I’ve been wanting to write on this topic for a long time, but hadn’t found the courage to do so. Even the word anxiety freaks me out a little bit. I look at it and in that moment I feel all the pain it’s caused me over the last year. As I began writing this, I started having some reservations like: “Well maybe I should wait until I have another anxiety attack to write this” or “But what if people treat me like I’m a delicate piece of China once they discover I struggle with this?” God stopped those thoughts pretty quickly. So, here we go.
I want to preface that I, by no means, am an expert on the topic of anxiety. This blog post is purely informational on my struggle with anxiety.
Like I mentioned in my last post, I have a severe need for control. Well, its LACK of control that sparks most of my anxiety attacks. Other times it’s fear. But most of the time, the two go hand in hand. One time, I lost my Dad’s vintage Ray-Ban sunglasses that he gave me, and I had an hour long anxiety attack over it. Most recently, I had gone TWO WHOLE MONTHS without an anxiety attack and then when I was driving I exited onto the wrong highway and had to drive 20 miles out of the way to get back to where I had been. I was meeting my two older sisters for lunch and had my younger sister and her friend in my car. When we got to the restaurant I tried to suppress the anxiety I was feeling, and so I just sat silent. For the entire time we were there, I think I said ten words. All the while I was shaking like someone whose had too many cups of coffee. I felt my heart beating out of my chest and I couldn’t calm down. Outwardly, it probably just looked like I was mad or pouting about something. But on the inside, my mind was fighting against the rest of my body. I like to think that while I’m having an anxiety attack, my brain is acting like a person who is miserable and wants EVERYONE ELSE AROUND THEM to be miserable too.
I wanted to believe that I wasn’t ACTUALLY affected. I wanted to be stronger than the anxiety. So I fought it. I fought hard. But you see, sometimes fighting doesn’t make you strong. Sometimes sitting down and letting yourself have that meltdown is what makes you strong. You are STRONG because you know what your limit is. You are strong because you know what’s best for YOU. You are strong because you know that fighting doesn’t make you strong. You are strong because you know there’s a way out eventually. Honestly, in the midst of an anxiety attack it feels like it will never end. Especially when you have one that lasts over two hours. It’s rather dramatic, but I have genuinely feel like I won’t get better. In those moments, I mean. While I’m having an attack, all bets are off. Sometimes it’s manageable and I can truck on through it, but other times I have to press pause on everything else and just focus on the fact that I am OKAY. I could not tell you how many times I’ve repeated “You’re okay. You’re okay. You’re okay.” to myself. To me, having an anxiety attack is like being stuck in quicksand. The more you struggle, the worse off you are. So STOP struggling. Stop denying the fact that you may have anxiety and work to get better! Stop struggling long enough to look around you. When you do, you may see a way out on your own, or you may see someone else struggling too and you can overcome it together. It’s ironic to me that lack of control is what sparks my anxiety attacks, and it’s releasing control that helps me get through them. Jesus is cool, isn’t he?
Anxiety is a daily struggle. Even when I’m not having a full on anxiety attack, I still FEEL anxious. It has affected my relationships, my personal life, my work life, my thoughts, how I view myself, etc. Anxiety AFFECTS those things, but it does not CONTROL them. It does not decide things for me. I will not let my anxiety decide for me who I talk to, where I go, and what I do. This anxiety filled period of my life will not last. You know why?
Because sometimes anxiety wins the battle, but with God’s help I am winning the war.