Mental Health Awareness Month: My Current Journey

Our mental health can change and shift, as it has for me over the years. It’s a process of conquering one battle, and a then days/weeks/months/years later stepping up to another one. The road from a toxic mind to a healthy mind isn’t a quick and clean journey. It’s a process… and it’s messy. But it’s a battle worth fighting.

I’ve dealt with depression on and off for decades. Some of you were with me as I shared my battle a few years ago. I went through lots of healing and breakthrough, and had a few really great years where I didn’t struggle with my mental health.

Yet, with a background of depression, there are some dark and deep lies that seemed to settle in my soul. Lately these lies seem to carry over every area in my life, and had become crippling. Simple, everyday tasks and responsibilities had become difficult and incredibly tiring. 

While I praise the Lord that I’m no longer suicidal, I had dealt with some pretty crippling anxiety over the past year. I was constantly going through the motions of life while feeling like I was one hiccup away from an anxiety attack. I had dealt with anxiety in the past (depression and anxiety go hand in hand often), but never to this level. It had reached a new height where I recognized I needed outside help. And that was okay. 

My chest constantly felt tight, shoulders tense, and at times I had to put some serious effort into slowing my breath so I wouldn’t hyperventilate in the middle of making tacos for dinner. I had to put immense effort into slowing my mind and racing thoughts. Sometimes I’d lock myself in my bathroom for a few minutes just to count and breathe. I’d lean up against the door, close my eyes, and start counting while slowly while inhaling and exhaling. 1… 2…. 3… 4….

I called my counseling office, and was put on a waiting list. I forgot I was on the waiting list until I got a call a few months later. I almost decided not to take the appointment, because I had been having a good couple of weeks. I am so glad I took the appointment.

My counselor has a way of unlocking deep rooted lies that I’ve carried in my soul that have been bleeding into every area of my life: wife, mother, daughter, doTERRA leader, friend, church leader. We’re digging up roots of some serious negative beliefs, and replacing them with the beautiful truth. I’m slowly working on starving the toxic thoughts and nurturing the healthy ones.

During the month of May, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’d love to share more on my mental health journey. I’ll be giving specifics on how I manage depression and anxiety with things like counseling, running, taking my supplements and other homeopathic measures, and opening up to some trusted friends and family about my current struggles. We’re not meant to fight this battle alone. Thank you for joining me on my recovery to freedom. You’re not alone either.

Got questions? Or maybe you’d like to see me cover a specific topic pertaining to mental health? Comment below, I’d love to connect with you!

Discouraged to Encourage

A friend of mine made such an interesting connection when studying Ezra 4. She said the 3 words from that chapter kept sticking out in her mind, as if God was highlighting them for her: discouraged, futile, and afraid. It was like a lightbulb went off in her head. That’s exactly what happens to her when the enemy is attacking her. This is what happens when the enemy attacks me or you.

The next day, I found myself coming back to these three words. I decided to dig in and break it down in a practical sense.

We get discouraged. This can look like many different thoughts: It’s been a year already… You should be so much further along by now… OR Why do you bother trying?… You’ll never be as good as her… You’ll never get it right. Discouragement isn’t pretty.

We get futile. Now, y’all, I have a Master’s degree, but I’m gonna be honest with you. I had to look up what the word futile meant. Here’s the definition: “incapable of producing any useful result; pointless” … You guys, I literally gasped when I read that.

I gasped because I felt as if someone had been watching me my whole life. My mind tends to go this direction at times. Sometimes not even necessarily when things are going terrible, but when they’re going great… Like I’m waiting for the ball to drop. This mindset is no way to live.

We get fearful. Don’t we, though? We do. We worry about our finances, our relationships, the opinions of other people. Fighting fear is a constant battle.

I mentioned to her that it would be wise to have a game plan. Basically, have truth at the forefront of your mind. How do you know what truths to use to guard your heart? Well, just start with the opposite of those 3 words (or any specific lie, for that matter). Here we go.

God is encouraging. He loves you more than you could ever imagine. Over and over throughout Scripture He confirms his love for you and me. He tells us He will provide for us. He delights in us. Use these truths to bring encouragement to your heart. (Romans 15:4)

God has given you a purpose. This seems basic. We hear it all the time.  But truly hear me here. God has given you (yes, YOU!) a specific purpose for the building up of His kingdom before you were even born. You have a voice. You matter. You are needed and wanted. You have purpose. (! Corinthians 12: 12-31)

God is loving. Perfect love casts out fear. This verse is gold. Again, it seems basic, but it only seems generic and basic… until we apply it. Then it becomes profound. Then it becomes magnificent. We’ve got to learn to walk in this truth. (1 John 4:18)

When you operate out of God’s love instead of fear from the enemy, peace abounds in your heart. No matter what the circumstance is, you can still have peace. This peace doesn’t exempt you from hard times. However, this peace allows you the mindset of knowing even if your world comes crashing down and you lose everything you hold dear; you know God is still good, and God is still here.

Share Your Voice: Releasing Fear & Receiving Truth

I know it’s typical and generic. I know it’s terribly cliche. But the end of the this year is making me reflect upon my actions. My actions of 2018. I had some incredible wins this past year, but I also had some setbacks. And sadly, I’m heart broken by them. I’m heart broken by my lack of actions. I’m heart broken that I gave into fear more times than I leaned into truth. I’m heart broken over all the times I held back. 

I held back my words when I could have published blog posts that had the potential to help other moms. I held back videos on health and wellness that could have inspired others to take action towards bettering their health. I held back inviting loved ones to a doTERRA class when it really could have helped their kid’s tummy troubles or respiratory issues. I held back so many blessings, and for that, I am sorry.

Somewhere between changing diapers and school drop offs, I believed the lie that my voice didn’t matter. The lie that there are plenty of mommy blogs and health and wellness platforms, so I didn’t need to keep pursuing mine. I believed the lie that I wasn’t able or worthy to achieve the next level in my doTERRA business. I believed the lie that no one would care about what I had to say or write or create.

And then I thought… who cares? I need to do it anyway!

The truth is, all of those lies are a bunch of bull, and I recognize that, but—stay with me here—even if they were true… I still need to create. I still need to take the time to let my mind wander. I need to take the time to let my fingers roam on the keyboard and catch up with the words inside my head… because it’s been incredibly therapeutic for me. 

This fear and the lies have been robbing me of living out my full potential. It’s robbing me of being the best version of a mother to my children, it’s robbing me of being an exceptional wife to my husband, it’s robbing me of being able to fully connect with friends who are dear to me, and it’s robbing me of the most intimate relationship with my Creator. 

I want to feel free, loved, and joyful. I want you to feel free, loved, and joyful too! But there are days I feel trapped in this fear, unwanted, and discouraged. So, I’m taking the steps necessary to live freely. I’d love to take you on this journey with me. A journey of letting go of fear and receiving the freedom Christ has promised. I’ll share nuggets of truth I pick up along the way, and would love to connect more with you!

Who’s ready to share their voice this year? You story matters!

A Message for the Lonely: You are Not Alone

Disclaimer: I wasn’t planning to post this. I actually wrote this months ago. I didn’t want it to make people feel awkward or obligated. (You’ll understand as you read). But… I feel like I need to share because this is part of life, and part of my struggles.

Based on a conversation with other moms a few weeks ago, I think many can relate. My hopes are that by sharing our hearts we can help each other reach truth and self acceptance. So please know, I’m not doing this in an attempt to seek attention, I’m doing this in an attempt to seek healing. I’m also posting this for all other women who struggle with feelings of loneliness to know: You are not alone.

You know that saying, “Nothing good every happens after midnight?” Well, in mom terms that translates to “Nothing good every happens after 9:00PM.” This seems especially true tonight.

Scrolling through social media late at night is just not a good idea for me… I felt pretty good about myself right before I opened up my computer, and now I am in tears. (This outcome is also magnified by hormones LoL) All I could see was the success of others that I didn’t have yet, the parties and celebrations that I wasn’t invited to, and the friends and deep connection with others that seemed out of my reach. 

My heart is breaking. I feel like I don’t belong. I feel unwanted. I feel unlovable. I feel forgotten. I feel a deep ache in my heart. I feel a longing in my heart for connection. Real connection. A connection I had with a group of friends in college. We could openly share our struggles, our joys, our awkwardness with each other without any judgement, knowing we’d have unconditional love for each other…. I miss that kind of connection.

So now who do I talk to? I feel like I really don’t have that one girlfriend that I can spill my guts to. (Update: I know this is now a lie, as so many friends have opened up to me in the past few weeks… but alas, this was my thought when I wrote this.) So I’m spilling my guts to my computer screen. At 11PM. On a Monday. God, help me. (Literally).

I am reading the book Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst right now, and it’s so fitting. I just started and feel like I’ve gotten bits of nuggets from it, but still waiting for my ah-ha! moment to arrive and be fixed… but that doesn’t just happen from reading a book. That happens from intentional prayer, reading multiple books, chewing on the truth (not literally, but mentally), hashing things out with God, waiting, listening, worshiping, and possibly repeating the process multiple times.

What I do know is how I feel, and I recognize these are lies. I feel unwanted… forgotten… unlovable…. maybe I start to believe the lies because I can think of so many events I wasn’t invited to, inside jokes I don’t know, opportunities I wasn’t included in, the times people who I’ve met before literally forgot me. Every time one of these things happen, it’s like a tiny stab in my heart. So I scroll through a Facebook feed and those tiny stabs lead to a gaping hole.

A hole in my heart that people aren’t meant to fill. My feelings of being loved don’t reside in people justifying it. I (should) know I am loved, because I am called Beloved by my Creator and Savior. I belong because He says I belong to Him. I may not belong to every clique or club, but I belong to His kingdom, and that (should be) is enough. I am never forgotten. My God knows my thoughts, my sorrows, my emotions every second of every day… and despite that He still wants me. He longs for my heart. I long for that to be enough.

How do I believe this truth? I know I’m not the only one who has these struggles. Please share your tips and truths below.

Self Care Series: Sunshine

It’s time for another segment of our Self Care Series: yay! Ok, y’all… First, I have to show you just the awesomeness (yes, it’s a word… in my book! 😉 ) of the timing of this series: 

1. May is Mental Health Awareness Month: Hello?!? Self Care = Self Love.

2. I am currently listening to Tiffany Peterson’s Mindset Makeover Series, which focuses on mindset and self care… you guys.

Ok, now that I got THAT out of the way, let’s continue. Last time, I chatted with y’all about sleep, and today I am going to talk about something that may seem totally opposite of that, but it’s equally important: SUNSHINE. Yep, sunshine!

Now, I’m not going to tell you that you need to spend hours a day soaking up the rays, because, hello: skin cancer. BUT I do think it’s really good for your body to get sunshine every single day. So, I’m going to share my routine with you, and you can cater it to your liking and schedule.

My husband and I have been beginning our day together outside. It’s beautiful, y’all… not my backyard, my backyard is just typical, the beautiful aspect is starting the day together outside. We have no rigid routine set for ourselves, we just sit out there after getting our oldest to the bus stop and the younger three kiddos play outside and eat dirt and whatnot. We’ll drink our coffee, read whatever book we happen to be working on (I am currently reading Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst), and just hang out for a bit before he has to leave for work.

What I also started doing was literally laying out in the sun. Not for the sake of tanning, because anyone who knows me knows I don’t tan (despite the fact that my mom is Hispanic, therefore making me half Hispanic… still no tan for me). However, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the feeling of the sun on my skin. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, but I do. 

I remember laying out with my friend Amanda from college on random big rocks the campus had placed throughout the college. There we were laying out on these big rocks right outside of the UCC (I don’t even remember what UCC stands for anymore… I am so old!). The feeling of the sun on my skin is addicting.

I have been laying out for 15 minutes a day for the past couple of months. During nap time when the sun is shining the most, I’ll throw on a tank top and shorts I would never wear in public, and lay out on our outdoor couch. I set my timer so I won’t fall asleep out there, because the heat in South Texas is no joke y’all. This 15 minutes is bliss.

Here are some health benefits from getting sunshine:

– Can help to lower your cholesterol 

– Can help to lower your blood pressure

– Supports your immune system

– Elevate your mood

– Creates Vitamin D in your body

– Improves the appearance of your skin

**Note: We all know that prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer, so keep these times brief. If you’re going to be in the sunshine for more than 15 minutes, then you’ll want to protect your skin. Preferably with a natural sun screen!**

I wanna hear from you! Do you enjoy being out in the sun?

Chasing My Dreams: Meeting Gary Vaynerchuk Along the Way

Two weeks ago, I met Gary Vaynerchuk. Now, I’m blogging about this for a couple of reasons: 1. I want to remember this experience for all eternity. 2. I want to challenge y’all to go out and fight for your dreams. They are worth it. You are worth it.

In order to document this experience, I need to take you back to April. The night of April 15, 2017. I had a dream I was sitting in a business meeting with Gary. Now I don’t remember details, because right as this dream began, I was woken up by a kicked from my 4 year old who is notorious for crawling in bed with us.

So, I thought that was kinda weird, but started getting ready for Easter service at church. I’m applying my mascara when I hear Gary offer his 30 Pitches giveaway. Basically, he offered 30 people to come to New York, pitch their business to him within a 30 second time frame, and he would provide you with feedback.

Now a lot of thoughts went through my head: I should really post about Jesus on my feed and not Gary Vaynerchuk… There’s no way I’m going to get chosen… He’s gonna have thousands of people apply… Will I even be able to afford to fly there if I did get chosen? Whatever. Screw it, I’m gonna go for it.

So I entered the contest. And then I got chosen. And then I freaked out. And then I found cheap flights (thanks SouthWest!). And then I left my 4 kids and went to New York City for the first time in my life. And then I freaked out again. And then I went to VaynerMedia. And then I freaked out again, but only on the inside while I tried playing cool on the outside. But what do I know about being cool? I spend my days with my 4 little kids, so my version of cool is singing all the lyrics to Moana. Whatever. My kids think I’m cool. I got this. Breathe.

I get to VaynerMedia, and mingled amongst the other business owners. There was such an interesting crowd: from social media consultants, to coffee roasters, a volleyball coach, and luxury soap creator. We made our way to a conference room, shaking DRock’s hand and chatting with Tyler while we waited.

 (Tyler is super tall, y’all!)

Gary called us back one by one to give him our pitch. So there I went: a stay at home mom from Texas with a heart for natural healthcare and big dreams. I gave him my 30 second pitch that roughly went like this:

“So, I’m a stay at home mom to 4 kids 6 years old and under, and today I’m pitching to you my side hustle. I’m a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and what I do is educate about natural and holistic health, and I point people in the right direction as to what essential oils would be best for them and their family. Then I help them learn how to use the product correctly, and reach their health goals.”

To which Gary responded: “Great.”

Then: LONG. AWKWARD. PAUSE.

Me: “That’s my pitch.”

Gary: “Ok, so what are you wanting from me?” Panic set in. I wasn’t prepared for this. I just thought he would spit out advice. So I responded by telling him I was just looking for advice.

He starts telling me I already know things he is going to say (which is true for anyone that’s been listening to his content for longer than a week): patience is key (which is funny because I was planning on wearing his Patience is Key shirt, but changed my mind last minute). He talked about collaborating with more people, contacting 5-10-20 more people at night when I’d rather be sleeping, and he also mentioned trying out Anchor, and providing a daily podcast highlighting a different product each day. (By the way, my Anchor station is up and running, you should check it out). You can also find my podcast on iTunes. Just search “Amanda Gerber” and you’ll see my podcast!

We ended with a book signing and selfie. It was quick meeting, and I’ve gotten some really crazy looks when people found out I flew to NYC for a 3 minute meeting… But it was so much more than a 3 minute meeting. Not only did I meet Gary, but I got to brush shoulders with others on his team, and the culture that’s in that building is truly inspiring.

One of my favorite parts about the day was the friendships I made with the other business owners in the room. We stayed and chatted for hours, sharing stories and dreams. I told many about our desire to grow our doTERRA business to a full time income, and my family’s desire to give to our community in big and powerful ways to further the kingdom of God.

To top off the day, after a group of us went out for pizza, we walked across the street to take a photo across the street in front of graffiti wall. The words along the wall read “and maybe I had a dream about you…” I couldn’t have been more thrilled. We took a group photo, and I had a take a photo by that caption, because that’s how it all started. With a dream. I’m still chasing and working towards my dream, now go chase yours!

I’d love to encourage you as you work towards your dreams. What are some of your dreams and goals?

Super Ordinary Wednesday

Some days my Instagram feed looks like I live in a fairytale land where all things run smoothly and life is wonderful. Honestly, some days I feel like I’m in a fairytale land. Some days life does run smoothly, all my to-dos get crossed. I spend some time connecting and reaching out to people in my doTERRA business, my kids eat their veggies, and I rock out a YouTube video like a boss. Some days I truly feel like Super Man… or Super Woman, I guess. You get the picture.

But other days… other days are just… an ordinary day. It’s those freakin’ ordinary days that get you. At least the ordinary days get me. My personality is very much achievement driven, and if I don’t feel like I’ve achieved anything in a day, my mood can easily go from Life is awesome! to I’m the worst human being on the planet. I know, it’s totally irrational, but I’m working on it, and luckily, I don’t have these days very often…But I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that today is one of those days.

My 2 year old, Isaac, learned how to climb out of his crib, so nap time becomes the most unproductive and frustrating 2 hours of my life. My 4 year old, Tim, won’t go to bed so I’m snapping at the whole family, my kitchen never got cleaned because I’m just tired from constantly having at least 1 child on me, and my laundry has taken over my favorite spot on the couch. (I thought if I put it there it would motivate me more to fold it. It didn’t. Now I just regret that decision.) I did absolutely nothing for my doTERRA business, and it’s one of those days when my husband and I pass like ships in the night, so adult conversation was minimal… Unless you count the times I talked back to Gary Vaynerchuk while watching his YouTube videos while nursing baby Sarah. And I feel like a failure in every aspect of my life… I know, so dramatic!

    So. Much. Laundry.

That is not the day to scroll your Instagram feed and stalk moms you admire. Not today when your house is a mess, you haven’t blogged in over a week, and you discovered caterpillars are feasting on your arugula. It’s okay to admire people and their talents and abilities, but probably not on days you feel like crap. Because that just feeds the feelings of crappiness (someone help a girl out. How the heck do you spell crappy-ness? My computer doesn’t know what to do with that word.). On days you feel like crap you should turn off your social media and text a friend. Someone who can remind you that you’re not a failure in life… you just had an unproductive day.

I mean, kinda. It wasn’t too unproductive. I fed my kids real food, remembered to pick Noah up from school, and I made a few phone calls. It wasn’t the worst day in the world. Seriously as I’m typing this I’m already starting to feel better about life. New thought: When you feel like you’ve failed at your day, make a list of the positive things you did. I’ll start with mine:

How I Rocked This Ordinary Wednesday

  1. Got up at 5:15am to read Scripture and pray.
  2. Went to yoga at 6:00am.
  3. Did some gardening with the kids this morning.
  4. We ate a healthy breakfast and lunch.
  5. Picked up Noah on time… Well, only 5 minutes late.
  6. We ate a healthy dinner.
  7. Contacted some doTERRA friends.
  8. I kept all 4 kids alive.

I feel better already. My outlook on my day has shifted. Ok, seriously, DO THIS next time you feel like you didn’t accomplish enough. You’ve done more than you realize. Remember, even Superman wasn’t Superman all the time. Sometimes he was just Clark Kent. And that’s okay. And remember, that comparison game is kryptonite.

Come on, share some success you’ve been having during the ordinary days! What have you accomplished today?