I never really thought I had or dealt with anxiety because I don’t get panic attacks, break out in the trembles, or experience the complete paralysis due to fear that I know some do. My experience with anxiety has taken on the subtle, creep-up-on-you-without-you-knowing-it form–boooo. I realized that me wanting to hide under my covers and hoping that whatever burden or worries I had would be gone by the time I resurfaced was my version of being anxious. Sometimes tears would accompany these blanket-over-the-head hideouts. Other times, they’d come with a side of heavy numbness (again, i’m a feeler, so if life gets cray, I have been known to shut down as a coping mechanism).
Thankfully, these seasons of life aren’t plenty, but I have had them and was recently in one. Having a newborn as well as a young toddler and not knowing how to care for both at the same time, not getting enough sleep, not feeling like I could keep it (whatever it is) all together, not being entirely certain how all our hospital bills would get paid, and just not having answers to some of our bigger life questions left me in that place of wanting to dive under the covers–and stay there. This most recent spurt of anxiety and heaviness also had me feeling like I didn’t want to be needed–not by my kids, not by my husband, not by anyone. I wanted to be selfish and just wallow in my crap. Then in the midst of those not-so-good, isolating feelings, it dawned on me (more like slapped me in the face): Wait a second….that doesn’t sound like me. Well, DUH self, it’s because it isn’t!
That just showed me that I was in a serious funk, and that I needed to get out STAT because that place is toxic, and unfortunately, it can also be contagious (what I mean by that is that if mama’s feeling like that, it’s definitely going to affect everyone else).
Things that helped:
(I want to preface this by saying that these are just things I do that help me when i’m feeling anxious. By no means am I approaching this subject from a clinical or professional perspective.)
Talk to someone:
Air that ish out. Get it in the open. Cast it out. Even though real life can get tough, sometimes the root of the anxiety is a total lie rooted in fear. I know that when I bring things like that to light, the power that it has is lost. Talking to someone also reminds you that you’re not alone–Amen to that.
Deep, cleansing breaths. Doing this helps me slow down the vortex of thoughts and decreases that feeling of helplessness. (In the vein of breathing, diffusing calming essential oils totally helps too.)
I can be wordy (in case you haven’t already noticed–insert sweaty brow smiley face here), but in times like this, I tend to be pretty direct. Lord, help me to abide in your rest. Fill me with your peace. Fear and worry, leave in Jesus’ name. On repeat if necessary.
This may seem cheesy. But the power of gratitude is real. I’ve noticed that my anxiety can sometimes come from dissatisfaction in my current situation or dissatisfaction about what the future appears to be given my current circumstances. Getting my heart right helps big time.
One of the hardest things for me to do is to be present. It’s a discipline for me to practice this in hopes that it becomes second nature. Being present forces me to be in the now, which is real and tangible versus not being present and freaking out about the unknown (ugh, I hate not knowing). A friend of mine sent me a card with this in it: “Now is the moment that my grace is alive and fresh.” God is all about the present. He completely fills the now with all that He is, and He gives us complete access to Him–His love, His peace, His joy, etc… When I got that card in the mail, I was in one of those funks where I wanted to be in my own little cocoon, and those words hit me hard. It’s what I needed. If the Father is giving me this moment, then He’ll give me all that I need to thrive in this moment. Glory.
Oy, that felt like a long rant of sorts, but I felt the need to get this all out. Since those anxious places can be so isolating and lonely feeling, I wanted to share some of my experience in hopes that it brings someone encouragement. Some days are beyond hard, but it’s so much easier knowing that you’re not alone. And sometimes that’s all it takes to remind you that there’s hope–and where there’s hope, there’s life.
Here are some songs that have blessed me at different times when i’ve experienced these anxious funks:
If you’re having one of those days, or if you’re in one of those seasons, I hope and pray that you know you’re not alone and that you’re loved.