Big waves, Stronger Winds
Don’t let it take over, its in your head
Silence the storm – T.T.
The constant pinging worry in the back of your mind. It hits you like a storm mid-day. 10 minutes ago you were strolling along walking to class minding your business, then–BOOM! The anxiety hits. You don’t know when it’ll hit, but when it does your whole demeanor changes. Anxiety is hard to describe because it’s so different for everyone. But for me it’s suffocating. It feels like someone has their hands around my throat and they won’t let go. I worry constantly about things that I don’t need to be worrying about. I second guess, I doubt, I have panic attacks. It sucks. Anxiety fills you with a bunch of “what if’s.” A bunch of fear- filled irrational “what if’s.” What if I fail this test next week…what if I don’t wake up in the morning…what if I don’t graduate college…what if I get sick because I touched something dirty? Most people don’t know I even have anxiety. Because if you know anything about me, I keep things to myself. I hate feeling like I’m burdening people with my heap of trash that is–my problems. I like to think I can handle things on my own, but truthfully thats a cliche response. A lot of others do the exact same thing. I’m human, and as much as I like to think I can always escape the storm, sometimes I can’t. It engulfs me into its treacherous waves. Sometimes–just sometimes, the storm lets up, and for a split second I’m okay; but soon enough it starts all over again.
Something I’ve slowly learned how to do is silence the storm. But how? How do you control a storm? How do you release anxietys grip from around your throat? If you’ve read any of my blogs you know, I’m religious. *And if thats not your thing then I’d just skip this whole paragraph. Id love for you to read it and gather some insight on what this whole Jesus thing is like, but if not, thats cool too!* So anyways, the first thing I do is pray. Its pretty simple actually. For me, talking to God helps me with a lot of things I’m dealing with. Talking to God calms me down, its comforting knowing that He is listening and cares. And while He may not give me a direct answer at that exact moment, I know that in time I will receive what I’ve been praying about. Philippians 4:6 says this: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. We are in intimate, permanent union with Jesus, and to get to us, anxiety must first find its way through Jesus. So what God promises us isn’t just a quick fix. Prayer is a technique that will bring you calm until you get through the crisis. It helps you weather the storm. In times of trial, you draw near to the God, you focus on His grace to you in Christ Jesus; you pour out your heart to Him, and the result is, His peace stands guard over your heart and mind. So when anxiety begins to take over I step back and tell myself to stand firm in my faith. Because truthfully anxiety makes you distance yourself from Jesus. But what Paul discovers is that Jesus isn’t saying that we as Christians will live a worry-free life, because thats not practical or real. But, instead what you should take from this is that in times of stress and worry, you should pray to Jesus and cast all of your worries on him instead of letting the anxiety take over your body like a cold.
Since we do not always gain an immediate response from prayer, there are also other things I do to help with my anxiety. First of all, breathe. Sometimes the storm is rough, and the winds are powerful and you can forget to breathe. I get panic attacks, so focusing on breathing is key so I’m not hyperventilating. Telling myself to calm down is something I’ve perfected. When you’ve finally calmed down, you don’t feel those hands around your throat anymore, and you’re in the eye of the storm–you can breathe. You are in control of your mind. Training yourself to just breathe can be the best thing you do. Now, my new years resolution was to eat healthy, and gain muscle. And surprisingly Ive kept at this for a whole month, which is further than Ive ever gotten. But that’s a whole different blog. Last semester I felt like I was at a 15 every single day. And by 15, I mean my worry, my panic, basically everything hitting me as hard as it could. A 15. The storm never let up, and those hands never let go of my throat. But something Ive noticed is that since I’ve started working out my days are more of a 2 or 3 depending on other factors. Lifting for me, is my escape from everything. It’s like my storm cellar. My happy place. I go in the gym and forget about everything. Now I’m not telling you to go out and start lifting, but I do encourage you to at least get in a 15 minute run on the treadmill or really anywhere. Not only could it hep with your anxiety, but your body benefits from it as well. I encourage you to find something–anything that helps you escape anxietys grip on your life. It could be cooking, reading, writing whatever you can do to sit back and just chill. I know just “chilling,” isn’t something that comes easy with anxiety–at all. But if theres anything that can be done to bring comfort to your mind and yourself, do it.
Anxiety is a real illness. It comes and goes day by day, and symptoms are different for everyone. But I can tell you that having it sucks. It will get better though. Find little things that you enjoy doing and let that be your escape. Because if you stand there in the midst of the storm, it’ll blow you over. Don’t let it. You will have good days and you will have really bad ones, but it gets better. One day the storm will die down and silence. Soon enough those hands gripping you around the neck will cramp and have no choice but to let go.
Disclaimer: * By no means am I certified to be telling anyone how to deal with a real mental illness, but I thought I’d share some ways I deal with it that aren’t medication and may help others. Hope you guys enjoyed reading!*