Nobody likes to talk about anxiety. Nobody likes to admit to having flaws, especially not those of the mental kind. Despite knowing more about mental health in this day and age than ever before, there still seems to be a stigma around it. I’ve been thinking about my childhood a lot lately. Long, dark, winter days are good for thinking and lamenting. It is true that I am an introvert, which can often be mistaken for shy, which I was as a child, painfully shy. But as I think back on those days, I question whether I was really shy or not. If I knew then what I know now, if my parents knew then what the world knows now, I’m pretty sure I would have been diagnosed with anxiety. Social anxiety, situational anxiety, panic attacks… These are just a few things that I can think of when I look back on my early childhood. The unexplained stomach aches in the morning before school, the racing heart at night when lying in bed and wondering what happens to a person after they die, the nervousness of walking into a crowded room, school bus, party… Some of this disappeared as a teenager only to reemerge in my twenties and then again with a vengeance in my thirties when I had adrenal fatigue. Anxiety is a very real feeling and it loomed over me the last few days as I dreaded driving into Boston for my sons track meet. Despite having GPS, it did not calm my nerves about an unfamiliar route at rush hour. I didn’t want to go and I tried to think of who I could catch a ride with so I wouldn’t have to drive. I even decided it would be ok not to go, and it totally would have been ok not to go. But-BUT- anxiety needs to be controlled and to not control me. So, I decided last night that I would go and then this morning and throughout my day I also decided not to think about it. The mind is a tricky thing. It can take you on a rollercoaster that you never anticipated going on. You can be sitting and reading a book and then all of a sudden realize that your mind took you in a totally different direction and you have no idea what you just read or why your mind started to entertain certain thoughts. Back when my adrenals crashed, driving was a huge trigger for me to have panic attacks. I don’t know why. But once I had one while I was driving, my brain just went there, and when you get yourself all worked up, it is really hard to turn back. And just like that, the very thought of driving invoked fear. I had an anxiety attack in a restaurant once, which caused me to be afraid about going to restaurants. I was afraid of anxiety. And for a season, a rather long season, fear controlled me. The past few days when I was anxious about this drive, I had to just say, I’m going. My sweet son told me that I didn’t have to. I looked at him and said, “sometimes you need to do things that scare you to show yourself that you can do it and to make it easier for next time.” Again, he told me that I didn’t have to. To which I only said, I’ll be there. And I did. I got there, and I was ok. I wasn’t nervous or anxious. I left it all at the feet of Jesus today. I felt victorious today and that is what I set out to feel. If I live my life in fear, I’m not really living. I had to realize, if the worst thing that can happen is that I have a panic attack, it will be ok. It will not kill me, nor will it last forever, though in that moment it feels like it does. I’m so thankful for all of the coping mechanisms I have acquired over the years, the supports that I have, and to my God for helping me to come out victorious on the other side. I have heard it said before that faith is the antidote for fear. Though I have a strong faith, I still struggle with fear and anxiety, but I now know that I must make a choice about what I am going to believe. Am I going to believe what God says or am I going to believe what fear and anxiety tell me? You may not want to talk about anxiety. I know I don’t want to talk about it, but here it is, plain and simple. I’m not writing this to share my victory, I’m writing this to share God’s victory, how he has helped me to overcome. I hope this will help someone today. If you struggle with fear and anxiety, you are not alone.
I'm a fire wife to Kenny, mom to 3 active boys ages 10, 8, 6. I love Jesus, my family, reading, writing, bible study, working out, cooking and baking, watching movies, listening to music, walking on the beach, laughing with friends, and eating bacon.