Just a thought…

Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. (Merriam-Webster)

I don’t think of myself as courageous. I’m not very adventurous, and definitely not a dare devil. But courage can be present on many different levels.

It can be jumping out of an airplane, climbing the highest summit, or swimming with sharks. Or fighting for one’s country, saving someone from a raging fire, or going on a mission trip to help the poor.

Courage can also mean:

Getting out of bed each morning, to face a day filled with hardships.

Standing up to a bully.

Fighting to receive the best medical care for your child.

Standing up for yourself.

Speaking out on matters that are important to you.

Leaving.

Staying.

We all have courage. How does this apply to me? How am I courageous? I’m doing my part, however small, to help end the stigma of mental health conditions.

I still don’t think of myself as courageous. I’m simply doing what I think is right and what I believe in. I’m sharing my experiences, in hopes of helping and encouraging others.

I suppose it does take some boldness to speak out, especially on a personal level. I’m in training with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I’ll be talking to high school students about raising awareness. I’m excited, but nervous. It’s out of my comfort zone.

But I’m attempting it anyway.

Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s the ability to act in the presence of fear.

 

First image courtesy of here

Second image courtesy of here

 

 

 

Piano Keys

My parents were over for dinner this past weekend. As they were leaving, my dad stopped near our baby grand.

“Do you know that soon I’ll be the same age as there are piano keys?” He paused. “Eighty eight.” He sounded proud. I smiled.

I was impressed he came up with that fact. We’ve had a piano since our girls were young, and I’ve never thought about counting the keys. I guess it’s something I should’ve just known.

“Wow, Dad. It’s hard to believe you’re going to be 88. Can’t wait to celebrate with you in a couple of weeks.”

That night I thought about the keys. Fifty two white and thirty six black. All there for a purpose. Each one is important. If one isn’t working or is out of tune, it changes the song. The keys work together, as a team, to create the perfect harmony. Like people.

I was surprised at how many ways piano keys can relate to our lives.

Some sound prettier than others. Some are loud, low, booming, and powerful. Others are light, tinkly, soft, and happy. On their own, they aren’t complete. But together, they make beautiful music.

Imagine being in a concert hall. The lights go down and the audience is silent. A soft spotlight beams on a pianist, alone on the stage sitting at a grand piano. The music starts slow and soft. Peaceful. It eventually gets louder and more dramatic. Peaking at an emotional level. It seems as if the pianist is unaware of the thousands of people watching. His body moves from side to side, his eyes closed. His head bobs up and down, as he feels the urgency of the melody. The confusion, the anger, the desperation. Toward the end of the song, the pianist relaxes and gently plays the final notes.

The audience erupts into applause. We’re grateful for the experience. We’re thankful the pianist shared his talent with us. We’re hopeful to feel like this again.

There are joyful, lighthearted songs and intense, bitter, and passionate ones. Some are brilliant, while others are not as profound. There are symphonies that make us dance, and others that make us cry.

Just like the days, weeks, months, and years of our lives. 

It amazes me that my dad will be 88-years-old. A piano key to represent each year. Played together, there’s no end to the beautiful music.

First image courtesy of here

Second image courtesy of here

Happy Birthday Dear Blo-o-og, Happy Birthday To You!

This time last year, I clicked the button to make my blog public. I’d had it private for almost four months, and didn’t know if it was ever going to be public.

The issue was privacy. The premise of my blog is how a mother with anxiety handles life when her child starts to have panic attacks.My daughter Talee wanted to be sure that her real name wasn’t used. I completely understood, and of course, would honor her request.

I’d heard of authors using a pen name, but had no idea how to deal with this situation. I didn’t want to feel like I wasn’t telling the truth. The whole point was to be open and honest. I wondered if any other bloggers wrote anonymously, and if so, how did they do it?

I read tons of blogs, searching for my answer. Thankfully, I found it. One woman wrote about her daughter who has autism, and used pseudonyms. I modeled some of the structure of my blog to hers.

I’d written about six posts while it was still private. I asked Talee (now in her early 20s), if she wanted to take a look at them, and she did. I sat next to her, as her eyes were fixed on the computer screen, reading stories about life when she was a little girl.

I was surprised by her response. Her eyes welled up and she couldn’t seem to stop the tears.

“Talee, why are you crying?”

“I didn’t realize this is how you felt when I was going through that. I never thought to think of it from your perspective, as a mom. It’s so sad.”

Talee told me she was proud of me, and that my stories could help others.  That was the turning point. She gave me her blessing, and that’s exactly what I needed.

And so it began. Private to public.

I hoped people would read, but didn’t expect much. I was intimidated. I wondered if what I had to say was important. Will anyone really care?  Soon I met amazing and supportive bloggers. They cheered me on and helped me grow as a writer, as a person, and as a mental health advocate.

When I look back on the posts I wrote this year, I see it as a form of a diary. Personal thoughts are documented, ideas I never dreamed I’d express.

Even though the names on my blog are fictional, the feelings and experiences are all mine. It’s important to me that readers get to know the real me, while I manage to keep my family’s anonymity.

I’m grateful to occupy a little space here on WordPress. I’m thankful to my fellow bloggers for reading, commenting, and encouraging me. I’m excited to see where this next year takes me!

First image courtesy of: See here

Second image courtesy of: See here

Award Time!

liebster award

Honestly, the title for this post should be “Better Late Than Never!” I’m almost embarrassed at how long it’s taken me to do this. I was nominated months ago for the Liebster Award by three lovely bloggers. I’m grateful to each one of them for nominating me. They are: Anxiety in NYC, Curious Queendom, and Raw Honesty. Please visit their amazing blogs!

It would take me way too long, and be much too overwhelming to answer each of their questions. So, I’ll take some questions from each of them and mix it up a bit! I’m also going to add more nominees than suggested.

The Rules:

  • Thank your nominator and tag them in your post(s).
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Nominate 11 blogs with less than 1000 followers.
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions and let them know on social media
My Questions:
1. Who do you write for? My first response is for me. But that’s not completely accurate. I write for those affected with mental health issues, in hopes of encouraging and inspiring them. If what I say resonates with people, that makes me so happy.
2. Why do you care about this particular audience? The most important thing to me is and always has been to know that I’m not alone. I’m not the only one dealing with these challenges. I used to think I was, and that was a very lonely place to be. I didn’t think anyone else could possibly feel the way I did when I had panic attacks. The symptoms are strange and scary, and hard to describe to someone who’s never had one. That’s why I kept my anxiety a secret for many years. I knew it wasn’t normal, and didn’t want to admit I had a problem. The more people who talk about anxiety and mental illness, the better. It really is time to end the stigma.
3. Your favorite way to relax? Reading a book at the beach. Or on a lounge chair in my backyard. With our lab sitting on the other lounge chair 😉
4. Any quote you try to live by? “Just Do It” by Nike.
5. Organized or messy? Organized. I have a problem focusing if everything is messy and out of place.
6. Do you follow politics? Not really, until this year’s Presidential election.
7. What is something you are looking forward to right now? Picking my daughter Talee up at the airport today, she was out of town with friends for spring break. There’s more… On Friday, I pick my sister up at the airport, and my daughter Mackenzie comes home! I’m hosting a big birthday celebration this weekend for my mom’s 80th! And Easter too.
8. What is something that always puts a smile on your face? Being with my husband. He always makes me laugh.
9. Favorite late night talk show host? Jimmy Fallon
10. Who is your biggest fan? My husband and daughters. And my parents.
11. What is one thing you struggle with when writing your blog? I always hope that other bloggers connect with what I write. But I think the main thing I struggle with is not having enough time to write and post more. I’m pulled in so many directions, with family and business obligations. I know everyone is. But boy, would I love to be able to devote a couple days a week to blogging, and nothing else!
My Nominees:
Courtney at A Girl Being Real
Jade at Jade Moore
J.B. Riebel at The Holistic Blue Guy
Nikki at A Kinder Way
Questions for My Nominees:
1. Why did you start your blog?
2. What book are you reading now and do you recommend it?
3. What does your favorite coffee or tea mug look like?
4. Do you prefer modern or traditional art?
5. Retail shopper or online shopper?
6. If you could do something really adventurous, and knew you’d be okay, what would it be?
7. What is the kindest compliment anyone can give you?
8. Are you athletic? Favorite sport?
9. What is your favorite quote?
10. How have other bloggers encouraged you?
11. Imagine a peaceful place. What does it look/feel like?
Thanks Everyone!
Take care,
Jenny

Awards, Wow! Thank You!

liebster awardI’m super excited and honored to have recently (ok, maybe not so recently… a couple months ago) been nominated for two awards from the fabulous B.G. at Getting Through Anxiety. This is one of my favorite blogs! It’s well written and inspirational. The posts are so honest, easy to connect with, and motivational. Please check it out!

The first is the Liebster Award…

Here are the rules:

  • Make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated me and include the Liebster Award sticker in the post.
  • Nominate 5-10 other bloggers and notify them of this in one of their posts.
  • All nominated bloggers are to have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer the 11 questions posed by your nominator and create 11 different questions for your nominees to answer.  Or, you can repeat the same questions.
  • Copy these rules into your post.

My nominees: (By the way, I know the rules say they should have less than 200 followers, but I don’t know how to check that. I see it on some blogs, not on others). Anyway, here are some really great blogs.  Stop by for a visit!

honeyjoys

Becoming Unstuck

Swimming Without the Manual

My Made-Up Hard Life

My Pink Champagne Life

Question Time! (My answers)

1.) If you could be in any magazine, which would you want to be in? People. No just kidding, maybe Time.

2.) What do you think is the most important blog topic you’ve ever written about? Why? I think the one titled Why Did I Get All the Bad Stuff. A lot of people seemed to relate to that post. It seems like everyone wonders why they got what they got, and have to deal with it.

3.) What made you decide to write your blog about what you write it on? I wanted to share my experiences with anxiety and panic attacks, hoping to motivate others. I’ve had panic disorder since I was a child, and my daughter, now 20 years old, started getting panic attacks when she was ten. We’ve been through really tough times, but now we’re both nearly panic free. We made it, and I want to inspire others. It will get better!

4.) What grade (year) in school was your favorite and why? Either 5th grade (I met one of my best friends that year) or high school (I was a cheerleader,  had a great time).

5.) What is your favorite movie and who is your favorite character in that movie? This is hard because I see a ton of movies! Maybe it’s because it’s November, but I’ve been wanting to watch one of my favorites, The Holiday. I like Kate Winslet’s character the best.

6.) Who is your favorite singer/band? I honestly don’t have a favorite. I love pop, country, rock. Josh Groban is one of my favorites. Also Carrie Underwood. There are so many more I like, I can’t narrow this down.

7.) What character in a show or movie best describes you? Hmm. Maybe Katharine McPhee’s character on the TV show Scorpion. She tries to keep the Scorpion group together by sharing her reason and logic. She keeps the group grounded, and she’s a mom too.

8.) What’s your favorite type of car? I’d like to have a BMW convertible.

9.) Who’s your favorite author? I really don’t know. I read a lot. The books I love often take place in a different country, and I like to learn about different cultures.

10.) Who is your least favorite famous person? Probably Miley Cyrus. And I get really tired of the Kardashians.

11.) What is the last CD you bought? It’s been so long, I don’t even know.

Now for my questions for you:

  1. How did you come up with your blog name?
  2. Do you wear silver or gold?
  3. Describe your personality in terms of shoes… high heels, tennis shoes, sandals…
  4. Who is your biggest inspiration?
  5. What is the last picture you took with your phone?
  6. What is your greatest achievement?
  7. Are you a cat or dog person?
  8. Coffee or tea?
  9. Online shopping or going to the mall?
  10. What is your favorite food to cook?
  11. Why do you blog?

_____________________________________________________________________________________

versatile blogger awardHere’s the second one — The Versatile Blogger Award! Again, thanks so much to B.G. at Getting Through Anxiety, for nominating me! B.G. has an awesome blog, check it out!

Here we go….

The rules:
•Thank the person who gave you this award and include a link to his or her blog.
•Select fifteen (15) blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered and/or follow regularly. (Choose blogs you find excellent!)
•Nominate those fifteen (15) bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award, including a link to the original VBA site.
•Notify your nominations!
•Finally, don’t forget to tell the person who nominated you seven (7) things about yourself.

The nominees:

A Little Bit of Everything

Blessings and Vanilla Latte

We Called Him Lucky

Gentle Kindness

Sandycademy

Tales in Anxiety

My Year of Starting Over

Tony Burgess

Bridgette’s Digits

Mind Your Wings

paininzeeback

The Secret Diary of a Computer Science Student

broken fingernails

From Crazy, With Love

Svegliati Cara

Facts About Myself:

  1. I love coffee stores! I feel immediately relaxed when I walk in and smell the coffee. I’ve often thought I should work at Starbucks or Coffee Bean.
  2. I never buy really high heels, I’d break my ankle if I wore them!I’m more of a flats or low heeled boot kind of girl.
  3. I love to be organized, have everything in its place.
  4. I have two sisters, and we’re very close.
  5. I’ve known my husband since I was 14. Didn’t start dating until I was 22.
  6. I’m terrible at snow skiing. I love the beauty of the snow, but don’t like to ski.
  7. I was a ballet dancer when I was young.  At that time, I dreamed of being a prima ballerina!

Blogger Recognition Award!

blogger-recognition-award

Recently two fabulous bloggers nominated me for this award. Thank you so, so much to  Leslie and Amina Berg. I sincerely appreciate the nominations! Please check out their wonderful blogs.

Here we go…

‘Blogger Recognition’ Award Rules:
1. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.

2. Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog. List who you’ve nominated in the post. Make sure to also attach the award itself! (You can do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).

3. Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them. Provide a link to the award post you created.

Why I started blogging…

I felt like I had a story to tell.  And I love to write. I wanted to document my journey recovering from panic disorder. I hoped that along the way, I could help someone who is going through anxiety and/or suffering panic attacks.

I know firsthand how awful it can be, since I’ve had panic attacks since I was a child. I’ve also been there as a support person, helping my daughter deal with severe panic attacks. We both are nearly anxiety free, and I’m grateful for that every day.

My hope is to inspire and motivate those on the path to recovery from mental illness. It’s a difficult road. And it’s not meant to travel alone.

Advice to new bloggers…

Well, I’m a relatively new blogger, so I feel like I need advice, not give it 😉

Everyone’s story is unique and adds something to this world. You never know for sure what’s going to resonate with others. But if you’re true to yourself and honest, you’ll connect. I love how  Leslie phrased it, “Keep your blog for you and then followers will be a pleasant side-effect instead of something you are looking to for validation.”

What surprised me at first was how supportive this blog community is. I didn’t know what to expect. But the warm welcome I’ve received has exceeded all my expectations. I’ve met such wonderful people! So, thank you!

Now for my nominations… Please check out these amazing blogs from these lovely people.

My nominations…

grahammiranda13              tracihalpin              rachelgriffin22       bipolarwhispers

Claire          Andi             Shirley’s Heaven            Once Upon A Hot Flash!

#forevershannon            myocdvoice             rialaa        Gentle Kindness

NickyB.            Skydreamer          Lauren Hayley