Let me begin by saying that you are not alone! Anyone who has ever struggled with anxiety before in their life knows that overcoming this battle is no easy task. You read book after book, listen to speaker after speaker and spend countless hours and tears worrying about the future, about the past, about the present… sometimes I worry about worrying. It can be a long and lonely journey and there are days it seems my worrying knows no bounds. For the longest time I let my anxiety and fear define who I was. It played a role in every decision I made, it was at the root of many sleepless nights. I would love to tell you that today I am living worry free, but that would be lie. What I will tell you is that everyday I grow and everyday I learn a little more about what it means to fully rely on God and let go of the things that are holding me down. Maybe you are reading this article and you are thinking about how much you can relate or maybe you are reading this article and haven’t the slightest idea- either way this post is for you. While I am no professional and have no fancy schooling when it comes to this I can tell you that I am writing from experience and sometimes that is just as helpful. The more open I am about my struggle with anxiety the more people I meet that are struggling with the same thing. I hope that in some way you find a renewed sense of hope in this post. While I may not know your name, know that I am praying for you.
So you are reading this article and feel like you can relate- This paragraph is for you: Have you ever noticed that worry seems to take on the snowball affect. It begins with one thing and next thing you know you find yourself in the midst of a anxiety attack. Everyone has different triggers for their anxiety, from financial to marital to health and every thing between. For some people you worry about yourself, for others it is for your family and friends. I want you to take a minute and think, what is it that worries me the most? I believe my biggest struggle is fear of the unknown. I mean hey, if I had all the answers for life I could really worry a lot less. Of course I am positive I could still find something else to worry about. One of the things that helps me the most is to take a piece of paper and write down some of my biggest struggles, being sure to take things as individual events and not one big picture of your life- for example I recently had a wisdom tooth taken out, this was my first tooth to ever be removed and going in to this not knowing at all what would happen I spent the entire week before operating at a 12 on the anxiety scale (of 1-10). I was worried about everything, you would have thought It was the stone ages and I was the first person to ever have a tooth pulled. The morning of the procedure I arrived to the office and spoke with the nurse about what was going to happen and what to expect. Because the tooth had already come in it was able to be removed with just some local numbing and looking back on it now I see how this was a blessing as I was able to be awake and alert for the whole procedure and see how not-big-of-a-deal it really was. Because this procedure was the week of Thanksgiving and I work retail I was only able to be out for the day of the pulling and then it was back to work for long days. I do think that this combined with a dry socket contributed to the painfully long and anxiety ridden healing. There were many sleepless, painful nights that would spend thinking how will I ever learn to adjust to this pain and cope with it for the rest of my life. 14 sleepless nights, 1 hungry thanksgiving, three 24 count bottles of Ibuprofen, two weeks and a black Friday at work later I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It had finally passed and I was rejoicing at the healing that had taken place. I often look back at this event as a reminder of hope. In the midst of this I was sure that it was how my life would be, I would never be pain free again. I was sure that the doctors and nurses had made some mistake, they were telling me it was normal but surely it wasn’t. I like to take this same format for other areas of anxiety in my life I have over come, while these questions may seem juvenile and may not be the most effective for everyone I have found them to be a great way to slow my mind and focus on one thing.
1. Describe the situation.
2. Give a brief description of your biggest fear/worry regarding the situation.
3. On a scale of 1-10 rate how realistic these fears are?
4. Who is someone that you can talk to about this?
5. If this situation was reversed and someone you knew was worrying about this what advice would you give them?
6. What does the bible say about this?
7. Pray about it.
I will not lie to you, the journey to overcome anxiety is long and treacherous, there are many tears. But remember, Rome was not built in a day, it is the small victories over the little battles with anxiety that give you the momentum to tackle the big things. It’s know that every tear that you cry is held in the hand of the Creator. His timing is perfect and His grace and mercy is new every morning. Take each day step by step, being thankful for the good and consistent things in your life. Know this, you are not alone.
If you are reading this post and know that anxiety is not something you struggle with you probably know someone who does and this paragraph is for you: Anxiety can be hard to deal with and even harder to admit. Often times people who struggle with anxiety feel like they are being a burden in talking to you about it. I encourage you to take the time to listen to what your friend or family member is saying. To you it may seem ridiculous but to someone else it could be a big deal. Your encouragement and support can go a long way. Never underestimate the power of your words, whether that be for good or bad. Please do not misunderstand me, there is a difference between supporting and enabling. Take account of your actions to ensure that you are aiding in the progress and not hindering. I am sure whoever it is that is struggling with anxiety is glad to have a friend who cares.
I am so grateful for you taking the time to read this. I hope in some small way it has helped. Remember, those first small steps are crucial to conquer the big things.