It’s interesting (or weird!) to talk about the thing you dislike most about yourself online. It’s like shouting here is my weakness for all the world to see. And yet…it’s not a weakness. And the last thing I want any young adult or not so young adult to feel after happening upon my writing is that there is something wrong with them.
There isn’t anything wrong with you or me or the person sitting next to you.
Anxiety isn’t a choice in my world. I’ve really never been without it. But in recent years, I’ve worked hard to understand it’s role in my life. To understand why I experience the thoughts and feelings that I do. And to stop judging myself for experiencing them.
Side note: I think medicine is wonderful, and I’m so happy when I hear stories of people being helped by it. That’s just not the focus of my current musings. I’m just processing my own stuff. 😊
I’ve figured out that my anxiety usually has a source, a purpose, a reason to exist in my life, my body. Something is going on. And I have to figure out what.
What is your anxiety telling you?
In my most recent bout of anxiety, it was telling me to slow down. To respect my body even if that body feels weak or slow or sluggish to me. It was telling me that what I see as weakness isn’t that. It’s simply that we’re all made different, and the limits of what I can accomplish might be less than the person next to me. Or they may simply feel less than the person next to me.
It turns out—my anxiety is often right. Not in the panic it can create—that part is the worst—but in its reasoning.
When I experience anxiety, I will think or sometimes even say out loud: Okay, you’re here for a reason. What is it? And then I dive deep to the source. And usually the source makes sense. Maybe something is dangerous, I don’t feel prepared, I need to redo something, or a I need to say no to something. Maybe I even need to remove myself from a situation. Technically my body is right a lot of the time. Our bodies are definitely trying to tell us something.
And if we listen, then we can figure out a plan through it.
If my body is saying this is too much—you can’t handle all of this at once—then once I listen to it, I can break that thing into smaller pieces. I can decide which pieces are important and have to be done and which can be left until later or maybe not even accomplished at all.
If I listen to my body, I can decipher if everything it’s trying to tell me is true OR if part of it is true and part is panic. Maybe the source is right, but the panic blurs the logic and so it becomes HUGE.
I don’t know how I’m going to solve this problem! It’s too big! It’s too much! versus This is a big problem and I’m not sure how to solve it, but I have a God who does. A God who is waiting for me to ask for help and friends who will support me and family who will understand, then the very big thing becomes a smaller more manageable thing. It doesn’t make the problem disappear. It normalizes it. Makes it less a monster under the bed and more a pile of dirty laundry that needs to be dealt with.
I guess I’m just here to say two things: 1) you’re not alone if you struggle with anxiety 2) there is nothing wrong with you if you struggle with anxiety (all the emphasis here!) and 3) our anxiety is trying to tell us something. If we let it, then maybe it won’t get the best of us.
Okay that was three things. I’ve never been great with math!
And here is a fourth thing—I love all of you anxiety fighters out there. You’re not in this battle alone!
Drop a note if you’d like to be prayed for. No need to list what’s going on. Just know you’re being prayed over.