Sharing a Success in Recovery

For discussion of any addiction or challenge

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JessicaW
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:23 am
Location: New Mexico
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Sharing a Success in Recovery

Post by JessicaW » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:00 pm

I know I haven't really taken time to introduce myself in the forums yet, but I've been trying to attend the online meetings as much as possible this month (since really joining HtH) and I've already noticed a difference.

Among many of my struggles and addictions, I have agoraphobia and OCD induced anxiety, much of which is brought on by the patterns set by my addictions. The past year has been extremely hard and I've not gone more than 50 yards away from my house without my husband, or family members in over six months. It has been a horrible way to live.

So I wanted to share a success I had last week, and I know I can say that Jesus, Heavenly Father and HtH support made it possible.

I was able to leave my house, by myself. A random phone call from a job here in town came from a job application I put in well over a year ago. I felt prompted to say yes to an interview and after some scheduling conflict I realised that I would not be able to get a ride to my interview. I would have to take a bus, which was one of my greatest fears associated with my OCD and agoraphobia. But I did it. I worked through panic attacks and I took a bus down to my interview and I eventually got the job.

Since then I've had to travel on seven buses and over 30 miles around town on my own to fill out paperwork and other job related errands and I've done it all. I've also gone to the gym, which previously I had been terrified of doing even though it's only 100 feet away from my front door. I'm even going visiting teaching today, to an enrichment activity tomorrow and have been going walking and to the gym nearly every day since.

I know that HtH has a big part in this change. It's still hard and I know I will live with many of my issues for the rest of my life, but I've made one step toward the light in letting go and letting God hold me up in my times of need.

I was able to overcome my panic attack by saying, "The worst that can happen to me is that my panic attack will cause me to pass out, at which point my body will immediately make me breathe again." Because God designed our bodies to work that way. Our bodies want to breathe. Satan can remind me of my fears and I can fight them as much as possible, but only until I relied and trusted in God's great design was I able to overcome.

Finally, for the first time in so long I feel like there is hope.

And I can breathe.

Wendy J
Posts: 258
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 11:35 am
Location: Iowa
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Post by Wendy J » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:58 pm

Jessica,
Welcome! It is so good to "see" a new face.

I do not suffer from OCD and agoraphobia to the extent that you do. But I do relate. After a lifetime of struggling with depression and anxiety I was recently diagnosed with bipolar II. I haven't been formally diagnosed with OCD or agoraphobia but I definitely have OCD tendencies and also struggle with leaving my home. I was off work on disability for more than a year and in that time barely left my home. Just going to the store with my husband was an ordeal that sent me into a panic attack and I would freak out and need to be taken right back home again.

But I too have been given great miracles in my life. I now go to work full time and have only called out sick 3 or 4 times in the last year. This is remarkable given my past history. It's HARD, but progress is being made. I know that Heavenly Father has greatly blessed me and placed many angels in my path to make this possible.

Take it easy - do things at your own pace and continue to celebrate these victories. What a great blessing you've been given! If a day comes when you are feeling down at your limitations, remember that today you were blessed to overcome!

Keep posting!

Much love,
Wendy

suzanne
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:42 pm
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Post by suzanne » Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:20 pm

Hello Jessica:

I was so touched reading your post. My precious daughter (just 7) suffers from an anxiety disorder. After having read some 11 books on the subject--and immersing myself in her therapy ... I feel very qualified to say I KNOW what a victory it was for you to pass through those panicky feelings and take the actions that you did.

So many people think that Anxiety is strictly a matter of irrational thinking. But, there is a huge physiological component--where one's sympathetic nervous system has literal false alarms—causing authentic physical symptoms that would make anyone want to stay home (agoraphobia) or vulnerable to the fears/rituals that develop with OCD.

For you to hold Heavenly Father's hand, and let that panic pass through you is truly amazing. It's like asking a pilot who's experiencing vertigo (can't tell if the plane is inverted or not)--to ignore all of his physical sensations, and just use his instruments. It takes courage, training, patience, practise & is authentically difficult (even for the most experienced pilots). Facing anxiety disorders it he same way. If we don't let those symptoms pass through us, we "crash" in the form of agoraphobia, selective mutism, OCD or any of the other anxiety disorders. But, when people can walk through them--they start to heal.

I'm SOOooo happy for you. And I know Heavenly Father will always walk with you on your journeys into your fears. And He will become bigger, and they will become smaller.

Love,
Suznne

Colleen H.
Site Admin
Posts: 688
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:32 pm
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Post by Colleen H. » Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:25 pm

Jessica,

I just read your opening post on this thread, and I want to add my "Hurrah for Israel!" to the chorus. Actually, in my heart, the shout is more on the order of "Hosanna to God!" I'm so blessed to hear of His victory in you and your victory in Him (in cleaving to Him--to His spirit).

There is so much joy in the journey of recovery--even when there are ups, downs, detours, etc. I have a sign over my monitor, on a sticky note stuck to the shelf just above that reads: "Recovery means learning to enjoy the scenery on a detour." It's taken me years to believe that, but it has finally become rooted in my heart.

((hugs)) and sweet fellowship,
Colleen

JessicaW
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:23 am
Location: New Mexico
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Post by JessicaW » Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:03 am

Thank you all for your supportive comments. Suzanne, I really appreciated your analogy about the pilot with vertigo. I often times really wish more people understood that this isn't something I can willy nilly push through or just ignore.

I had quite a detour after my victory.

I got the job but two days in realised it was not going to be a good environment for me. It was complete chaos which only triggers my OCD and anxiety. Promises about my schedule were not kept and I was left alone with no training and ridiculed for not understanding. It was very frustrating and after two days, I quit.

It's so hard to talk about it to the people in my life. They just don't understand why I can't do what "normal" people can do. It so often makes me feel lazy or stupid, like they know something I just don't.

Thankfully however, this experience did not throw me into the bitterness of a mental breakdown like it has in the past. I secluded myself for about a week or so to recover and then I began making small changes. Thanks to our Bishop and the local missionaries who are trying so hard to help us in every piece of our lives.

Colleen, I am going to need to post that same quote above my monitor too. It's a good reminder.

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