The last four days my anxiety has reared its head in ways that it hasn't since a year and a half ago. I've had a bit of a cold. Post nasal drip, sore ears, congested chest and utter exhaustion. My mind, racing, overanalyzing every symptom, has convinced me that it is not simply a cold, but cancer. The anxiety has an impressive ability to make me believe it. And so for the last couple days I have been convinced of my imminent death. It probably sounds like I am exaggerating, but I assure you, I am not. Anxiety is powerful and can quickly take over the more reasonable parts of my mind. As you can imagine, thinking of my ultimate demise has not made for the best days. It's been scary, depressing and hopeless.
Yesterday I sat in Josh's easy chair during quiet time praying, begging God, to please release me from this constant fear. I just want to live my life unafraid. As I prayed, a bible location was whispered in my ear. I assure you that I am not the type to know where certain things are in the bible. I can tell you many a bible story, but not where they are located.
"Psalm 131," the voice whispered.
I wasn't even sure Psalm had 131 chapters. But I opened my Precious Moments bible that I got as an 8 year old from my parents and flipped to Psalms. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
Simple Trust in the LORD
... surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with his mother...
The antidote to my anxiety is trust.
The cure for my fear is hope.
After my bible verse experience, I decided that I needed to admit that my anxiety was real, and likely here to stay for a while. So as I prepared for bed, I lay in the sheets and re-read my favorite anxiety book. (It's maybe sad that I have a favorite anxiety book... but I choose to look at it as great that I have such a tool in my arsenal.) What struck me were these underlined passages:
"You are trying to find your way back to the person you used to be. You can recover and enjoy life again."
"[Anxious] people have physical symptoms as a more or less constant background to their days."
Face // Accept // Float // Let Time Pass
"But it is not easy to face, accept and let time pass."
"Sleep is an excellent healer."
"Calm acceptance, despite delayed recovery, is your goal."
"In the meantime she must be occupied and let each day pass without watching her own reactions and analyzing her feelings."
"It is important only to realize that tomorrow is another day and could be the best yet, however upsetting yesterday or today may have been."
And finally, the third inspiration I had to make today a better day was this quote:
I only have today.
Hell is being somewhere when you wish you were somewhere else. I have two months left here in the village. Two months of homeschooling, caring for my family and being a wife. I don't want every one of those days to be miserable. Even though I am really excited to see my family, desperate to be in the city, surrounded by my people after the year of heartache I have had, I don't want to waste our days in the meantime. So I woke up today, determined to make the best of my Tuesday. And so far, I'm off to a great start.
I'm not sure why my walk in life has had to include anxiety. Everyday I wish I didn't have it. But the fact is, I do. I pay too much attention to my body; I am terrified of dying; and I suffer panic attacks at the most inopportune times (like while going through security at the airport). But I am grateful in this journey to have God; amazing professionals like my counselor, and Claire Weekes; as well as both friends & family who help see me through it.