How?!

How is it that depression can affect so much? And it’s not even necessarily spread far in terms of who knows (although it can, and does feel like it), but rather in how LONG it lasts. Like, there’s the immediate stuff. And so people end up finding out then. And then, you get out of it, and people ask the difference. And so more people find out. Then, maybe, you start opening up. And then people you thought had known… turns out they didn’t. And the people you didn’t think knew, already knew. And it’s all a blur.

Just keep choosing joy. Keep choosing Jesus. He’s got this. And His plans are so much better than you could ever imagine.

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Choose Joy. Choose Jesus.

I’ve been thinking.

Even though the frequency of lies and hate and stress and fear is still relatively high, I’ve been consciously choosing victory in Jesus. And as I’ve been writing songs as a way to remind Future Me of victory now, and of His victory over death, I’ve realized I have a theme.

Even though/Even if…… I still choose Jesus.

Even though I’m scared — nope, TERRIFIED — I’m still choosing Jesus. Because I believe in His promises that He is more than enough, and He gives me peace.

Even if I die and my life seems to be pointless… I know I glorify God by existing. Even if I were to deny His existence…. I’d still glorify God because He made me. And knowing He loves me anyways… that makes me want to passionately and purposefully glorify God. Make an effort to give glory to Him.

Even when I feel stuck. Hopeless. Even when the lies start drowning out the truth…. His love remains. His love redeems. His love is in me, and His love is for me.

Even though I doubt myself…. I choose to rest in God’s superiority. Doubting myself doesn’t affect God. And thankfully, neither does doubting Him. We don’t affect God. Our choices affect us and our perception of life. And God affects us. He MADE us! He’s writing our stories. He gave Jesus up so we could be transformed and renewed. He sent His Spirit to fill us. We’re different. Holy. Set apart. HIS.

Earlier today, I was really feeling down. But I choose Jesus. He’s stronger, bigger, better, and truer than anything I feel or imagine. Anything that comes at me…. He’s bigger. Reminds me of two kids’ songs.

“God is bigger than the Boogey Man, He’s bigger than Godzilla, or the monsters on TV; oh God is bigger than the Boogey Man, and He’s watching out for you and me!”

“My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do!”

I dare you: Choose Jesus today. Choose to believe that His Word is true, regardless of emotions and feelings. Choose to trust that He loves you and that He’s made you priceless. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

Even though the journey’s still hard, it’s so freeing to know at least the journey takes you clearer to Him. Because He’s already holding you close. We just have to open our eyes to see Him. Realize He loves you beyond comprehension.

Choose Jesus. Choose joy.

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I Care Too Much

In the wise words of Dan Howell, because I don’t want to plagiarize but that’s literally my life anyways:

“I care too much.”

I’m the kind of person who will come up with this idea. Maybe it’s a great one, maybe it’s a terrible one. But usually, I feel prompted to do something.

So, I’ll write a letter to someone. Paint a picture. Draw a portrait. Sing a melody, write a song — I’ll do something for someone, and they’ll praise it. Whether it’s in appreciation for what I did or just out of kindness — you know, the “You worked really hard on something I could care less about so I’m going to pretend it’s what I wanted/needed so you feel better” reaction — they praise me for what I did, and I’m pleased to make them smile. Because I want to be a blessing, not a burden. When people think of me, I want them to go, “Man, she’s used by God and when she opens her mouth or shares something, I can see and hear God!”

Of course, I’m very human and make many mistakes.

I’m not happy because I’m proud of myself. I’m happy because others are happy. I can’t remember the last time I was proud of myself and it ended well. But while this may sound humble and cute and all — “Aww, you only care about others! You take joy from other people’s joy! How adorable!” — it’s not. It’s another weapon of depression. It’s my self-hate.

For me, depression looks like apathy. Apathy caused by an overload. I’m constantly bombarded by lies, and if I don’t first go to Jesus, if I don’t immerse myself in Him, I’ll be drowned in lies and not get out of bed. I’ll lose energy and hope. I’ll stop caring. I’ll hurt myself, and others, because how can someone like me impact anyone?

So, I’ll write a letter to someone, expressing God’s love. Maybe it’s just a small thing. But then, I think of anyone else who’s mentored me. Anyone who may be struggling. And I’ll panic, going, “I’ve got to write THEM something, too, or they’ll feel left out! Even if they don’t know it, I know SOMEWHERE in their subconscious is a sliver of disappointment!” So, I’ll write THEM one, too. And then, maybe, when I’m anonymously handing them out — “These were handed to me to hand to you…. I got one too, for those of you thinking it’s me.” — I’ll realize that there’s extra people that I forgot about. And then I’ll be like, “Oh, gosh, what do I do? They won’t ever want to return because of this!”

I know it’s illogical. I know I’m so wrong. But I also know, I don’t know everything. I’m bound to have written “the wrong thing down” for that person, or have them take it the wrong way.

That’s what happened Thursday.

I had finally given up on caring about what other people thought of their letters. I even wrote:

“It’ll have been two weeks next time I see any of those people in a situation where I can’t avoid them or change the subject. They’ll have given up any attempts to figuring out who did it, and I’ll have this nightmare behind me. And even if it didn’t touch them like I hope it should have, I know the Bible verses I wrote will speak for them cause God speaks through that.” 

That was in my journal by Tuesday afternoon, and I even progressed to worrying about other things Wednesday morning!

((cue sarcastic whoop-whoop))

Wednesday night I had the best time I’ve had with my dad in a while, and I forgot about everything when I was out exploring with him. Then, Thursday, I got sick. It started out as simple allergy symptoms… then my headache worsened… then I got the chills… then I got shaky and slightly nauseous…. then I got lightheaded…. then I’m pretty sure I just entered Fever-Delirium-And-A-Bonus-Migraine land after that. Right as my headache began to worsen, one girl (let’s call her Sarah) approached me and asked about the letters.

Sarah: “Hey, Amelia, do you know who wrote those letters?”

Me, trying to focus: “What?”

Sarah: “You know, from Youth Group. Nina handed them out. Was it one of the leaders or something?”

Me, too busy catching up mentally to comprehend what she was saying: “Oh yeah. No, I don’t know. I don’t think any of the leaders did it, but I could be wrong.”

Ha. I’m such a great liar.

Sarah: “Hm. Okay. ‘Cause the letter was kinda personal, but… not at all. Like, it wasn’t accurate at all, but then… no. It was like someone tried to understand me, but then totally got it wrong.”

Me, finally realizing what she was saying, and beginning to panic: “Really? Huh.”

Sarah: “They thought I was depressed! They started it off with, ‘Your name has two meanings. The first means empty. It’s okay to not be okay.’ Like, seriously, I want to know who thinks this about me! Who thinks I’m depressed and empty?!”

Me, panicking but also managing to lie somehow: “Seriously?!” *snort*

Sarah: “Yeah! What about yours?”

Me, groping for an answer: “Kinda, but not really? It was really weird, yeah. I haven’t really thought of it since but yeah, that’s weird.”

Sarah: “I know right?! Like, who looks at me and goes, ‘You’re empty and depressed.'” (laughing the whole time)

Me: *laughing* “Yup, that’s the FIRST thing that comes to mind when I think of you! Hi, Empty!”

Sarah: “Seriously!”

The banter continued and hopefully my total mental decapitation later excused any suspicious behavior then, but…. Wow. That was a serious anxiety-causing moment right there.

Probably didn’t help that later, when I started getting a migraine, I pretty much ignored her on the boardwalk coming back from the beach to co-op during lunch. I guess we’ll never know if I was offensive, shady, or just pathetic. Or, ya know, all three. Cause some people take offense at pathetic attempts at being shady.

How’s your week been?

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The Struggle Is Real, Even If You Feel Crazy!

Helloooo! I thought I’d share a funny story, and brighten up the average post around here.

WARNING: ABNORMAL USAGE OF “SO”. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.

I hang out with my good friend/older sister/mentor about every other week. She used to give me guitar lessons, but then she got pregnant and couldn’t hold a guitar. However, when she DID teach, I remember we would spend more time goofing off and just talking than teaching and learning. Maybe that sounds undisciplined of us, but I like to think we were so on-point for learning/teaching that we only needed to work on it for a tiny portion of the time! 😉

So, we’re good friends, I think. We hang out every other week and our cheeks always scream in protest from laughing too much. She says she likes hanging with me. I doubt it’s 100% true (I can’t help but think, “She’s got to be tired of this. She’s only doing it because she likes helping people. Because she feels obligated. Because there’s food involved sometimes. Because she doesn’t want to see a repeat of her experience.” But those doubts aren’t something I want to focus on, at least not right now. If we’re being totally honest, ya know.

Why do we hang out? Let’s just say…. ((I had a mental breakdown and got to a really dark place and then God got me out of the really dark dark into a more Jesus place where it wasn’t “where are You God” and “i hate myself so muchhhh” but more like “God You made me so I’m gonna honor that!”So, when I reached out for her to please make me a word art thingie because she’s a professional and i had just finished burning myself out by painting like seven very detailed pictures for people’s Christmas presents and I had “you’re more than a conqueror, you’re royalty” stuck in my head.

So, she did it cause she’s awesome but then I had an anxiety attack after one Youth group and ended up texting her because she said I could if I needed to talk and we ended up meeting for dinner every other Thursday lolz.

So that’s how we ended up with every-other-week meetings. And lately, we’ve been unable to meet due to life being, well, life. We skipped one week, and then another, and then another, and we’re about to skip another. Maybe. It all depends on life.

So, since I’ve been pretty chill the past few weeks (Read: Not totally incapacitated by anxiety/depression; I feel decent), I was like, “Hey! I’ll message her and let her know I’m ‘busy’ (with wanting to lie in bed 24/7 blah blah blah) and tired (honest to goodness tired, because staying up till 2:30am and getting up at 6am makes you exhausted), and we can both have off-weeks! I know she’ll enjoy having extra family time, and I need to stop relying on others. This will work out awesome!”

So the first week, I almost did it, but then I realized it would make her want to NOT skip that week. ‘Cause literally, she’s a pro at recognizing avoidance. So, she ended up canceling that week due to… life. We agreed to keep up the same pattern of meeting regardless of meeting (so even though we missed March 23, we wouldn’t meet on the 30th but on April 6). Yesterday, I messaged asking if we could skip this week since I was asked to model (long story, I’ll post about it later). And she was like, “Cool, okay. Praying. Thanks for praying.”

And then later we were double checking stuff, and the convo went like this:”Hey, I’m going to be out of town next week. I didn’t realize it till now… can we meet on Monday or Tuesday?” And I was like, “I’m not sure about my schedule… but we could totally just skip this week too haha.” Then she

“Hey, I’m going to be out of town next week. I didn’t realize it till now… can we meet on Monday or Tuesday?” — KT.P.And I was like, “I’m not sure about my schedule… but we could totally just skip this week too haha.” Then she

“I’m not sure about my schedule… but we could totally just skip this week too.” — Milly

“I’d rather not… I miss Milly time!” –KT.P.

^^ it was at this text that I began doubting our conversation.

(((Are we being super nice now, or is she literally serious?)))

(((What do I say? How do I convey that it’s okay to miss it and I’d hate to make her do something out of obligation when I know she knows exactly what I mean and where I’m coming from and would convince me that I’m worth hanging out with and a joy to be around when I don’t want to delude myself–)))

“Haha, okay… I’ll ask.” — a very flustered Milly

…..

“I think Tuesday might work” — Milly five minutes later trying to figure out how to get around meeting because suddenly, our meetings have become scary and anxiety-filled, and I don’t want to pressure or burden her and I hate that I’m even reaching out at all, but epically failing at all screenshots.

“All righty! Tuesday it is.” –KT.P.

Later, I was about to pull out my phone and text her,

“Really, it’s fine — you can spend time doing last-minute stuff and packing and all that. I’ve actually been pretty good mentally (as if I’m a dog, haha, but you know what I mean…. I hope… 😉 ). I haven’t had an anxiety attack –”

This is where I stop. This is the funny part. This is the story I’ve spent over 800 words getting to.

I pose my thumbs over the screen, ready to type out this message. All I’ve gotta do is remember….

Oh.

This morning. I had a mini-panic attack this morning. Duh.

“Well, that was the first one in a while! And I’m responding well! The Monday of last week — ”

Wait. Monday started an avalanch of anxiety and depression, which had been preceded by a snowstorm of anxiety and depression for the two weeks preceding it.

“Well, I’m doing we–”

Nope… my chest still hurts from anxiety-ing so bad. Gosh darnit, I guess I am messed up and need help!

The struggles of being me.

On the brighter side, Galations 1:10 says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Don’t compare yourself to anyone. It’s not worth it. Don’t look for human approval. That’s not healthy. You start to obsess over their perception of you when really all we should be doing is resting in God’s view of us. How He sees us.

Whether it’s all in our heads or not is irrevalent when we think of God’s power and grace and love.

We’re all messed up, and we’ve all got more than enough grace through Jesus. We’re all called to be His. We have to answer His call and receive it, but He doesn’t say, “Oh, you’re too lame to be Mine.” He says, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” All.

Let’s rest in His promises today, shall we?

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Here and Now ~ Lyrics

I wrote this song. It’s not finished, but I put music to what’s there so far, and I love the minor feel to it (literally everything is in minor). Here are the lyrics:

We are not called to trust and unfaithful god

We are not called to serve an imagined one

and we are not bound by shackles of fear

because we have been called to be His

You are here and now

Your love endures then and now

You saved me out

from the pit of hopelessness

You are here, and You are now.

 

I feel like it’s quite plain where I’m coming from. Lost in the whirlwind of lies and voices that work to overwhelm me, I put some music on. Lyrics taken from the Bible and put to music. Lyrics that reminded me of truth. That reminded me I’m not a slave anymore, but free and royalty. Truth that reminded me what I was called to do.

He spoke to my heart then, saying I have purpose. That His love and mercies are endless and beginning-less. That He and His mercies and love is eternal, while my fears and lies were temporary. God is more than enough for us. And even when we don’t believe it, we can still declare it in faith.

What are some promises God’s reminding you of tonight?

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Living Victoriously, NOW.

God is present. He is here, and He is now. He encompasses all time, and is all-in-all. He has given us victory. He calls us to live, in Him. Victoriously. Trampling over death, over sin, over every lie, and laying down shame in return for eternal worth. Eternal glory from basking in God’s glory. Being so radiant that our faces can’t be seen.

Despite the darkness, the pain, the hate, the lies — the bad in the world — despite it all, God calls us to live in Him. To love fearlessly, fully, and freely.

Love knows no bounds. He is endless. Beginningless. He is outside of time, stress, pain, fear — and He wants us to thrive — to LIVE — in Him. Because when we surround ourselves in His truth, when we constantly go to Him in faith of His promises and power and love, we are living in victory over the devil. Jesus said it Himself — “The ruler of this world (Satan)… has no hold on Me (Jesus).”

By going to God, you’re choosing Him. Choosing victory. Strength. Love. Peace. Joy. Grace.

Delight in Him. Do you know He delights in you, regardless of what you’ve done, can do, or will do? Love Him. He loves you so much more than comprehension, and has since before creation. Believe in Him. He has life everlasting, and He loves to share Himself with us. He’s just loving like that.

Trust in Him. Be carefree before God, because He is most careful with us.

So God, in all things, be King.

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Words to the Lists

You know those moments, days, weeks, months, sometimes years, that you just have to stop? Stop and declare truth in faith? Because, even if you can’t see beauty or light right now, God’s working. Maybe it’s cause we’re in a shadowed part of His picture. Maybe it’s cause we’ve closed our eyes. But either way, God’s working on us, collectively and individually.

I’m finding myself daily going to Him and breaking down. Well, more like trying to hold my emotions in, finally breaking down and eventually going to God. Asking Him for help. Love. Truth. His perspective. For Him to replace me. Because how can He love something so filled with dark?

It’s difficult, resting in Him, when I know as soon as my mind stops thinking, I’ll be bombarded by hate and fear. The anxiety will fight for control; my depression screams in hopes to be noticed.

And too often, I give in. I let those monsters rule my actions, my heart, my day. I don’t go to God, and they squeal with glee as they terrorize my soul.

Or maybe I do go to God, but come holding both desperately, disillusioned with the fear that if I let go, they’re going to terrorize someone else. Like anxiety and depression is a virus one can catch.

When will I continuously realize that God asks for open hands and open hearts for Him to fill us? When will I know, in my heart, that God wants to take my demons and put them where they belong, and fill my heart and soul and mind and everything with Him? When will I believe that He wants me to come as I am, but willing to let go? When will I believe that it’s OK to not be okay, to relinquish control of my fears and anger and hate and sadness? My pain?

When will I believe in Him fully? Am I terrible for this lack of faith, even though I know the answers? Am I really just plain stupid for believing the same lies over and over again, even though I know how to reject them?

When will I live in freedom? In victory? When will I choose Jesus over everything else?

Now. I choose now. Daddy, I pray in faith and praise from past experience that You are more than enough. I love You. Thank You for being more than enough for me then, now, and forever. Help me to hold onto You, not anything else. Thank You for loving me broken, and loving me into Your wholeness. Thank You for loving me. I love You! You’re my Daddy, and the best Daddy I could have. Thank You for being my all. I love You. xoxo, milly.

I’m speaking in faith. Praying in faith. Living in faith. But that’s okay. Because I know He’s right. And I know I’m loved beyond measure and comprehension. And I know He’s all I need. I know He’s more than enough for me, eternally.

Always. Forever. His love doesn’t begin, and He doesn’t end, either. He is love. And love is inside us.

I choose You, Daddy. Thank You for choosing me. Thank You for dying for me, and thank You for letting me live for You. Thank You for being in control. I love You, Daddy. In all things, be King.

Amen.

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10 Truths

1. I am God’s daughter, beloved and made wholly right.

2. Jesus’ resurrection power is in me and I live in Him.

3. I’m no longer a slave to fear. Even if I don’t see it, with anxiety, I declare this in faith. Because God’s not finished with His girl yet.

4. I’m more than a conqueror, I’m ROYALTY.

5. I am priceless.

6. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. I am not limited by this world, depression, or anxiety. God sets me free.

7. I’m still learning to run freely as I try to understand just how God sees me, and it’s just making me love Him more and more. Cause He’s greater than the multiverse.

8. I declare in faith that He has saved me and holds me tight. Because His word says so.

9. I am truly beloved.

10. There’s no distance too far that He can’t reach me, no place that’s so dark that He can’t find me; anywhere that I am, He will find me. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done — I’m never too far gone.

What are some truths that you’re clinging to right now?

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Ten Dark Secrets….

  1. I didn’t fall asleep Wednesday night. I had a panic attack seven minutes before it started and chickened out of going.
  2. I wasn’t crying because of the physical pain of hitting my head that one Sunday night. I cried because I heard self-harm thoughts for the first time in months, and I was so disappointed in myself.
  3. Sometimes, I do care, I just don’t want to be picky or needy. Because I believe I’m not worth caring about, and yet so many people do.
  4. I don’t want to be too much on you right now because you have twenty million other things on your own plate and I’m just going to blabber on about things in my head.
  5. I know a lot. I know the truth. I know I’m royalty. That I’m free, that Jesus made me whole and I’m worthy of love. But I don’t believe it. And sometimes, I hate that I don’t believe it so much I hate myself.
  6. I don’t actually take that long for tests. But I’ve learned it’s offensive to finish tests in ten minutes, so I’ve learned to wait until other people are done.
  7. I don’t actually hate you. I don’t think I can hate many people for very long. They’re not me, and when you compare me to anyone else, they look perfect.
  8. I hate my perfections. They make people think I’m better than others and also make them think I think so, too. I’m not. I’m worse than everyone out there.
  9. I didn’t take my medicine for several days (maybe weeks) because I wanted to harm myself.
  10. I’m terrified of myself sometimes.
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MUSIC

I’m going to attempt to explain my insane logic. Or, rather, lack of logic.

I love music. I love singing. I like to think I have a relatively decent voice and am pretty OK at guitar and/or piano. I’m not terrible, but I’m not good. I might have talent, but not much.

As a child, I was obsessed with producing. I wrote and performed songs for my family. I wrote and performed plays with my family, for my family. I even joined our Youth worship band at age 13 because I thought I was some prodigy.

Haha. #stupidat13

Fast-forward to now, where I’m facing anxiety and depression all at once.

Let it be known that, for the first sixteen and five months of my life, I didn’t know what it was like to be stressed, much less have anxiety. Cue December of 2016, and BOOM. Anxiety. Bam.

So, I’ve been readjusting to life. Figuring out coping skills that aren’t destructive. The use. (use. is the word “usual” abbreviated to you-shh. Or a very soft “juh” sound, pronouncing the J like in Jaques.)

One thing I’ve been doing is playing piano for funsies. Cause, you know, it’s fun. Mildly cathartic.

However, we don’t have a very functional piano at home. It doesn’t have the feel or stability of a standard piano. And the only one I can use at our Church (which is where I spend a lot of my time, being homeschooled by my Mom who volunteers a LOT there), is the huge grand piano in the sanctuary that can be heard into the lobby. Where everyone can hear it.

Now, you may be going, “Amelia, why is that a problem? Why don’t you just play? I’m sure they’ll understand!”

This is where anxiety comes in. I’m a relatively chill person if you ignore the anxiety (Wow okay obviously Milly). So, I’m typically an expert at objectively viewing life. Well, I used to.

Regarding gestures of kindness that are slightly embarrassing: “That is an irrational fear, Milly. You don’t need to worry about it. They will love it because they love you!”

Regarding having physical shortcomings: “Don’t worry about it, Milly. Everyone’s too busy with their own lives and own what-if’s that they probably don’t notice it about you. And if they do, it doesn’t take away from who you are, because you are awesome!”

Regarding worrying about people hearing me practice/record youtube: “Yo, everyone started somewhere! Don’t be ashamed to practice, that’s what distinguishes you from the lazy lads!”

That’s how I used to think. I was literally the most carefree kid ever. But now, I’m more like:

Regarding gestures of kindness that could be embarrassing: “People shouldn’t love you because you’re a total embarrassment and burden and annoying piece of poop. It doesn’t matter if I’m endearing, that mean’s I’m annoying and at any point could ruin their day.”

In response to physical shortcomings: “I’m fat and my inside despicability makes me super ugly on the outside. I can’t even get my health game together. What makes me think I’m inspirational or worth watching on Youtube?”

And as for the practice one… let’s just say anxiety is less about thoughts than feelings with that one. I’ll be practicing and then all of a sudden start freaking out and have to stop so I don’t start crying.

I’m totally fine with recording myself. Totally fine with posting it. Just… don’t show it to me. Or mention it to me. Basically, stop reminding me of it because it was a one-time — Oh, look! Milly McBug posted another ten covers. How precious. *cue eye roll*

People think I fake my anxiety about playing/singing/practicing in front of others. But I’m not. For some reason, it terrifies me. AND YET I CONTINUE TO DO IT.

There are few people I feel comfortable singing in front of, and sadly, my singing partner is not one of them. ((Sorry Katie but I feel like I’m ruining your golden voice with my goat bleats)). I have terrible timing for music, but she’s impeccable. We’re like two opposite sides of the spectrum: She’s high, I’m deeper. She’s soft and harmonic. I’m loud (sometimes) and have no idea how to sing harmony. She’s comfortable. I freak out often.

Let’s not even get started on my guitar. I’m just gonna leave it at this: Young Amelia Tried To Play Guitar For Youth But Nobody Told Her She Sucked At It Until They Kicked Everyone But Two People Off The Team And She Got Lessons. That’s probably why I appreciate honesty so much… without it, I embarrass myself.

So, because literally, NO ONE READS THESE, I’m going to list who I feel comfortable with, in order of how long it took to trust them relative to now.

  1. Christina, my guitar teacher. I am comfortable playing guitar, piano, or singing in front of her. I know she’ll be honest and help, not lie and judge.
  2. Leeanne, my bestie. I will play piano in front of her for funsies, but that’s it. I can’t sing (unless I’m parodying something) and I won’t play guitar.
  3. Tom, a good friend. He’s one of the few people who understands the mental struggle and knows when to encourage and when to just be silly enough to make someone laugh. It’s because he’s great at intuition that he encouraged me to play even while he can hear/see me.
  4. Nathan, Christina’s husband and also my Youth pastor. Still kinda anxious around him but I’ve begun to play around him. I’m slowly building a bigger circle of trust.
  5. Nina, a close friend. She’s worship leader and so I sometimes go to her for music advice, and we sometimes jam out, but only song-wise for funsies, or an accidental “I walked in on you practicing piano but I love that song so please keep playing it hey I’ll even sing it funnily so you’ll feel less stressed!”.
  6. And Dulcy. She’s a college student, but when she led worship — WOW. She encouraged me so much. I just couldn’t sing.

Those are people I’m kind of okay with. The ones that, if I’m put in a stressful situation regarding music, if I just pretend they’re my audience, I’ll be a little less freaked out. Now for the ones that make people go, “You can’t have anxiety! You’re too chill!” because I force myself to sing/practice instrument around/with them.

  1. Youth group praise team. I’m okay singing with them… now. I still get panic attacks when I mess up more than three times (which is every practice… more on that in a later post, I’m sure). The practice gets rid of a lot of my worrying, so I don’t know how it would go without it.
  2. Our youth group in general. Seriously, I’ve improved a lot when it comes to worship. Probably cause I’m worshipping to worship God, not trying to get everything right. ((WOW Milly when you stop being so legalistic you feel freed from expectations? What a LEGENDARY idea! It’s almost Biblical- OH WAIT IT IS)).
  3. Instagram. I’m pretty chill when going live on Instagram… until someone comes on that A) is a person who causes anxiety — please tell me I’m not the only one who has those people in my life? — B) I haven’t known for a lifetime but we’re still pretty good friends and I know they’ll comment on it later. I hate compliments. (So, I’m comfortable with Alexa, Lizzy, Gabbie, and Jade. Yup, such an extensive list.) By the way, I force myself to go live as many days a week as possible, especially when I’m having anxiety, to just practice guitar and help get over my anxiety with practicing with others. It’s the subtle idea that if I can perform in my room with others watching and commenting on my “performance” (I say perform but really it’s just practice and praying and trying not to break down), then I can lead worship for Youth group, which is made of a lot of people who have seen/heard me sing and play before. Ya know?
  4. In Big Church. When we’re the people who are chosen to help lead worship on a kids-lead Sunday? Like, “Today the Youth Worship Team is going to lead us in a few songs!” I’m pretty chill with that. Ironically. Even though it’s a huge crowd, there are more people around me, and that seems to make the biggest difference.
  5. Finally, doing solos, duets, or tri-singing things (whatever that’s called). Tricycle singing? Trio singing? Triet? I don’t know. But they absolutely terrify me. Last time I did one, I had a panic attack and ended up curling up in a ball, in a corner, behind a couch after the whole affair, and Christina spent almost 45 minutes talking me down.

So, there’s my attempt at explaining music. It’s not really good at explaining it, but since anxiety is pretty irrational, I think I did an okay job portraying how I feel. I’d like to thank everyone who supports me in the journey, and especially for Christina, because she is my musical lifesaver human (I say human because Jesus trumps everyone).

Well, time to go to bed so I can have a bunch of energy to use up worrying about the duet leading me and Katie have to do for youth. With absolutely no practice.

*internally screams and sobs*

Bye!

~may the joy of the Lord be your strength~ <3, Milly

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