Do not be anxious for anything, but in every situation, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Defining my anxiety
If you asked me years ago how to define anxiety, I couldn’t give you an answer. I didn’t know what anxiety was until it started to take hold of me. I have always been a calm soul. I didn’t that I had anything to worry about and managed to live a rather carefree life.
When I was about 15 years old, my grandmother died. As I sit here blogging, the one thing that stands out to to me is that I didn’t cry. I remember visiting her in hospital after she had been in a bad car accident. Seeing her in the state she was in, I didn’t shed a tear. I walked out of that hospital like nothing had happened and life went on as normal. After a string of traumatic events, I believe my anxiety manifested itself because I tried to be strong for too long. Being anxious meant living with a flood of thoughts in my head- all bad thoughts each and everyday and I felt as if I couldn’t stop myself from thinking these thoughts.
My anxiety came about as a result of broken down relationships, stress, loss of people who were close to me and also as a result of not dealing with the trauma I had experienced earlier on in life. As I became older, I started to become weighed down by the cares of life. Trying to balance work and family life further contributed to my anxiety. I struggled to make use of the networks and support that God had already provided for me. I dealt with my personal struggles on my own and didn’t ask for help. I believe that God places certain people in our lives for a reason. We aren’t meant to do life on our own. We have a network of family and friends and I am thankful for the people that God has placed in my life.
Anxiety ruled my day to day life
Each morning as soon as I would wake , a flood of anxious thoughts would fill my head. All the things that could possibly go wrong that day, the fear of something bad happening to my children and family, the fear of losing my job over a silly mistake, it was endless. As these thoughts started to flood my head each and every day, eventually I stopped seeing the joy in life. Without realising, my worries began to send me into a depression, however, I didn’t know that I was depressed. I functioned with everyday life pretty well and there were no obvious signs. I took care of my family the best way I knew how but I didn’t do very well when it came to looking after myself.
I would constantly have this sinking feeling that something bad would happen to someone I loved. This feeling stayed with me for a few years. My anxiety affected my family relationships and I tried to find ways to survive and keep my head from going under water each and everyday. It was hard work! I remember how I used exercise as a coping mechanism although it never fully took my anxiety away, it would mask the feelings and symptoms of anxiety because exercise gave me a focus. When I think about it, it would have made more sense to speak to someone I trusted. The problem with silence is that if you remain silent, fears become bigger than they really are. This how the enemy uses these opportunities to instill more fear. Fear is the biggest liar of all.
How God began to heal me
I started to believe anxiety was a part of me and that my only option was to accept that it would never go away and to learn to live with it. However, I came to realise that this wasn’t God’s plan for me.
First, God showed me where my anxiety stemmed from – the years of trauma that I had not yet dealt with and the many years of pretending to be OK. In order for me to heal, I would need to deal with the root causes of where my anxiety stemmed from.
As God started to gently deal with each and every trauma from the past that had not been acknowledged, I started to realise that anxiety was no longer a heavy burden that I was carrying around. Suddenly it was not so hard. Days would pass without anxious thoughts and episodes. Eventually weeks would pass and I would struggle to remember the last time I had an ‘anxious’ episode. I started to noticed that I had joy – something I never fully had before on a daily basis. The more God healed each wound the further anxiety started to move away from me and my the light in me that was once dim began to shine within. I started to grow closer to God and eventually all the anxiety I had struggled with over a period of 5 years felt quite distant.
Being anxiety-free and what it means
To say out loud that I have been set free from anxiety feels like a dream only because I never believed I would be set free. There was a time I believed I would carry this burden for the rest of my life. It truly feels like God did an enormous miracle in life. I have lived in my anxiety state of mind for a number of years and at times I have to be reminded that I have in fact been set free and I am no longer a prisoner in my mind. God has given me a new way of thinking -one that is anxiety-free and I have to rejoice and live in freedom.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17