1 Year: medicine free!

Today is my ONE YEAR anniversary of being completely off anxiety medication!

I am celebrating, because my EXPERIENCE with anxiety (not MY anxiety) has been a pivotal part of my story.
For two seasons of my life, I have suffered with debilitating panic. The first time over a decade ago I was also struggling with depression, infertility, loss of identity and alcohol abuse. (My poor newly married young husband!) I didn’t want to live this way. I barely wanted to live at all. But with the recommendation of a trusted therapist I chose medication. And I believe it saved my life.
BUT I also WORKED ON ME. I went THROUGH the brokenness of losing my singing voice to steroids. I went through the brokenness of not knowing if I would ever be a mother. I put down the most destructive drug on the planet- alcohol. I got my life back. I made the CHOICE to come off medication, because I didn’t want to be on it forever, AND I told myself that I would never experience panic and anxiety as long as I was SOBER. Oh the power of the mind! I believed that SO deeply that it became my reality- or so I thought. I see now that I still experienced anxiety, but I had conditioned my mind to reconceptualize it as something else. I thought I was in control.
But it came back. When I was minding my own damn business. When I was doing what I needed to do. Being a good wife. Homeschooling my three young kids. I was freakin’ SOBER for God sake!!!
It blind-sided me.
It engulfed me. I couldn’t leave my house. I would wakeup and immediately every cell in my body began to vibrate. I’d lie on the couch praying to escape my body. The walls of sobriety that were supposed to keep me safe came crashing down and then disappeared. I realized they were never really there to begin with. I was exposed to the threat of myself and my genetic predisposition to mental chaos.
I was angry. Why did I have to go through this shit again?I had three kids depending on me and I couldn’t get my head above water. I wasted NO time calling my doctor. Once again, I got on medication and it helped. I don’t regret it. (But the weight gain sucks.)
By divine intervention I came across Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book Switch on Your Brain and my jaw dropped when I read the back cover: “You are not a victim of your biology!” This is the opposite of what I heard from doctors.
Once again, I GOT TO WORK on me. My life coach says that there are only a few lessons in life, but we learn them over and over, deeper and deeper. This time, I did not fight, I surrendered and I accepted the gift of anxiety. I detoxed my brain from the negative patterns that had resurfaced. It was a process, but I took back my thought life. And healing came. After intentional brain self-therapy with the wisdom of Dr. Leaf and the guidance of the Holy Spirit I started my taper off the medicine. I took natural supplements, took care of my body and I did it S-L-O-W-L-Y under the supervision of my doctor.
It hasn’t been easy. And I tried to sabotage myself by adding alcohol BACK into my life, but that was another lesson I had to learn yet again…
Today I am one-year medication free and full of hope for the future. I got my life back. I’m telling the story I want to tell. I am embracing the lessons I needed to learn AGAIN and I am grateful for the journey.
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The Great Miami Re-do

In March I posted about The Great Shi**y Trip to Miami. You can read all about that here. But since then I got take my re-do trip to Miami so I thought I’d fill you guys in on how that went. But first I turned 40…

On May 17th, my actual birthday, my husband threw me the most AMAZING birthday party ever! We had the entire outside lawn and patio at Nuevos Amigos Mexican Restaurant and it was decorated in black and gold with a huge “Bonnie” banner across the outside stage. Our long-time friend DJ’d so I could dance all night to ALL my favorite music. (my kids will need therapy from some of my moves)

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Almost everyone I love was there. Family, Friends and Book worlds colliding. It was perfect. From the hugs and laughs and insanely gorgeous sunset, I was hyper-aware of all of the love I received that night. Keenan thought of everything. Even a “blowy guy” wind dancer that I may or may not have dropped a not-so-subtle hint about inviting. There was photo booth, endless food, gifts and the margaritas flowed. (Just because I’m sober doesn’t mean I want you to be. Ya’ll funny.)

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And the cake. The cake of all cakes that was designed by my husband and made by my niece. It was just for me. No, literally we forgot to cut it and it came home with me. (We ate as much as we could) Every detail of the evening was well thought out and executed. He even hired “sexy” acrobats as entertainment! One of the acrobats happens to be my cousin! (Did I mention the talent that runs through my family in various creative outlets?) And yes, they brought a pole as a prop so you can insert inappropriate jokes about the ex-stripper who was present and hosting here_______. 🙂

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I was completely sober. Can’t say that about my 30th. Wide awake and feeling everything about the night. And then the speeches. Family and friends saying things that made me laugh and cry and thank God that I was here in this moment surrounded by so much love. One friend said “everyone should have a Bonnie.” and Keenan took the mic and said, “Snagging you was my greatest achievement.” Wow. It’s a beautiful thing to be loved…and known so well. I wish everyone could have that feeling just once in their life. I received it all with an open heart. Fully present.

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I didn’t want the night to end, but we had to get home and get some rest…we had a plane to catch! To Miami…

We don’t get out much so we pretty much stink at travelling and almost missed our plane. But thankfully we made it. I brought my b-day cards on the plane so I could take my time reading each one and so I could be distracted. Flying is not my favorite. I looked through pictures of the party and stopped every few to kiss Keenan on the cheek and say “Thank you.” I probably thanked him hundreds of times during the weekend. Mostly with words. 🙂

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Miami was the same place, but I was a different Bonnie. Last year I was detoxing off my anxiety medication and unwisely adding alcohol back in. I was a mess. I couldn’t enjoy the scenery or my favorite person because my body and mind were at war. But after I came home and processed the trip, I received the gift. I chose differently this time and I was able to (finally) enjoy every moment. Starting with our awesome boutique hotel: COMO Metropolotian and the chocolate birthday cake that welcomed us in our room.

August 14th is my one year anniversary of being completely off my anxiety medication. A decision I made for myself that wasn’t easy during the process but has been a blessing in my mental health journey. I still experience anxiety from time to time, but I have learned so much about myself and the power of the mind that I know I am equipped to feel all the feelings and live the life I WANT without mind numbing pharmaceuticals. FOR ME (I say that because my journey is my own) it was the best decision.

August 17th of this year I will celebrate 200 days of sobriety. Another decision I’m proud of. This time in Miami, this Bonnie was sober. Alcohol does not serve me and I don’t like the person I become when I’m drinking. Moderation doesn’t work for me. It requires too much mental energy. SO I was wide awake to enjoy each sensation with complete awareness and joy. The sunshine, the sand, the books, the FOOD! I could barely eat last time because I was sick and trying to make myself worse. This trip I got jacked up on espresso every morning and switched to freshly cut coconut water in the afternoon. I savored every drop like it was liquid gold. Servers would bring me sandwiches and iced tea until I would pass out on the beach in a food coma. I would wake up and thank Keenan for the umpteenth time for everything- the party, the trip, the “right now” that I would never forget.

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We connected on so many levels. We flirted like we were on our honeymoon. We laughed at all the prime people watching that is Miami South Beach and we talked. We talked about our life. Our history. Our amazing kids. And our future. The future we get to build together one truth at a time. Because truth-telling comes with a clear conscience and real intimacy and never a hang-over. I completely get the whole “two become one flesh” because when Keenan isn’t with me- he’s missing. My most favorite way God loves me.

Every part of that trip was a gift that I will keep in my heart for the rest of my life.

You could say my re-do trip turned into redeemed.

Thank you Keenan.
Thank you God.
Thank you Bonnie- for showing up to your own life.

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