I’ve struggled with anxiety much of my life. I vividly remember the beginning which was around the age of 10 or 11. I have gone through seasons where life is pretty easy and then also, where it is paralyzing and I can’t leave the house. I do know that stress has triggered it in the past, but there have also been seasons where I can’t pinpoint a trigger at all. Sometimes it just happens with no warming. And although I do go through seasons where it is minimal, anxiety is a constant in my life. When I go through really tough seasons, I wonder how I’ve survived. God has given me much, much grace. I’ve read a lot of articles on anxiety (I posted a really good one yesterday). I’ve studied theories and how to cope. I’ve held prescriptions in my hand and even taken them for a short time. The point of this though is not to share exactly why I’ve chosen not to use prescription meds or how I attempt to cope with the ongoing plague of this, although I’m glad to talk about it. I’m sharing because, it’s a legit thing with me. What I want to do is help you see a picture of what anxiety looks like for me. It’s not the same for everyone. What triggers me may not bother someone else. And while this does not go into the details of the hows and whys and even the what’s of every situation (because this is just one incident, one snapshot and they can vary), maybe it will give you a better understanding of what I mean when I say, “I struggle with anxiety.” So, here it goes…

I walk into a place I’ve been going to twice a week for the past two years. It is nothing new and very familiar. I see people I know, people I’ve known for years. I’m already nervous. I felt it on the ride there. That knot in my stomach, my body tense. Why? I couldn’t put my finger on it. I sit down and wrangle my kids in their seats. I do normal things, like get out pens for the boys and situate our bags, but inside I’m totally freaking out. My thoughts all racing at once… “I should have just stayed home. Maybe I can just tell Robby we need to go. It would be okay if we just left. Maybe I can make it. Jesus, help me make it. I’ll wait and see.” My stomach hurts. No one knows what’s going through my mind or my body. Not even my husband. We sit and we listen. Others are all around, listening. I see them and they think I’m okay. I’m trying to be okay. I’m trying to focus and I do. But in and out of listening, the battle in my mind is racing. “Just go home. It will be better there. No, I can do this. Lord, please help me do this. Maybe we can just leave immediately after. Yes, that will work. I’ve made it 20 minutes, I can make it 30 more.” I sound like a crazy person, right?! I’m sitting forward in my seat. I can’t relax, but I try to fake it. Deep breaths. Take notes. I remind myself this is NOT about me. I remind myself these people here are my friends. They are my family. I have to get up and go to the bathroom. (If you know anything about anxiety, you know it’s often directly related to your stomach.) I get up and walk outside to breath for a minute. I can’t be out here too long though because that would be weird. I go back in and go to the bathroom. I carry my phone because I might need to text Robby, “I need to go. Now. Get the boys and let’s go home.” He’s assured me that I can do that anytime, anywhere. No questions. He may not totally understand what I deal with, but he loves me. I sit down and remind the boys to be quiet. I look at Robby and I smile, both actions to reassure myself. He gives me comfort. I pray. And I pray, like always. Minutes pass like hours. The hand on the clock ticking slowly by and I just wish it would hurry up. The music starts and that’s when it starts to lift. I begin to feel better. Thank you, Jesus. He doesn’t always make it go away and that’s okay. He is always good to me. I breathe deep and know it’s okay. We sing,

“Soon and very soon
My King is coming
Robed in righteousness
And crowned with love
When I see Him I
shall be made like Him
Soon and very soon

Soon and very soon
I’ll be going
To the place
He has prepared for me
There my sin erased
My shame forgotten
Soon and very soon

I will be with the One I love
With unveiled face I’ll see Him
There my soul will be satisfied
Soon and very soon..”

And tears fall, because there will be a day when it’s gone. It may be while I’m still here, if He so chooses to heal me. If not, it will be when I see His face. And I can’t wait.

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So, there you have it. A tiny, tiny glimpse into just one small incident. It’s not like that every day or every time I leave the house. But I felt like giving a glimpse might be helpful to those who don’t understand. When I’m in the midst, it’s paralyzing. Sometimes, the key is just getting to a safe place. Sometimes, it’s sleep. Sometimes, like this day, a song of worship and an answered prayer. I’d like to share more because it’s a good outlet for me. I just have to make the time! 🙂 I know I’m not the only one who deals with this and I hope this encourages you who get it. I hope it’s helpful to those who don’t, too. Sometimes, it’s nice to have someone attempt to understand.

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