Monday, January 25, 2010

Hello, Anxiety

In the last year or so I've begun struggling with anxiety. I'm not talking about worry (I've always dealt with that to some extent, we all do), I'm talking about anxiety - mind racing, fixating on things with an intensity that you know is *well* more than what's merited, maybe a bit of trouble breathing, definately trouble sleeping, etc. I don't know that I've had any full-on panic attacks, but I've had a few panicky sob-fests that freaked me out pretty thoroughly :}

Yesterday I woke up with my alarm and couldn't get back to sleep. (Normally I'm one of those "hit snooze and I'm back to sleep before my head hits the pillow" kind of gals.) And apparently the thing keeping me awake was what I would pack to wear for the conference I'm attending later this week.

Really??

Yep. I praise God for extending His mercy and giving me some outfit ideas - and I promise you I know how silly it sounds that I was this stressed about "outfits".

But after that I was still feeling anxious. My mind just wouldn't stop picking at me. I eventually went into the room across the hall (where I've set up a little "den" for myself...it's quite cozy). I think I wound up praying. Eventually I realized my anxiety had lifted and left exhaustion in its place.

Then last night as I was trying to go to sleep I realized my anxiety had returned. I don't think it was as stressful as what I'd experienced in the morning, but I still couldn't get to sleep. The "outfit" thing was still bothering me a little as were a few other things - all pretty small or unlikely things.

Around 1 (an hour after I went to bed) I got back up and returned to my "den". I pulled out my guitar and a couple worship tunes and sang through those. Then I emailed a friend to tell her what was going on and ask for prayer. I doubt she got the email then but I wanted her to know what was going on and, given that anxiety and I are becoming good friends, assumed I'd still need those prayers by the time she did see my email.

After that I decided to journal what I was worrying about - maybe I just needed to see things on paper so I could look for truths that countered the lies that had me feeling so anxious.

I was still feeling stressed and it was about 2 at this point so I decided to go ahead and get a shower. I'd been putting that off for the morning but I decided that, with as little sleep as it looked like I'd be getting, I wasn't likely to have time in the morning. Plus I thought the hot water might be soothing.

Nope, still anxious and awake :}

I was back to sitting in my den again, preparing for one last go at putting myself to sleep (and if that failed to give up and try to get some work done) when God, in His mercy, provided the truths I needed to remember in that moment:

God has promised to never leave me (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6)
He has promised to always love me (Romans 8:31-39)
He is a God who keeps His promises (Hebrews 10:23)

Those truths cut through the anxious thoughts and, reciting those 3 things to myself, I went back to bed and finally got to sleep.

Those truths aren't some kind of magic formula for fighting anxiety, but they were what God used last night to silence mine.

If you struggle with anxiety, can I encourage you to keep fighting the fight, to keep praying, asking for prayer, worshipping God (who is always worthy of worship), hiding His word in your heart, etc.? For our battle is not against flesh and blood ( Ephesians 6:10-18).

Lord God, please grant us the grace & strength, in you, to keep on fighting and encouraging one another in the fight.

3 comments:

  1. Love you friend. Lunch date soon!!!! I'm praying for your anxiety to be lifted.

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  2. Thank you for the encouragement & prayers ladies!

    ReplyDelete