Take Life Back

I’ve always loved to write, but don’t always get a chance to do it. I often find that I’m preoccupied and trying to figure out how to get through each day; rather than, what can I write at this moment.

Well, I wanted to take a moment and share with you all that I have a website http://www.takelifeback.org that I have created specifically to help provide resources free and paid to help people take their lives back, be empowered and encouraged. As some of you know m, I live to write poetry. I am starting to put some pictures and poems in canvas so people can buy them as wall decor. They will leave you smiling and the poems will leave you inspired, encouraged, hopeful and you will find yourself relating to them in ways that intimately connect with your inner thoughts and feelings/emotions.

I also wrote a book called Life Hijacked, Take It Back! The book will be published in the spring of 2020! If you want to know more about how to take your life back, that is a great source. In the meantime, check out the website and see ways you can invest in your life now! http://www.takelifeback.org

Laura Stonitsch M.H.S., CCC-SLP/L

Current Testimony

This post provides a current version of my poetic testimony. The original version can be found in the archives or under the poetry tab “Hope After Heartbreak.”

brown wooden dock over body of water
Photo by Vincent Albos on Pexels.com

I grew up going to church each Sunday. Learning Bible stories and how to pray. Sports were something I loved to do. Then when I was eleven I had injuries too. I broke my leg playing soccer one day, and a week later I fell down the steps at church on Mother’s Day. With a broken arm and leg, I was in a wheel chair. Wherever I went people would stare. I was determined to come back and play. Then I had to have surgery because my leg healed the wrong way. Pins and screws sticking out and in a lot of pain, battling an infection I went back to school on my birthday. A year to the day after the terrorist attacks, an interesting day to be welcomed back. Wheeled into school everyone cheered, I  remember trying to hold back tears. That was a very difficult year, I had to learn to walk again and face my fears.

I was able to return and play sports, running up and down fields and courts. When I got to high school I had to deal with more injuries, surgeries and how they made me feel. Physical pain was hard to get through, but the emotional pain caused great difficulty, too. Honestly, emotional pain has been harder for me, because it is something people can’t see.

My family didn’t have a lot financially, thank you to everyone who supported me. My sophomore year of high school I had to have surgery on my wrist, where a plate and 7 screws to this day are fixed. Later that summer I tore my ACL, when I collided with the catcher going after a foul ball. I wasn’t able to play sports my junior year, I struggled with my identity and stuffed my fears. I dealt with abuse but not in the best way, I didn’t know what to do but pray.

I was able to play softball in college for a year, but herniated a disc in my back and was paralyzed by fear. I couldn’t move my foot and had to have surgery, I didn’t know if I would be able to walk properly. I wore a brace that held my foot in place, I’ve had many nights of nerve pain but got through them by God’s grace.

My sophomore year of college I had an infection in my knee, from the screws that were placed there from my ACL surgery. I was on IV antibiotics but was still able to go to school, this was a difficult time for me too. I switched majors and was trying find my identity, I was struggling so much emotionally. Though I knew many people I was empty inside, I never heard an answer when I asked God why.

I suffered with depression, I wanted help. I didn’t know how to help myself. The Lord blessed me with an intelligent mind, but sometimes I felt like I was going through life blind. Why couldn’t I get rid of these lies in my head? I would hear that I would be better off dead. My faith has been what’s got me through many trials. I’m thankful that God loves me as a child. He doesn’t condemn or put me to shame. He knows everything about me; he knows my name.

I graduated college in 2012, and entered again the upcoming fall. In December 2012 I had  brain surgery. This was the hardest season for me. Multiple times I had cerebral spinal fluid leaks. I fought infections and was in pain continuously. I ended up having 4 surgeries and spending 39 days in a hospital in Chicago where all I could do was lay. I tried to stay positive but it wasn’t easy to do. I’m thankful for friends and family that helped me through.

My mom sacrificed much and drove me to class, I had no idea how long this would last. I couldn’t walk on my own, it was so hard. Often I wondered why I was dealt these cards. But I wouldn’t give up, I chose to persevere. It’s a miracle I’m alive, that I’m still here. I had a car accident that left me very sore. I didn’t know if I could handle much more. My car rolled going 70 miles per hour on the highway, I can’t believe I was released to go home the same day. I deal with pain and daily headaches, but God’s love brought me hope through all the heartbreaks.

I graduated with my masters in speech pathology, I worked for a year in three schools struggling internally. I made it to the summer and as the new school year came to a start, I was still struggling to be ok deep down in my heart. I couldn’t handle anything else happening to me, then I was t-boned by a F-150. My car was totaled and my career came to a halt.  I felt like I wasn’t strong enough and it was all my fault. I did everything I could, but I couldn’t get back. What did I do wrong to go off track. As the weeks and months continued to pass, I found myself wondering how long this would last. 

I decided I needed to face my fears and admit that life had taken a toll on me over the years. It’s ok to admit you are hurting inside. It doesn’t mean you are weak or that you didn’t try. Don’t worry what others think if you cry. As you work through the pain, you’ll be better on the other side. 

As I continue on my journey, crossroads await. But that doesn’t deter me from trusting God in faith. I don’t understand, but that’s ok. I can rest assured God’s with me today. Whether the sun is shining or it is grey. He will help me through the decisions that need to be made. 

Laura Stonitsch

The Most Challenging and Awarding Year Yet!

I spent almost the entire year not being able to work. This was difficult in so many levels. I felt misunderstood by about everyone, including myself!

I chose to finally look at the internal damage that trauma left behind in my life. I had tried to do this before on and off through years of counseling. I had two major breakthroughs in my life this year, that have propelled me forward.

I met someone who could counsel me and work with me through trauma on an emotional, mental, physical and spiritual way. I also met a physical therapist who has 35 years of experience and wrote a book called, “A World or Hurt: A Guide to Classifying Pain.”

These two people have helped me understand the nuances of pain. They also helped me understand it is ok to take time to get the help I needed. As I’ve been on this journey, I’ve been empowered and been realizing I can believe and live by new messages.

I had so many messages I was trying to live by and many messages I was trying to shove aside. However, I realized there were messages that I had heard but never believed until recently. These are the messages that have set me free.

The biggest message I started to believe is that I can do what I feel called to do with or without the support of my family. They may be able to support me to some capacity but in another capacity they can’t. I accepted that it is ok to do what I believe I need to do whether they understand or not.

Whatever you need to do for you to better yourself, go for it. Don’t let others’ opinions hold you back!

New Chapters

New chapters in life are exciting and scary! Filled with firsts both good and bad. I’m writing this posts because I felt convicted that we have to choose if we are going to step into the next chapter in our lives or if we are going to try and live in past chapters.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t process the past or remember things. What I’m saying is I think it is easy to settle and never move forward. It is important to take steps. Yes you will fall. Yes you might fall backward. But if you do it enough times you will see progress.

In order to move on in a new chapter, you have to accept the old is coming to a close. Celebrate and mourn if necessary that a chapter is closing and a new one is beginning. This step will help you shift your mindset.

If you are only speaking negatively to yourself, that’s what your mind hears and you believe what you hear. This is why it’s important to have people speaking into your life, life not negativity. It is also why we need to be kind to ourselves. Give ourselves grace and love. Forgive ourselves for mistakes.

You can move forward into a new chapter and you can pick yourself up (maybe with the help of others) when things get tough. Don’t give up. You will see a payoff if you persevere through the trials.

Uncertainty

Uncertainty, a weighty word indeed. It is hard to live with uncertainty but it’s one thing we can be certain about, that there will be uncertainty.

I’ve been going through a healing journey for awhile, but the current chapter began 9/21/18 when I was T-boned by an F150. I haven’t been able to work and the uncertainty of what lies ahead is difficult to sit with day in and day out.

One thing I’ve learned is the more you dwell, ruminate about circumstances the more you will increase you anxiety and depression. Certainly staying away from rumination is easier said then done!

I’ve been struggling some in this area. The one thing I know is that if I can be mindful of the present, be thankful and practice positive coping strategies rather than sitting in a cycle that will lead me to a pit of depression I’d rather practices those strategies and stay out of the pit!

Some things that help me are: 

-talking with friends, playing guitar, listening to music, reading the Bible, praying, gratitude list, watching sports, tv show, going to church, walking, biking, hiking, nature, writing poetry, journaling. These are just a few ideas to help you think of ways you might cope when uncertainty tries to take over your thoughts and you need something to do.

 

How to Process Emotions

Ouch that hurt! Can you believe that happened? These statements may seem like surface level reaction, but the reality is pain can effect us on a deeper emotional level. Pain hits us at the core of our being.

For years I haven’t known how to deal with pain. I’ve repressed, pretended I wasn’t hurting, ridden many roller coasters and attempted to feel it. None of these methods brought lasting relief. However, I am realizing that feeling them offers the most growth potential. My problem has been I don’t know how to feel intense emotions. I try to and then fear and shame override any other emotions.

The important part of feeling emotions isn’t shutting down, numbing or pretending the feelings aren’t there. It is sitting with the emotions and asking the question, “why do I feel this way right now?” Often times it is connected to a previous experience, environment, trauma or person. Once you identify the connection, explore the previous situation and try to determine what triggered you in the past and/or the current. Sometimes it is helpful to involve other people in your process, but it is not a necessary step to begin growing and healing.

Desire…

God find me faithful. May I be like Job, someone who suffers well. May I be found as a woman after your heart like David was said to be. May I have the courage to walk by faith like Abraham did. Grant me wisdom as you did Solomon. Give me courage to keep going like Moses. Give me peace, honor and favor as you did Joseph. Let me pray day and night like Daniel. Give me a vision and the strength to carry it out as you did for Nehemiah. Use my lips to speak truth as you did Elijah and the prophets. Give me compassion as Lydia showed Paul. Give me grace and perseverance as you did Paul. Give me courage and favor as you did Esther. Open doors for me to speak to the rich and the poor. Jesus give me your love for the world. Holy Spirit counsel me and comfort me when I’m weak and weary.

I live because of Christ. Without him I am nothing. He forgave me! One day I’ll see him in heaven, but I want everyone to know he died for their sins too. They can receive him in their lives. Confess your sins. Repent and ask him to come into your life. He rose again on third day so we could be with him one day. The men and women I mentioned above didn’t have easy lives but they chose to live for Jesus! Life gets hard, but Jesus won’t leave. He says, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).”