Tag Archives: Keeping Faith

One of those inspiring & motivating feedback from a student …


With some students at PaidWa
With some of my first students: Sidoine is to my right. The dressing to near match was pure coincidence

My first lecturing gig was at the Pan African Institue for Development West Africa, in Buea South West Region Cameroon. That town hosts the famous Mount Cameroon and the School is not far from the foot of the mountain. SO yes it gets pretty ‘winter – like’ cold up there especially for someone like me with rhumatoid arthritis.

So, when you brave it there twice a week for two months; catching a good cold and fever along the way, leaving your city at 6 am to be there by 10 am ahead of a 4 hour lecture regardless of how you feel about that ‘calvary’ – and then a year later you get such an sms from a former student who also interned with your foundation, how else can you feel but super motivated to keep trying your very best?

March 10, 2017

From Sidoine Felix Paid-Wa and later Gbm intern

“Hey good day Mm. Long time trust you are fine. Sincerely permit me express my gratitude to you for all the invaluable knowledge and support you gave me during my stay with you. I can’t believe this but its true and happening. Since I left Douala I have been very engage in project proposal writings here. And Mm, the projects we work out together have been my guide and masterpiece in all the ones I am writing now. And guess what??? People are praising and appreciating the format and maturity of the project proposals. I haven’t done much but to contextualize these projects using what you thought me with. And sincerely I can’t go any further but to express my gratitude and joy. Thank you very much Mm. Hope the boys are all fine. My regards to them please”.

And as coincidence will have it, I was in Buea on that day for some work and had actually planned on checking on him – cause sure we have kept in touch. I offered him lunch and we had a good 45 mins of inspiring and quality time.

Such and many others from the others I have taught in my own city since then, keep me grounded and so motivated. The second batch I taught (and by grace they are all asters students) voted me the best lecturer they had ever had, and invited me to their end of year party, offering me a gift… it was all so emotional. I love teaching, sharing knowledge, relating with the students at any point, and simply trying to teach better than I was taught. I actually let them teach us all too and I have also learnt so much along the way. I actually dragged my mumps face to class last Sunday and braved an 8 hour lecture.

I have as often as I can told the lecturers who impacted me most that I was so grateful. I have visited a few who taught me even 15/20/30 years ago and oh my that made our day. Before I started teaching, I had a talk with my best undergrad lecturer and she inspired and motivated me along. Today, I consider teaching one of my top passions.

Is there any lecturer in the house? How do you feel about your work? Any student too? Have you ever thought how a small appreciation from you could mean the world to your lecturer? Much more than any salary raise? I have as often as I can told the lecturers who impacted me most that I was so grateful. I have visited a few who thought me even 15/20/30 years ago and oh my that made our day.

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When I feel am running late… I’ll just take my time…


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Hello world,

Happy mid week. I wonder how I hadn’t gotten to this point all along. Ha, maybe because punctuality and anxiety over punctuality are so wired in my brain. Just the thought of me being even a second late could ruin my sleep. I prefer to be an hour early than a minute late. I have blogged about my obsession with punctuality over and again.

The paradox is that I have met and keep meeting people who are in love with what is fondly known as BMT or Blackman main time. You know that deal where you say the event starts at 5 pm whereas it actually kicks off at 9 pm, and well because you know no one keeps to time anyway. I have fallen several times for this and been there at 5 pm and waited my patience over hahaha

Anyway,  I started getting rather sick with my obsession with punctuality and decides last year to seriously start work on that. Especially with three musketeers gracefully occupying 70% of my time, how can I still be rigid with time keeping expectations?

So gradually but slowly I started finding a way to deal with such obsessive and compulsive attitudes.

Last Monday it hit me like BAM… I had got up at 4 am, hit my workout at 4.45 am and planned to be ready to get out at sharp 6 am. By 5.30 am, I hadn’t had my shower oh no…I’ll be so late… Big panic yellow lights waiting to turn red… But then I remembered in a flash how late and miserable and erratic I had got the last time I lost it for fear of being late. I decided to try it out a different way. I went into my room, took a deep breathe, had my shower and got ready without letting any panic thoughts ruin my consciousness. At sharp 6 am, I was ready and although I had to forego packing my lunch bag ( my fault now cause if I had done that the night before… Shush such thoughts now…) And big bonus, I wasn’t late to my 6.50 am appointment after all…

I know some people don’t worry about such things, but I know some do. I am thus sharing this with you to inspire you and to motivate you to keep working on yourselves.

Any other tips to share on how to take this anxiety trigger and their obsessive compulsive cousins?

Today being international women’s day, may I wish all the women who hop by a happy day

Benedicta my heroine in Wum


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Benedicta so carefree as she leads me to the village spot for fetching water 

Hello world, happy midweek. Here I come again with another thrilling post of a heroine I met all the way in Wum – North West Region of Cameroon – Yes the same place I met my hero and teacher Erico. Meeting all my heros and heroines are definitely part of my journey here below, experiences I so appreciate and am grateful for, and the lessons learnt cum memories will definitely help me tremendously in my coaching and motivational speaker career. When does that officially kick off only the Master Lord knows… In the meantime, follow me and my heroine Benedicta as we go around the village.

How it all started

Aunty let me go and carry it for you her tiny self said! You still look so tired and there are many children there!

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My Lovely Afro Wig is souvenir now, there was I on arrival straight; from that red car filled with 8 people and 2 babies

Hmm, I wanted some water for my evening bath but I sure didn’t want small Benedicta to go carry it for me. You see, when I got to the village by noon that day, I was in dire need of a bath, having travelled from Douala my city all night to Bamenda, and then all morning in another small and jam packed car from Bamenda to Wum. The second distance of 50 kms lasted three hours  (hope you understand the state of such a road). I was brought water by an adult in law of mine but when I realized there was no running water in the compound, I decided after a while to go fetch that I’ll use at night. The water in that village is cold to the extend that when you bathe with it, you either catch a fever or are healed of one period.

But Benedicta I asked, why can’t I go with you and carry my own myself? If you can go so too can I right?

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Almost 15 minutes later we were still going to the spot and I was definitely slowing Benedicta down

At last, we seemed to have arrived because I spotted this:

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Mainly Kids go fetch water I as she had warned

I realized the beautiful water tank or whatever it looked like, was built by their Member of Parliament. Our government had better priorities than providing such basic amemnities to the whole country. And yet, the taps on that thing weren’t even running – HA!

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Between January and 15-02-2017 it was already looking so upbeat, rust and the taps didn’t run

I didn’t have to ask any questions, I just followed Benedicta to a nearby spot

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Sort of a local dam

See how the water flows, talk of patience being a virtue! And I couldn’t bully all those children right? So I waited. And then I started to think of the way back, but when I saw Benedicta smiling and chating with all those other kids, I relaxed. Wwe finally fetched our water and we headed back home as you can see below

 

Once home, my heroine quickly offered that we go again – Euh  –  emm I give Benedicta some money to buy herself a lolipop on the way and quickly dash off to join the other women prepare food to cook in one of our warm village kitchens

 

If you were in my place and given my age, will you go for a second round? Isn’t Benedicta so sweet? 

Wishing us all a happy new Month

When my routine gets interrupted… I really struggle


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Hello world, glad I am really getting to know myself and can anticipate what may come if I do certain things, or if certain unplanned stuffs are sent my way.

You see, for a pretty many years now, I have functioned by routine. I mean those close to me know how I like to plan everything and log them in my todoist, google calendar or even on post its. Then my brain loves to log out between 8:30/9 pm and up on its own between 3.30-4 am. That’s how routine I am. Then there is the time for this, and time for that all stored in my internal memory. Once that routine gets interrupted I struggle to get back with almost sometimes big efforts near exasperation.

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Last week I was trying once again to get back to my normal routine and self because I had spent the week before that on the road tavelling to one burial after the other. I therefore missed out on sleep as schedule, on sports and even eating what and when planned. I also realized on my return I had lost my work grove. Last week I started on monday with a 30 minute workout, doing only 2/3 of what I normally do because I was listening to my body. I tried to catch up the sleep I missed but I just couldn’t because I’ll feel so clumpsy when I ‘over sleep’. I actually did really over sleep thursday morning and got up at 6.15 am and the boys were not ready for school, the house a mess, and I was weary before I even started anything. Save for the Grace of God I didn’t lash them and I really tried to calmly pull it all together.

I have struggled to get my work ethics and groove back too, and yet it got so stretched on Tuesday and Wednesday I almost threw working away. Needed to motivate myself so much. This wasn’t helped by what I felt were last minute changes to some projects, or delays in some work and all. I fumed in me and then calmed myself down. Preferred to end the week by working from home although I also needed to be home because my last son wasn’t going to school.

I try hard to keep a calm demeanour especially at home, and so far not bad. Grateful also for meeting some awesome people on my trip like Erico who made it worthwhile. I just wish I didn’t have to struggle this hard to get back together when my routine gets interrupted cause my mental wellbeing takes such a hit and I fight not to go ‘down the black hole’!

And now over to you dear gentle readers and followers; have you ever made or had a similar experience? Any tips to share?

Erico the ‘So called Fool’ My Hero P2


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Erico and I by the infamous Lake Nyos – Wum

Hello world, I met Erico during my last trip to Wum in the North West Region of Cameroon, and made him my Hero for my short stay there. That sub division made international headlines in August 1986 when the lake Nyos erupted killing over 1700 people and so much livestock… I wanted to go see that lake and gladly Erico knew just how we could get there. He negotiated for motor bikes to take us there and back. So this is the ‘so called Fool’ right?

Erico showed me round the market and took me to his grandmum’s stall. He had already been there when he showered and wore his Jersey, and had told all who cared to ask that he had a new friend called Marie from Douala – who had bought his nice jersey earlier on. His grandmum gave me some groundnuts in appreciation, and I was so touched. All the neighbours smiled at us that day and Erico was visibly proud of himself. I wish he keeps his glow mindful of the challenges he has to overcome daily.

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Erico visibly so happy during the wake keeping ceremony

Erico did keep his glow for all my stay there. During the wake keeping ceremony, he actually danced when I asked me to show me his styles. You see the guy behind Erico, that is Tangatapan another mentally challenged. He had been dancing to any music played since I got there but he preferred to keep to himself and barely answered my greetings. Erico had earlier made fun of his dancing and so had to show me how much better he could dance. Another thing is that Tangatapan refused to share a meal with Erico and Ndolo, insisting on wanting his own pan. Maybe that’s why there’s a pan to his name? Anyway, Erico did eat with Ndolo just like he had eaten with me that afternoon, and as I said he sounded so wiser than his age nor circumstances.

Erico the so called ‘Fool’: My Hero in Wum P1


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That is Erico shortly after I courted him

Dear World, remember I said I was gonna be away last week right? Yes, I went to a village called Wum in the northwest Region of Cameroon. I mention this village because over 20 years ago it was the scene of one terrible disaster. Will bring that up in another post.

Now, over to my Hero Erico. Some call him a fool. I wonder who is the bigger fool, cause after 8 or so hours with Erico, and all the places we visited and discussions we had and the transformation I saw in his ‘spirit’, I am humbled – simple – Amen!!!

When I got to the compound, I noticed Erico sitting isolated under a tree. Guess he’s used to. I decided to befriend him, and offered that we share a meal. He was so excited.

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Yes I wasn’t really hungry but wanted to court Erico and stigmatize some stigma in that area

Now, while am sitting there with Erico, a lady comes up to us and ask me if I know Erico before. I say well I know him now and ask why, she says because he’s a fool and may embarass me. Ha!!! I let her go. Then a second man comes up, and asks me if I don’t want to go eat indoors; I ask why (like I don’t know he’s jealous of Erico), he says well it’s more comfortable indoors. I say no thanks.

You see people, their envy fuels me up with motivation to make Erico my Hero and star of my short stay. And Erico knows that village inside out. He was abandoned with his paternal grandma by his mum when he was 5 years old because she couldn’t cope with such a foolish child. I taught Erico how to take a picture and see his shot below. He was so excited:

He ignored the kids laughing at him when he initially fumbled with the camera, and am so impressed with his improvement. He took me to the market, and the infamous lake and talked about so much. I will be sharing more of those in p2. I end this with another more glowing picture of Erico taken a few hours later. I got him that jersey from the market as a souvenir.

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I wish I could afford snickers that day, he tells me he loves football but the kids don’t let him play: He had graciously taken a shower and was so impressed with himself – he was the star of the day

This is the first part of my short series of a personal experience with one of the marginalized in our society – the ones we stigmatize because of their physical appearance or mental disposition which apparently is not ‘normal’ and so they should be shunned. One ‘Christian’ lady (she wore their uniform) actually made a gesture like they ( yes Erico’s 2 other friends Ndolo and Tangatapan also became my friends) were smelling and should leave the place.

So my e-world, what do you think of such experiences and different perspectives?

Learning to Face My Fears Part 3 – The Ashley Rose series!


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I started exposing the roses of my dear friend Ashley Rose and if you want a recap of series 1 and 2 then click here: and here:

Today I expose part three and I am happy the way it turned out for her in this particular series that she not only overcame the fear of moving to ‘Atlanta’ but she ended up ‘liking and craving’ for Atlanta.

Read on, enjoy and leave a comment, share with us how you overcame any fear of yours, and of course do not hesitate to share the post with your friends…

Atlanta Braves Statute of Liberty!

Since I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder five years ago, I have made a conscious decision to face all of my fears. One of my biggest fears was moving to a big city. All the traffic, people, crime, and change were too much for me to face all at once. I was sure I would move to Atlanta and all this bad stuff would happen to me and I would come crawling back home to my small middle Georgia town. Surprisingly, I learned to adapt to my environment and thrive.

Visiting Atlanta: I knew that I wanted to move to Atlanta because I wanted to attend graduate school at Mercer University. While visiting, I was nervous driving in this big city with all the traffic and noise. Sitting in traffic can make you feel like you are so small in this big world. The only traffic I ever sat in was at the local Dairy Queen drive thru. Learning how to get from one place to the other was difficult because I relied on my GPS who sometimes has mood swings and works when she wants to. Sometimes I change her accent because I think she will sound nicer, but it doesn’t work. I decided to visit the college and ride through downtown on a Friday. It was not the visit I envisioned because I spent hours in traffic and stared at more tail lights than the actual city. But, I knew beyond all that I feared, Atlanta was calling my name.

Finding a place to call home: I finally got my acceptance letter from school, so now things were becoming a reality. I had to find my very own apartment. Looking for apartments in a city is much different from the country because you never know what you are going to stumble upon. Within the same price range, I could view a beautiful apartment in metro Atlanta, but a complete dump in the city area. So this task was going to be harder than I expected. After viewing several places, I decided to call a cute two-bedroom town home my residence. I went to the country, packed up my cats and belongings and headed to the big peach city.

Moving and adjusting: Deciding to keep my home where I grew up was a safety net decision; I guess I was not ready to completely let go of my small town. The moving process went well. I was able to buy a lot of new things and call the place my home. The first few months were really hard because I missed my family and friends. My anxiety kicked in high gear. According to the book “Dancing with Fear,” the author describes major life changes can cause a feeling of stress overload. I was feeling it and dealing with some panic attacks, but started counseling around this time to gain insight. I remember the first month I was there, I was so lonely because I didn’t know anyone and class did not start for another three weeks. I was bored out of mind, but eventually when school started, I was faced with more than I bargained for. Once I got a part time job and settled into my school schedule, I started to really enjoy my life changing decision.

Thriving: I ended up graduating school and staying in Atlanta for a total of three years. I moved to Los Angeles for a year and then ended back in Atlanta because I missed the east coast so much. If I had never made the decision to move to Atlanta, there would have been parts of the world I would have never been comfortable experiencing. I have decided that I am a true city girl. When I go back to my small town, I am now an outsider and don’t fit in well, but still make time to visit loved ones. Facing my fear of moving to a bigger city exceeded my wildest dreams and enabled me to even follow my dreams.

Source: Dancing with Fear: Controlling Stress and Creating a Life Beyond Panic and Anxiety; Paul Foxman, Ph. D.

Listen to your body and nurture it to spare you some…


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Dear World,

Last week I returned from work one day and suddenly felt overwhelmingly tired. The kind of tiredness I felt was far from my normal. I got alarmed and decided to let a few friends know I could be on my way out at that rate. I mean I couldn’t even leave my room – my bed actually, and I had to be fed right there. A small meal took like for ever and once I drank the milk I slept for 9 straight hours. I woke up the next morning feeling better although my eyes hurt like I had over slept and my head was just calming down.

My friends advised me to rest – a lot – and that’s what I did the very next day – all day I took it at my pace and fed my body some healthy stuffs. I didn’t go into town to sit for 8 – 10 hours working away at the frantic pace I had somehow in retrospect picked up and was even proud of. I usually work hard, even sports is no joking business. But there is only so much the body can take, and as one of my friends pointed out, you can’t twist a 38 year old brain and body like you were 18. Let your size not fool you she added. I gladly re-tweeted a tweet from Ms Marala Scot an American best selling author which says: ‘Your body is not your enemy listen to it’.

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I have known that the body deserves breaks, I have just often thought we are masters and the body servants. It seems that’s a selfish way to look at it right? I keep learning it the hard way. It is not right, we can’t seem to want to play power tussle even with our own body and brain – makes no sense.

Sometimes, our to do list is simply overflowing and we feel like all the energy is there anyway. Yet, if we know ourselves and listen to our bodies, we could get to spare ourselves some headaches and heartaches. No doubt high blood pressure is said to be the silent killer. And when death does come, what will happen to that over stimulating to do list anyway? Maybe read out at your requiem or something?

Therefore my dear e-family, although it is good and even commendable to be ambitious and even audaciously daring, you need to listen to the body you are relying on!

Have you had any such experience with your bodies you would like to share ? How do you nurture your body ?

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Book Review: Bipolar 1 Disorder : How to Survive and Thrive by Molly Mchugh


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A mental illness definitely strips a person of so much; yet there is hope!!!

Introduction

I wish to begin my candid review of this epic memoir by expressing my gratitude to Molly for having stuck through with writing this memoir. She kept this dream alive for 20 years and I find this generous. Generous also because of all she shares in there – from a very personal and equally professional perspective. Here is someone who fell sick; lost her mind on some occasions; got diagnosed with one of those dreaded labels; witnessed the system’s ‘stagnancy approach to mental health’ from both sides (as a care worker and as a mental health consumer’, and was ‘kindly’ harassed into withdrawing from medical studies with no one held accountable. But, the deal for me is reading on to find out how she survived and is now thriving as best as she can. I have learnt so much not only from reading Molly’s memoir, but also from interacting with her online.

The personal narration

Brought up a catholic, Molly probably knows the dogma of retribution being a direct consequence of our sins or ‘short comings’. It is easier to blame a mental illness on the person suffering same, or their family and upbringing. In this respect, a lot of prayers are said by the family of such a person in total faith and hoping for a miracle. This is some of Molly’s journey although this approach doesn’t work out well and Molly goes from one misadventure to the next. Her personal narration equally covers her ‘merry go round’ with the search for ‘balancing the chemistry’ in her brain through some psychotropic drugs with each having its of pros and huge cons. Physical ailments join in the mix or maybe were even there all along and just can’t take the toxic chemical assail any more without crying foul. Molly is lucky to find a doctor or two who is patient and thoughtful enough to go to the bottom of her physical predicaments to prescribe some alternative treatments. These alternative treatments, including those Molly researched by herself and even natural ones like the sun and thyroid supplement, are all part of the big wrap which enable Molly to survive her Bipolar 1 diagnosis and eventually thrive.

The Scientific narration

Molly’s memoir is not only about her personal journey, it is also about a lot of scientific information and material the average mental health patient and yes even some doctor may be unaware of. Molly shares insights into her research both off and online in her quest to better understand what the ‘heck’ is going on in her brain and life. She also makes a strong and corroborated case for the need for both the scientific and mental health community to be and stay informed of the evolution of psychology, psychiatry and pharmacology mindful of the giant pharmaceutical industry. Molly seems to point out something I had baffled at when I visited the US – Mental illness seems to be all about pills regardless of how bleak statistics are turning in. Fortunately, there are voices of hope out there, although they may be threatened a drown – they are there.

The debilitating narration

I refrained from including this under Molly’s personal narration because it seems to be the trend for many suffering from a mental illness. That mental before the big word illness does so much disservice to the person, their family and even community as a whole – perplexedly unlike with physical illness. Once you get a mental illness diagnosis be it of bipolar 1; 2; Schizophrenia; borderline… you name them, a lot is stripped off you. If you are lucky to be treated as a human being any more, you still come to realize you belong to the category next to guinea pigs or pets for whom either despise or exaggerated pity is the new kindness. There is so much stigma and the community is hyped with fear of this mental ‘nuts’ roaming the streets instead of being locked up for good. You learn very quickly to not mention the word mental again if not relationships will keep being jeopardized.

My appreciation

This is one more of those books I wish I had read a few years ago because it would have helped me and a sibling. The book is very easy to read because of the simple English used and even the anecdotes to fruits in the scientific narratives. Molly’s sense of humour probably helps her survive and thrive, but it will sure keep the reader interested in reading till the end. Although a mental illness strips a patient of so much, it is possible to face the ‘mental beast’ head on as Molly has done. Indeed, she has not only brought into the world a healthy and full of energy young man now in his young adulthood, but she has been able to go back to finish college and start a freelance career in communication. She is over ten years from her last hospitalization and is ageing gracefully. Who says there is no hope once you get a mental illness diagnosis? Read on, I whole heartedly recommend this memoir and give it a 5/5.

About Molly

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Molly is much more about bipolar than I could do her justice. Here is a glimpse in her own words; check out her website for your freelance writer jobs:

I’m Molly, your go-to gal to get your online writing project done with content that informs, is well-researched, SEO optimized and engages your audience. I will manage your writing projects while you focus on more important things such as running your business. Let me know what type of content you need for what format (blog, website, newsletter) and I will get it done.

You can get detailed information about each of my specialized services here: Blogging, E-books, Website Content, White Papers.

Roll out the Red carpet!!!Guest Post: Escaping the Nightmare


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Hello World; I know beyond reasonable doubt that consistent and engagind actions yield succulent fruits. Join me ye all gentle readers and followers of mine as I roll out the red carpet for my first guest post of the season: Ms Talasi Guerra of the epic blog Braver than BeforeRead on and tell for yourselves if the title of her guest post and even that of her blog don’t resonate with each of us in one way or the other.

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Her smile is so sweet, I just had to put her picture here for more effect as we read on

Have you ever had that nightmare where you are desperately trying to run away from something or someone, but no matter how hard you strain, you just can’t get your body to move fast enough? It’s like there are these invisible wires attached to all of your limbs, pulling you in the opposite direction as you exert all of your energy to move ahead one inch at a time. While you don’t know exactly what the danger is, you are certain that it is just behind you and ready to pounce at any moment! And in your mind, you are running away with all your might! But in reality, you are moving more slowly than a weary sloth.

I’ve had this dream many, many times in my life. It is such a frustrating and disconcerting dream to wake up from. And though I have never made the connection until this moment, I think that living with anxiety is almost exactly like living in this nightmare.

When you live with anxiety, it is like there is this mysterious danger constantly looming over you, coming at you from every direction. Fear kicks in and tells you that you must run in order to survive, but you simply can’t move. Sometimes it seems that the harder you try to get away, the more stubbornly your body refuses to cooperate.

And yet somehow, though you can barely move at all, the negligible progress you are making depletes almost all of your energy. It is all you can do to survive at this point, never mind trying to dodge the danger. But giving up is not an option either. You can’t stop trying to run or the threat will catch up to you and you will face certain destruction. So you are stuck in a state of constant torment—the battle between the danger you perceive and your inability to escape this approaching doom.

I’ve lived like this for most of my life. It is an exhausting existence. Always running; always trying to escape. But quite frankly, I am tired of running. I am tired of attempting escape when I don’t have the energy to move. I am tired of fighting with a peril that I can’t even identify.

So that’s it then. It’s time for me to turn around and face the danger. It’s time for me to look this thing in the eye and say, “No. I’m not going to run from you anymore.” And something tells me that when I do—when I finally stand up to it—it will lose a little bit of its power. Each time I take a stand, it will lose a little bit more, and a little bit more, until the tables finally turn and it becomes the one on the run. In that moment, I will be the one chasing it… until it is gone forever!

About Talasi

Talasi Guerra is the Director of Children and Family Ministries and Graphic Designer at First Baptist Church in Lloydminster, Canada. She loves to write, travel, and create. Follow Talasi on twitter @talasiguerra. We are welcome to her blog where she invite us to Journey with her through the day-to-day mess of anxiety and fear as she seek to cultivate courage each and every day. She is a fighter and survivor, and although she battled an eating disorder for 7 long damn years, it’s now 10 years she escaped from that nightmare – Amen!!!