Thursday, January 09, 2014

Whom Shall I Fear?

While I'm on a roll of serious posts this week and since we are snowed in AGAIN today and there really isn't much to say but "we are wearing pajamas and coloring pictures and watching a LOT of Disney channel", I thought I would write a post about anxiety.  I mentioned it the other day and I've had a lot of people ask me.

{And it's quite possible you will read this post and decide I'm nuts.  Or you will read this and understand. But I know I'm not alone in this struggle.}

Anxiety is probably my biggest stumbling block.  It's not life debilitating.  I obviously can get out of my house and do anything I want.  I know some people have it so bad they can't leave or can't travel or can't do a lot of things.  Mine is probably on a minor level but it still affects me.

I honestly can't remember a day since I was in college that I haven't woken up with a stomach ache and this weird dreadful, scared feeling.  It gets worse and there are some weeks or months that it's not nearly as bad.  I also wake up pretty much every night between 2 and 3 with irrational worries.  I worry that my girls will get sick.  I worry that I have cancer.  I worry that Scott will die. I worry that Scott will lose his job.  I worry that our car will break down. I worry that something will happen to our parents.  My mind starts racing with a million "what ifs" pretty much every night.  It's almost always in the dark of night.  I don't usually have anxiety worries during the day.  Warfare lives in the darkness and I believe that.

I've even gone to the ER twice in the last 10 years convinced I was having a heart attack.  And it was anxiety.  

I struggle with this so much because I completely trust God.  I do.  I know He will be with us and take care of us (even if something DOES happen that I worry about.)  And I don't want to NOT trust Him by worrying.  This is more than worry's like something that comes from deep inside.

I asked my doctor for medicine last year and tried it VERY briefly but I just decided meds weren't for me.  I DO think if this is something that is keeping you from living a normal life - medicine can help so much.  I'm not giving anyone advice - I'm just sharing my struggle.  And I don't feel like it really affects me except for early in the morning or at night. I'm fairly nice and normal otherwise. ha!

Laurie and I were discussing yesterday on why people around us seem to keep dying or getting sick.  I'm not sure if it's because we are getting older and it's just more common the older you get. But I am almost scared to go to the doctor ever because I'm certain they will diagnose me with a terminal illness.  (I know that sounds ludicrous but it's just my struggle right now.) do I deal?

Honestly what helps me is when I wake up feeling anxious, whether at 6 a.m. or 2 a.m. is I immediately pray.  I just begin to share my fears with God and ask Him to take them away.  I also get up and read my Bible, specifically Psalms. I think David might have struggled with a little anxiety.  If you read  the Psalms, he was crying out to God a lot over his fears and worries.  I usually feel so much better after spending time with God and remembering that He is in control.  Not me.  I can't control whether something is going to happen or not.  But He will be there.

Also I have heard from several people to say "so what" or "and then what" when the "what ifs"
 over take me.  If I worry about financial issues, I try to think of the worst possible scenario and then think of solutions to it.  If I worry about health issues, I try to think of the worst thing that could happen and try to think of how we would deal with it.  Things don't seem so scary when you know you can face them and God gives you grace in every moment.

It also helps that I'm married to a man that pretty much worries about NOTHING.  That's both frustrating and helpful all at the same time.  He is definitely a calm to my storm. 

I know anxiety is something so many people struggle with.  I refuse to live my life in fear and worry.  I try to choose joy every day.  No matter what comes.  I think it's a choice. I also think if it is binding you so that you can't live a normal life - you need to seek counseling and/or medicine.  There is NO SHAME in that.  This is clearly a very common thing.

I don't have a picture or a happy little ending to this post but I wanted to be open so that some of you will know you aren't alone.  

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