The following four descriptions are from an article titled “31 Secrets of People Who Live With Anxiety” (via the themighty.com):
“Even though we look OK on the outside, our anxiety is wreaking havoc on our insides.” — Cynthia Adams McGrath
“I’m being attacked by something I can’t escape from.” — Sherri Paricio Bornhoft
“No matter how irrational I may sound, it’s real to me.” — Lorri Smith
“My mind is my enemy, so I need you on my side. Sometimes I even need you to fight alongside me.” — Erin Farmer-Perrine
I have OCD/Anxiety. Nothing new, I’ve written about this before. But at this point in my life a lot of my OCD/Anxiety feels internalized and I have gotten so preoccupied with real life that my openness about it has sort of diminished. And then it sneaks up on me again, sometimes when I’m stressed for ten different reasons, and I try to carry the weight on my own shoulders. On the outside I look like a pretty normal person. I try to pretend I am because it helps me feel better and I want to help people and not bring them down with me.
But sometimes it’s a vicious war and if someone took a day-trip inside of my head they would see me checking the “mental” locks, “straightening” my frame of thought, or trying to “wash” my “hands” from the feeling of guilt and regret. One “what-if” follows another, a sequence of absent-minded prayers for forgiveness string along through the day, and I talk myself down even though I try to look tough.
Whereas I feel like I have made progress over the years in learning how to ignore the anxiety and dismiss unhealthy thoughts I still have to fight really hard some days to have a good attitude and channel the energy the right way. Sometimes it is really exhausting and it feels like I want a vacation from everything and everyone but the truth is that I wish I could trade brains with someone for a day just to see how it felt.
There are days when I get sick of it. I get sick of feeling impaired or broken or less of a person than someone else. When my anxiety peaks my thoughts will range from “Maybe you need therapy after all,” to “Maybe you’re making all of this up just to get attention” to “Maybe you’re sicker than you thought you were” to “Maybe all of the anxieties are true and you should be worried .” I don’t always know for sure what the case is, but I’ve learned that sometimes it’s okay not to know and that sometimes the best thing to do is dumb it down to this: “You’re over-stimulated. Chill. Breathe. Walk it out. Move on.”
I don’t always tell people about the worst days. The days when the anxiety and negative thoughts are so loud that it’s almost like everything around me is screaming at me to get away. I’ll feel irritated even just to see my name and think about who it represents. I’ll look at the pairs of shoes I have scattered on the floor and feel shame just because they remind me of myself. I’ll look up in the mirror and see somebody I don’t want to be. It’s not always like that. Just when it’s at it’s worst. And I have to ask myself if it’s worth it, why I even keep trying, why I try to be responsible and help others when I am so broken myself. It makes me feel like a hypocrite. Sometimes I just want to pack my car and run away and not tell anybody where I am until I find out how to be the kind of person I want to be. Seriously. I daydream about that when I’m stressed.
Heavy stuff, right?
So what on earth is the point of sharing all of this?
The point is that I choose to stay and fight.
Why do I stay?
Why don’t I just pack it up and quietly conquer my fears once and for all while no one is watching?
Because that life is a lie.
As soon as you give up your friends and family and God and everything that grounds you as a person, you give up your freedom. You give up yourself. You let anxiety win. You run off to find answers only to leave more holes. Let me be specific:
My 8-5 job on Monday through Friday is challenging but it keeps me free from being aimless and idle. Church services on Sunday and Wednesday renews me from the wear and tear of this physical life and holds me accountable because I know people will miss me if I’m gone. My spiritual pursuits require me to be honest and separate fear from truth and minimizes my anxieties, even those that are spiritually based. My closest family and friends help me release the shackles from my mind (even when they have no idea how much they help). My self-respect pushes me to use the name my parents gave me to be the person God made me to be. Deciding to trust in God gives me a reason to do all of it.
And when all is said and done, and I see my anxiety face to face, I see that maybe it’s something that Satan would try to use against me, to make it about me even though that’s the last thing I really want. I need God. God wants me. And even though no one needs me, we all need each other. I will never let anxiety get the best of me, because that’s how I lose. Instead, I will use it to reach others and to give myself a reason to need God and to grow stronger.
Maybe you just so happen to be in the same place this week and are wondering if it’s really worth it.
I know that this world seems so inconsistent. How can it be that at the same time there is so much hate and love and peace and pain? It doesn’t make sense at face value. But I believe, and I think you can choose to believe too, that someone put us here for a reason that is greater than any ounce of fear or love in us, to prepare us for a better place. I believe that sometimes pain and sickness is God’s way of preparing us to need a solution to a desire that is deep and genuine. And I also believe that if we actually took the time to look we would see a plan and hope all around us.
Your life is not a fight worth losing. It’s a fight worth fighting and God will always, always, always make a winner out of the people who are looking for Him.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison (2 Cor. 4:16)
…We overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. (Rom. 8:37)