Dear husband, mom, dad, grandma, best friends, blog readers, strangers — all y’all,
A few days ago I was in a funk and couldn’t pin point why. I felt anxious, which is weird because in my previous blog post I shared how my anxiety had been at an all-time low, and nothing had changed since then.
I wasn’t sure why my insides felt so tangled up. I mean, my entire weekend had been wonderful. Not an ounce of real stress or drama or anything that would cause a person to feel “off,” yet here I was.
It made me want to be alone, so I went to the beach by myself.
While I was there, I felt guilty. Guilty for wanting to be alone, for getting short with E, for saying too much, and for not saying enough.
Really, I felt guilty for being me.
This led to frustration and sadness.
I also felt anxious that I was feeling anxious. (Trust me, I wanted to shake myself and say “quit it, right now!” too.)
I began to overthink everything.
And by everything I mean literally EVERYTHING.
What am I forgetting? Did they have fun this weekend? Should I have done more? Why didn’t I say less? Did I offend him? What’s being said behind my back? I suck at calling friends back. I bet she doesn’t even miss me. Why is everyone announcing they’re pregnant? What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I want to have kids yet? When will be the right time? I don’t know what the future holds. What if I get fired from my new job? Does my boss even like me? I never cook good meals. Is E happy with me? From now on I’m going to cancel plans and read. How can I get out of that next weekend?
Thoughts bustled around in my mind.
It probably doesn’t make much sense to many of you, I know, but hear me out.
Anxiety is real.
I’m not referring to your normal bout of nerves before a job interview or a first date. Those nerves are healthy; a normal response to new and uncomfortable situations.
Anxiety is not the same as nerves.
Obsessive thoughts, yeah those are my normal. Accompanied by feelings of panic, I’m often unable to focus in a simple conversation because my mind is too busy racing with worry and gazillion thoughts. I try to shake it off and when I sense someone is noticing I apologize for being overly stimulated. Act normal, Manda.
At first I was writing this to tell you “here’s how I’m coping with my daily anxiety,” but it seemed silly to tell you that exercise, counseling, self-help books, and a tiny pill can help when anyone who struggles with anxiety already knows that and has tried those things. Plus, all of my close friends and family already know that I cope through a combination of those things.
Instead, I’ve decided to write this letter to share a new thought with you…
For starters, I’m no longer going to be embarrassed or apologetic for my anxiety.
Nothing is more freeing than transparency, I’ve learned, and this is who I am. I won’t feel guilty or ashamed. I don’t care if you think I’m weird.
Also, I’m not going to throw a pity party for myself anymore either. I’m done allowing anxiety to be my crutch and my excuse.
If anything, the aftermath of my anxiety always leads me to recognize how needy and dependent I am on The Lord.
Which, in today’s world do you ever find yourself needy or dependent on God?
If I’m being honest, I don’t.
I have everything I need – a home, food, a job, money, etc. You get the point.
It’s easy (even natural) to live my life here in America, in the 21st century, as a middle-class white woman with no desperation or need to rely on God.
All this to say, at least my anxiety keeps me grounded. It’s humbling.
It’s my anchor to the One who is sufficient.