Hi, this world is scary. Oh my gosh, this world makes my anxiety attacks get worse. I was sat in an exam today thinking that I was going to die, the fear was so great. I mean i am still feeling it, even a few hours later. Some people live in fear their whole lives, I am guessing that might be you. I’ll tell you a secret that’s the worse kept one in the world, I live in it too.
And the dark walls that press around you, the terrifying nature of walking into a room full of people you know or worrying about whether you will be missed when you have to leave to have an anxiety attack. It sucks all the fun, enjoyment and thrill of life, when all you feel is the tightness, the closeness of this world. For around a year, I had around 3 big anxiety attacks a day. I couldn’t sit through a church service all the way through, I struggled in restaurants, I avoided any big crowds. Even after that subsided I still have anxiety that threatens to overcome nearly every day.
There is nothing comforting about closed spaces, when they cower over you in a threatening way, in a way that makes you think you will never be able to get through. Doubting your own actions and thoughts, is a common occurance. The anxiety attacks mounts, and what do you do? All you want to do is escape the intense feeling. But you can’t. And this trapping feeling makes you more anxious. It is a perceptual cycle that never seems to end. Did I mention how lonely it is? And can someone let the air in please? Where is the oxygen in this place?
But come back, if you fell into the cycle of anxious thoughts, just listen to me.
I’d love to tell you that the three steps that you can take to make you feel better, I wish I had them for you just as much as I wish I had them for me. But before you click of this post, keep reading, just try to trust me.
But this is what I do know, the intense pressing feeling, is limited in space. What I mean by this is, there is a lot of space in this world that the anxiety doesn’t fill. And all around it and all through it is God. He is so much bigger than your current overwhelming feelings of anxiety. There is a God who gives a sense of order to the chaos. A God who gives freedom and peace. A God who allows us to feel this pain so that we can understand truly how big God is. If we can get so overwhelmed by fear and anxiety, and if we feel so crushed by it, God must be a very big God in order to not only cover it but completely envelop it. But if this God offers peace, why don’t I feel it? I have been a christian for 3 years, and I still battle with intense anxiety, so does this mean I just don’t trust him? Why do christians claim that we have access to this peace, if not all christians feel it?
I want to be careful here, because I don’t want to suggest for one moment that anxiety isn’t real and important. But, anxiety can come from a place of trying to control your environment and being afraid of the outcome. Therefore trusting God would in theory allow you to take a tight grip of your outcomes and truly giving it to God is so helpful and necessary. But this can over simplify a complex issue.
I think anxiety, also requires you to fight. You may be so defeated by this statement, because all you do is fight. All you do is play the offensive. But a very important part of fighting is defence. Holding your own, protecting yourself from the oncoming attacks, and bit by bit moving forward, advancing on the opponent. Clinical anxiety (which is what I have, generalised anxiety disorder, if you were interested), requires you to understand that it doesn’t control you. God is in control. And more importantly, it cannot defeat you. It can wear you down, it can make it seem like it will win, but it will not. Why? Because you have God on your side. He is outside this pressing fear. And he tells you that walking straight through it will not kill you, in fact it is the only way to stop it from killing you. But he has your back. He will not LET it kill you. Your anxiety is horrible. And it is not gonna be easy. Protecting yourself means absorbing the blows, which is when the anxiety racks through your body, like it racks through mine, it is horrendous. I won’t deny it. But there is hope, God is bigger than this. And he loves you more than you ever realise. Trusting him, doesn’t make them go away, but it does start the process of slowly making your way through. And the other side is a real thing, that is ever moving forward towards you.
Granted, I don’t know when the other side will come. I have asked this many times, and I still haven’t reached the other side. I may not in this lifetime, but what I do know that he will keep me until this time comes, absorbing the blows, bit by bit advancing through the fear, until you reach the other side.