If you have it — you can do anything. No one can stop you. Nothing. You can walk into the conference room with your head held up high, papers in hand, and give a presentation of a lifetime. You can hop on a plane and fly across the globe to a foreign country — where the language barrier is just one of the many odds against you. When you have it — you can climb a 14’er — summit the mountain without even thinking twice about all the dangers. When you have confidence, you can do brave things.
But what if you woke up one day and realized that it was gone? You didn’t have it anymore. Your confidence had left the building.
First, you might ask yourself and wonder, “How did that happen?” and “Where did it go?”
I came to a realization one day that I had indeed lost my confidence. I’m not talking about “self-confidence” in regards to how you view yourself, but the confidence you have in your ability to do things.
And I knew why. Why I’d lost it.
I’ve always been a girl who loves adventure. Who loves to do things that are brave and to be seen as brave. I wasn’t a wild daredevil, but I found exhilaration, when I was a little girl, to take my shoes off and run around barefoot — risking the chance of getting a “sticker” in my foot. Over the hot, Texas, summer days, I’d run across the street barefoot to my friend’s house — the black pavement burning my feet —but also toughening them up so they became hardened and resilient — perhaps even more resistant to getting those pesky thorns in my foot. I was a “girly-girl”, but I was also a tomboy. I loved climbing high up in the trees that grew in our backyard and sitting there feeling like I was Pocahontas and that I had a connection with the spirit of the tree.
As I grew up into a young woman, adventure was still on my heart and wanderlust filled my soul. I dreamed of traveling the world.
I met my husband Josh in December 2009. I loved this man — his passion for life and that we shared an affinity for travel. He had already traveled abroad and his stories filled my heart with a longing to see these things. But, more importantly, to see these sights with him.
We married in the Spring of 2011.
I had confidence back then. Oh yes, I had my doubts and my fears, yes — that is only natural for all of us. But I knew I could do things. I had a mindset, perhaps a bit of pride, that I could do anything.
And so, within the first few months of marrying, my husband and I quit our jobs, sold almost everything, packed our bags, said our goodbyes to family, and we moved across the world — from Texas to New Zealand.
This was brave indeed and it took a huge amount of confidence in oneself to be able to do this. With our working holiday visa, we were able to live in New Zealand for a year. And, along the way, I got to climb trees again! Well, not technically, but climbed a ladder and picked apples from the trees. It was like being a kid again. Wild and free. Yet working. So, I’ll admit, I didn’t like apple-thinning too much. I hated it. Josh heard me moan and groan a lot. It took only four days to figure out that Lindsey wasn’t meant for manual labor. But I had had my hand at apple-picking. I had tried it.
While in New Zealand, Josh and I hiked several trails — that’s one of my favorite activities in life to do is hike. Our greatest accomplishment was hiking the 19.4 kilometer Tongariro Alpine Crossing. I had confidence enough to do this treacherous day-long hike and to climb across volcanoes.
And, in New Zealand, I finally overcame my fear of driving on the opposite side of the road, and, after trying it, my heart swelled with pride and confidence. As the saying by Eleanor Roosevelt goes, “You must do the things you think you cannot do.”
I had a nickname growing up, given to me by my youth minister who later became my brother-in-law. It was “Linzena – Warrior Princess.”
New Zealand was a time when I truly felt like I was a warrior princess.
We eventually had to move back to the States, and our next destination became Colorado — so that we could continue to breathe in mountain air and revel in God’s creation. I “bagged” (the term used in Colorado when you accomplish summiting a peak) three “14’er”s as they are called in Colorado — meaning mountain peaks where the summit is over 14,000 feet.
To climb a mountain, it takes courage and bravery. It requires confidence in yourself.
Little did I know I was about to climb the biggest mountain — the most rugged, treacherous, dangerous one I would ever have to attempt to conquer. And I’m not talking about Long’s Peak.
I’m talking about postpartum depression.
Our first daughter, Isabella, was born to us on a sunny October day while we were still living in Colorado. It was one of the happiest days of my life. A flood of tears poured from my eyes when I saw her for the first time and heard her first cry. Everything was good — despite the anxiety that I felt intensely every day from the moment she was born.
A month after she was born — my mountain appeared. Postpartum depression hit me full force as I woke up on a Monday morning and had my first of what would soon be countless panic attacks.
I couldn’t take care of myself. I couldn’t take care of my baby. I was a wreck. The depression and anxiety debilitated me to the point where I could barely eat or drink, and I had thoughts of just wanting to end it all.
That is when it happened. Postpartum depression grabbed my confidence, my dignity, my pride, and it ripped it away from me.
I had no confidence that the “mountain climbing, world-traveler, Linzena Warrior Princess” could “bag” this foreboding summit that towered above me. That laughed at me. That made me say things like, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t!”
It made me feel weak. I couldn’t do anything. And I needed someone to be by my side 24/7, because I was afraid of being alone. I was afraid of the scary thoughts in my head.
But, amazingly, after four months of inching my way up this mountain towards recovery, I finally reached the summit! I conquered that which tried to take my life. I won. Postpartum depression and anxiety had been defeated.
When I found healing, you can imagine how my life changed. I was on fire! So thankful to be alive. Thank you, God! I had a deep appreciation for life again; for my life. A deep appreciation for my family. A bond that grew between my husband and I as we weathered this storm together. As we, like all the real mountains we climbed together before, this time, my husband carried me on his back many times along the way. I know he did. Our love for each other grew tenfold. I started connecting with my baby daughter again and not feeling so scared of her. It was all so beautiful.
It’s in the aftermath, after a battle as intense as the one I went through, that I realized I had suffered many wounds. One of those being, that I lost my confidence. There were ways in which I actually gained confidence after going through that. But, I felt robbed — like something was missing that I once had.
Even after recovery, I doubted myself.
That’s one of the worst feelings. And it keeps you from doing things. From doing what you used to be able to do.
Fear and anxiety still remain with me, even after recovery, and I struggle with anxiety to this day.
They say that, after falling off a horse, you have to get right back on. Shake the dust off and keep on.
And I have to do the same.
And so that is what I do. I “do the things you think you cannot do”. It’s not easy, and I’m still struggling to get a better hold of my anxiety, so that it doesn’t control my life. It’s not easy. But I’m trying.
I will continue to climb those beautiful mountains. I will do it with confidence —despite my fears and anxieties. I will and have continued to board those planes to foreign places that light my heart on fire.
And I will, despite the wounds I carry, live my life with courage and adventure. I will regain my confidence and, with hardened, tough feet — I will carry on as Linzena Warrior Princess, living out my life Wild and Free.