It was December 6th, 2007. I sat alone in my car in the parking lot of a random church somewhere in the north end of Regina, SK. I had been invited to a show by an acquaintance who was playing in the headlining band that evening. My anxiety was high. In fact, it was a miracle that I’d made it this far. But the thought of walking through the door of that building—alone, into a room full of strangers where I would MAYBE hang out with this guy from a rock band, who I barely knew and who was undoubtedly way cooler than me—was almost completely debilitating. I wanted to go in. I knew I should go in. But I was terrified.
I called a friend, looking for the reassurance I needed just to get me to open my door and step outside. I don’t remember what she said, but whatever it was, it must have worked. Because somehow I mustered up the courage to walk into the venue that night. I was scared. It was awkward. I knew no one. But that night changed my life.
I had been living with an eating disorder for seven years. My life was an unqualified mess, laden with addictions, anxiety and depression. But that night, in the basement of this random church, I did something brave. I opened up. The lead guitarist from Kiros, Ryan—who had invited me to the show—sat and listened to me for hours. He asked me questions. He shared his story with me. He told me the reason that he had hope, and he gave me a picture of how I could too. He inspired me. And he challenged me.
I went home different that night. I knew something was about to change. For the past 7 years I had been living in utter slavery to my mental illness, and yet suddenly I could feel something phenomenal starting to happen inside of me. What had previously seemed impossible to me, suddenly became a possibility.
What followed was a season of miraculous healing. Over the next few months, I went head to head with the beast that had been taking refuge in my heart and mind for nearly a decade. Every day I was filled with new strength to face the challenges that presented themselves. And I wrote. I wrote a lot. I wrote every day! I wrote about everything. I wrote about my doubts and fears. I wrote about my food intake. I wrote about my emotions. I wrote about my new found faith. I wrote about the things I was reading in the Bible. I wrote about my hopes and dreams. It shaped my recovery.
Fast-forward almost a decade. I have been married to Ryan for six and a half years. I work in a church. I have travelled all over North America and even the globe sharing stories of how God brought me through the darkest times in my life. And I have never relapsed into my eating disorder.
My anxiety however… now that is another story. Though I have learned so much and grown exponentially through the years, I have always lived with fear. Fear and anxiety, for me, have been like that annoying piece of tape that gets stuck to the bottom of your shoe and just follows you everywhere. You can’t kick it off, no matter how hard you try.
About half a year ago, I went through an experience that shook me to the core. Though I won’t take the time to go into detail here, I will say that it left me in a state of post-traumatic stress and battling with the highest level of anxiety I have ever experienced. My fear became incapacitating. It permeated nearly every area of my life and sapped all of my energy. After nearly six months of panic attacks and nightmares, I was starting to believe that there was no hope. I would never be free of this new monster that had attached itself to my life.
And then, one week ago, God showed up again just like He had in that church basement all those years ago. But this time He spoke to my heart and challenged me to consider a shift in my perspective. And all of a sudden, what had previously seemed impossible to me, once again became a possibility! I could overcome fear. I could overcome anxiety. Just like I had overcome my eating disorder.
And so here I am, once again, writing. This blog is dedicated to my recovery. It’s a big commitment for me. And it’s a little bit scary. But I believe it will be a significant part of my journey. And who knows… maybe it will be a significant part of yours! So in this moment, I am choosing to be brave.
In 2007, when I began my journey to recover from my eating disorder, I committed to write every day. At that time, I was writing daily emails to Ryan, who had offered to hold me accountable. This time, I have decided to write a blog. It is my desire that as I share—in real time—the struggles and triumphs of my journey to overcome fear and anxiety, that those who find themselves reading these words will begin to experience small glimmers of hope. Beyond that, I would love for this to be a place where people can find encouragement and community, where experiences and ideas can be shared openly, and where courage is cultivated.
As I begin this venture, there are a few things I want to state up front. This blog is not…
- a claim that I will never struggle again (I fully expect that I will)
- about glorifying me or my triumphs (I give all glory to God)
- a place to come for professional advice or care. I would love to hear your stories and share in your journey. But please know that I am just another regular person, walking through the mess just like you.
That being said, please consider this an open invitation into my life. I would be honored to have you join me in the mess and to journey daily through the ins and outs of my journey to overcome fear and anxiety. And through all of this, I hope that we will both leave here a little bit braver than we were before.