Overthinking. Facial numbness. Inner tingling. Shakiness. Heart-racing. Sleeplessness. Vivid dreaming. Double, triple-checking. Headaches.
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? For the past month, I’ve been battling off one or more of these (my) symptoms of anxiety. They came in a beautifully-wrapped package called “New job,” and they stayed for the whole celebration. They didn’t simply exist, but they grew. Each new day, and even on weekends, I’d be consumed with “What if?” thoughts to the point of the left side of my face going numb. I would have been more worried about that, had I not taken a trip to the ER two years prior where after several X-rays and exams, the doctors concluded: Stress. So I couldn’t escape on weekends, and I definitely couldn’t escape in my sleep. I swear, sometimes my dreams are so vivid, it feels like I’m living a second life at night – which is far from restful… So at night I’d be toiling away at paperwork or intakes or database entry which made work seem more like 16 hour days. And NEV-ER END-ING.
It got to the point where the internet was even reading my mind – you know how it does that – place ads on your screen that connect with whatever you might be dealing with at the time? Well, mine showed https://www.recoveryformula.com/quiz/start “Anxiety Test – Do you worry too much?” Through my answers, I received an anxiety score of 52/100, which on their scale meant severe anxiety. Rachel Ramos, apparently connected to the site, now sends me daily emails, checking in on my anxiety – sometimes including helpful tips! (that’s a sarcastic exclamation point…) (in case you couldn’t sense it…)
As the days went on, and Rachel Ramos’s tips somehow left me questioning myself, thus leading to more anxiety, and as my homeopathic aids were not reducing the amount of numbness that stretched along the left side of my face, I realized that I needed a second option.
You see, when it comes to anxiety, in my experience I’ve found that one of two things can be done:
- We can pray that God will get us through it.
- We can pray that God will open a door or window to get us out.
(And maybe sometimes, it’s a little bit of both.)
What we cannot do, is hide from our anxiety in distractions. I found that even in attempts to watch TV or movies to find some level of peace, that I would still be distracted from my overthinking, or even numbness. It was even hard to focus during my prayer/God time. The only way out is always through, which sometimes is through a window leading in a completely different direction. (Thank God!) (not a sarcastic exclamation point…)
In hopes of not being a quitter, I tried both. For two days short of a month, I tried to power through: cutting down on a caffeine, taking the suggested dosage of my homeopathic aids, and praying, seeking God’s will, and praying some more. And then I had a really bad Tuesday. Two bourbons deep (more like four…) I realized that I needed to try plan B: Find an escape route. I mean, I told God if He decided to grant me a last minute passion or peace for the job, I would give it a second chance, but an open door or window leading in a different direction would be much appreciated too. GET ME OUT NOW! please. And… thank You.
Now in the second option there comes a mandatory action-stepping. There were moments of lingering anxiety where I questioned if I was doing what I thought God wanted me to do. If I had stayed in that frame-of-mind, I would have stood frozen and could have missed my opportunity to escape. I hope you don’t find me too pushy, as I’m speaking as someone overly experienced in the area of “Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?” when I say that sometimes we simply need to start moving in a direction, any direction. Believe me when I say, God will redirect that movement if and when is necessary ::ahem Colorado:: ::ahem this job:: So when I got over myself and my “should’s”, I found doors, I didn’t even know existed, opening as I knocked.
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” -Matthew 7:7-8 (ESV)
In less than a week, I had two interviews scheduled, and with the help of my kind extended family, I found myself accepting a job two days after I applied. Wow! Right?! I have never seen God work that fast for me before – He didn’t just open the door, he threw me out of it, and for that I am very grateful. Moments after I accepted the job, on the spot (which I rarely ever do), I felt free. Even though I, possibly, still had up to two weeks left at my anxiety-ridden position, I did not worry once over the long-weekend, because I knew my endgame, and I wasn’t going to let myself stay stuck in my anxiety sinkhole any longer!
So I truly celebrated my new found freedom all weekend long! I shopped for my bridesmaid’s dress, and splurged on the one I really liked! I ate Chipotle, and bought a tub of Bridgeman’s Peppermint Krisp ice-cream (MY FAVORITE). I trekked through the snow, and hiked in Jay Cooke. I took pretty pictures, and even let my heart take a few mini risks. All of it lead me to feeling more and more alive, and more and more like ME. Life returned to being a truly wonderful experience.
And in this moment, I just realized the beautiful picture that God just painted here. He constantly reminds us of our Victory that He has already won for us. So we don’t need to worry about tomorrow or the next day, or our last day ever, because our hope is rooted in Him. #whatadude We can celebrate, and live freely, love openly, and enjoy with exuberant joy this beautiful land He allows us to inhabit.
It’s nice to have hope. It makes all the difference, paving our way to feeling fully free. But anxiety happens. So don’t be ashamed, and know that you are not alone. Though in the moment it can be all-consuming, you do not need to stay stuck in your anxiety forever – Pray your way out, or through. And God will come through too. He always does, and sometimes He provides in ways we never expected.
However, if you are in the time of anxiously waiting, here are some tools that have helped me overcome my bouts of anxious battling. (Please note, I’m not claiming that these will work for you. They are simply some of the resources that eased some of my anxious burden. Take what you like, discard what you don’t. Please use your own good judgement on what might work best for you, especially when it comes to the homeopathic remedies.)