I was going to do a post on how I de-stress (have a cup of tea, warm bath, all that) but recently I have been experiencing anxiety that isn’t going to just be cured by buying a pet bunny and giving it a cuddle (that is actually a really fun idea though). For that reason, I thought I would write about dealing with the more intense stress/anxiety instead. The kind that keeps you up for hours, gives you a sick feeling in your stomach all day, convinces you that you’re going crazy, etc.
I still don’t really know what to do about it but I have had a few thoughts recently which I am going to write below. To be honest, I am kind of hoping that writing all this down brings me to some kind of revelation… and I have already had the bunny idea so things are looking good.
I’ve seen counsellors, kinesiologists, taken medication, listened to hypnosis downloads, I’ve done tapping, meditation, yoga, eaten chocolate, etc, etc… and I was so much better, I actually felt normal again. But this year I have gone slightly back downhill and it wasn’t until about a week ago that I realised it was just the wakeup call I needed. I started to think that maybe all of the nights not being able to sleep were God keeping me up to talk to Him, to actually pay some attention to the right things. When I get anxious, rather than reading the bible to gain the wisdom I need to cope, I tend to distract myself with YouTube or TV. It feels like the only thing that can take my mind off things. But it only ever works for a short amount of time.
There are so many verses in the bible that tell us not to be afraid or anxious about anything and while I have been experiencing all of this anxiety, I have been wondering how I am meant to just not be anxious. A quote recently came into my mind, one that gets said a lot and is easy to give little thought to because we hear it so much. “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil 4:8). If we are reading and studying the bible often, we will naturally start thinking about what we have read more and more throughout the day. We will start thinking about things that are pure and lovely and honest, etc. and there won’t be room for pointless worry. I haven’t been reading my bible enough and as a result, my brain has been left to its own anxious tendencies. I have ended up with a mind that just spins around day in and day out freaking out about all of the terrible things that might happen in my life, and how I am going to deal with the things that are happening.
Something else I have learnt about myself is that I tend to awfulise things. When you’re in the depths of anxiety, thinking about how horrible your situation is is about the worst thing you can do. Instead, I have been trying to turn the situation around. We are told to ‘…count it all joy’ when we face trials (James 1:2). In order to feel joyful about trials, I have been asking myself, what can I gain from this anxiety? Well one, I’ve got another blog post out of it 🙂 But I have also regained focus as well as a number of other things. We are supposed to be shaped and moulded so that we are fit vessels for God’s kingdom. If I can learn just one thing from what I am facing that can change me in a positive way, then that is a reason to rejoice.
One final thing on that note. Things may seem awful now, but as Jesus says, “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” – John 16:21-22.
Cover photo from Devin at Catastrophe Geek.
UPDATE: Just saw this post on Instagram today and thought it was pretty relevant 🙂