“I tried to force myself into doing something that wasn’t really me… all out of desperation for community.”

For Abbey Fraser, it kept coming back to two simple questions: Where do I belong? Who am I?

In just a matter of three years so much in her life had changed, she had experienced parental divorce, was married herself, and then divorced herself. Always feeling a bit on the outside, these changes once again put her into a state of limbo.

“I began to assume that no one would want me around.” Depression, anxiety, panic attacks set in and it was only worsened the more she separated from people. “I put myself alone and continued to spiral.”

After continuing downward for some time, things started looking up after Abbey sought help. After time spent in counseling and getting treatment for panic attacks, she began to see clearly again.

“I learned how great it was just to have someone to talk to,” she recalls. “Learning simple techniques of just how to talk to people and share with people. It’s important, it’s productive, it’s encouraging.”

For Abbey, she found community among family. Even though they haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, she accepted that “these are my people” as she describes them. She talks of her grandmother, a prayer warrior, who never gave up on her and an uncle who would call her out when she wasn’t doing what was right.

“Prayer is so instrumental in helping people. There are things you cannot do on your own. No one could have talked me in or out of things. People praying for me is the only thing I can attribute it to. When you’re in darkness, it’s real. People will either help you or hurt you.” And her family — her community, through the power of prayer has helped her; noting that sometimes people see things that you cannot see yourself and it’s okay to ask for help.

“I’ve wasted enough time walking backwards. I’m working on being a patient, brave, and bold person. Continually challenging myself. I just can’t do it all on my own.”

She’s often reminded of Philippians 1:6
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”

“If you have a bad day, remind yourself that it’s not done yet. It’s just getting started.”

Her recent Facebook post says it best:
I don’t usually share much, (especially not on FB) however, honesty is encouraging. Remember, we are all in this together…
Over the last 3-4 years of therapy/counseling; panic attacks, medication, and self medicating. I have finally found myself; my pride, my drive and my self respect. Stability in community, and communication. Realizing you need people and it is profitable to share your life with others. Stay the course, move forward and let the past remain behind you.
Community is the opposite of addiction, not necessarily sobriety.
Being sober without love and friendship leads back to loneliness and old habits. Community helps you to find purpose and stability. Find your people and find yourself. I am stronger than ever and now, I have life “lessons” I can look back on as reference to remind me keep your head up and smile.
Life is what you make it. Life is great and full of goodness.
Thank you to everyone who has seen me through the hard times by continually challenging me to be better and encouraging me.