And what I realized was, I haven't really cried since I moved here. I haven't prayed as dedicated as I used to. I haven't purged my feelings at all. I thought that if I did, maybe my wife would think I was unhappy here---which is totally not the case. So I remained calm, thinking that's how I should be. If I lose control over my emotions, then my heart rate will sky rocket and I'll be a mess. That was my mistake.

Cry It Out!

When I got home, I grabbed some cold water and Kleenex and had a good cry. I let it all out. It was cathartic. I prayed and prayed, while tears were streaming down my cheek. "Why am I so anxious? Why can't I live my life like I wanted to?" All these questions that I was asking God had an answer. Minutes after my long crying session, my heart rate went from 140 down to 80....and after that, finally back down to my normal resting rate which is always 70 bpm. I was literally stumped. This is what it takes to make me less anxious? I guess it's true when they say if you bottle up your emotions, it'll resurface in some way or another.

Why was I crying?

My therapist sat me down and said, "This entire move has triggered your bereavement. It's a natural process and huge adjustment." And when I thought back to last night, while picking up a beautiful picture we had hanging up in the old house, I started to get a lump in my throat, thinking, "I've stared at this picture while having breakfast every morning before work in my childhood home." I fought the tears, but they were really tough to hold back. So is there a link between my old house and the new house---meaning, am I "homesick?" Of course those "memories" on Facebook pop up, showing my house with the million dollar view. I never got sick of looking at it. It always had a different look to it with each hour---how the sun set on the mountains, or how the lake glistened in the midday sun, and it was truly amazing to see a storm rolling through the valleys beneath me. But I have to remember I was very sad there. It was where both mom and dad suffered the end of their lives there. Every stone, brick, piece of wood that held a room together had mom's face on it. Even the sight of the outside and grill had dad's smile on it. He always loved to grill and hang outside with us. Every corner of that house pulled on my heart so strong that I could no longer take it. This is why I moved.

My point: CRY it OUT. LET it OUT. Do not hold onto bottled up emotions. It's so unhealthy. I had no clue that's what I was doing. Crying also releases hormones that make us feel bad, which is why some people say, "Oh I had a good cry and feel better now." There's a science to it. As I sit here in the early hours on a Thursday morning, I am enjoying a huge cup of coffee and not feeling any of the negative effects. I went off it for a couple of days due to my rapid heart rate, and ended up with a huge migraine.

Unsolicited Advice

Having some sort of mental health issue like anxiety or depression, it can be frustrating when someone you love gives you advice. "You need the right medication," or "It's just anxiety, stop it!" These are things you should never say to someone who has anxiety. Yes, we know it's anxiety, but you can't go playing doctor with people who are suffering. I don't believe in antidepressants. It not only puts on weight for many people, but it numbs your empathetic part of your brain---making you less sensitive to the world. I don't want to walk around like a zombie not feeling every emotion. I don't want to 'turn off' my empathy or hesitate when someone else needs help. I'm not saying all people do that, but sometimes, these medications make you less aware, less sensitive--which is basically the whole point. I believe in natural remedies, therapy, CBT and CBD oils. I believe in natural remedies like oregano oils and magnesium to help regulate my anxiety symptoms. But if I'm having a panic attack, and rightfully so because I've been uprooted from my childhood home into a new surrounding, give me some slack. Don't tell me "You need to do this." or "You need to do that," unless it's natural or advice coming from a genuine heart. Some people get sick and tired of hearing about someone's anxiety. "Ugh, she had a panic attack again, she needs meds!" Now, I just don't tell anyone about my anxiety (except for you guys) and my doctors who help me. Sometimes unsolicited advice can be more harmful than a slap in the face.

When It Feels Like God Isn't Listening

When you feel hopeless, like nothing in the world is going to help anymore, remember that God is right there with you. I cried my eyes out, telling God, "I just give up! Please just take me home. I don't want to live this way." I felt Him all around me. I cried harder, as my heart rate slowed down. Then moments later, someone sent me this photo.

I have to keep in mind that God is in control. Whether or not it's my time to go, He is the one to decide. It's something we really shouldn't be afraid of if we have faith. He also put on a song with lyrics that said, "God isn't done with you," and then more tears came pouring out. As some of you know, I have a ton of notebooks that have my prayers on it, as well as all of God's answers on it. I plan on turning into a book soon. The answers are unlike anything I've experienced before. Throughout this entire process, He has been there for me. I prayed for what I have right now. He has given me something better, and I guess that comes with a little struggle---some growing pains---some patience and a lot of tears. But the tears don't mean that I'm sad about what I have, they're only shedding past emotions and heartfelt love for the blessings He gave me in the past. And now, it's a new chapter with new blessings. I can do all things through Christ---and I have to keep reminding myself. He's the great physician, He's my father, my friend, my Savior. So when fear straight up lies to you, just say, "Not today, Satan...not today." Resist the devil upon his onset and he will flee. New level, new devil. We are always going to experience some sort of conflict with any chapter of our lives. Life isn't perfect, or meant to be joy-joy-joy 24/7, or we wouldn't need God. And the struggles we face only make us stronger.

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that 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

"Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory." ---Psalm 50:15

"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if the earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!" ---Psalm 46:1-3

If you ever find yourself in a crisis and need to reach out, send me a message. I will send you resources that can truly help when you have no one else to turn to. Depending on where you live, some of these serves are absolutely free.

Please be kind to people, because you truly never know what they may be going through. Don't mock them for having anxiety or say that "it's all in your head," because that's hurtful. We already know it's our minds that are making us struggle. It's like telling someone, "Hey, you should lose weight,"---don't you think they already know that? It's redundant and unnecessary. Saying things people already know leads me to believe that the person saying it has ill intentions. I don't go for the 'tough love' tactic when somebody is truly hurting. I'm finding there's little to no compassion in this world. And when you do find someone who is just as compassionate as you are, hold onto them and thank God for bringing them into 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!

World Mental Health Day

It doesn't matter if you hide it well, or never tell a soul about your unraveled feelings you keep bottled up, the fact is, we all suf...