A Step by Step Process of How You Can Get Control of Your Anxiety
" I now, after all this time, have a sense of peace in me that can only come from God. I only know this to be true because I lived a long time without God and without peace."
Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety...
If you are like me and have suffered from anxiety rather it is from postpartum or from our overwhelming day to day lives, please read on. There is hope for everyone!
I have gone to battle with my anxiety. I have fought long and hard and I want to share with you what I've learned. I want to share how I've overcome anxiety and panic attacks with no medication. No joke. Read on to find out how. Oh...and one more important thing, it did not happen overnight. This has been a journey of almost 5 years, but it has been well worth it because a change was needed in my life. BIG CHANGE! A kind of change that I didn't really know I needed until I look back and see now. Any type of change is a process, but the process is so necessary. Consistency, dedication, and discipline is apart of that process. I know a lot of you suffer from this and requested for me to write on this very topic, so I hope you find this helpful.
It all started after having my first son Mason. I really didn't have too much anxiety before that. If I did, it was not anything compared to the feelings I had postpartum. I struggled with weird thoughts, overwhelming feelings, and panic attacks (even to the point where I was scared that it wouldn't go away and thought I was crazy). I would not want to leave my home at times, in fear I would have a panic attack in public. It was really bad...probably to the point that I should have gone to consult with my Dr. However, I was bound and determined to get to the bottom of this. I wanted to know the WHY behind my feelings. Due to this hard inclination and nudge to find out why (which I now know was God), I started to do some much-needed soul searching.
Okay so before I go into this soul searching journey and how I continuously overcome my anxiety, I have to share with you how God was working in my life during that time. My sister-in-law and her husband came into town to visit with us and my in-laws. They decided to come over to our home one evening. Little did we know, they would be talking to us about our faith and going to church. David (my husband) and I would go to church occasionally, but we both did not have a close relationship with God. We also were not dedicated to following Christ or living our lives for Christ either. I had some faith ( a little seed planted) from my childhood influence, and David as well. We prayed from time to time, but never experienced the type of relationship we have now.
Anyways...so we ended up going to church with David's mom, his sister, her husband, and our little Mason the very next day. You would never believe what the sermon was on. Anxiety and feeling overwhelmed! I will NEVER forget it. I will never forget who taught this message, he will always hold a dear place in my heart! You guys God was at work as He always is. It is so amazing to look back and remember each detail. I found myself weeping like a baby during this message, and as I looked over at my husband, I said, "it's time." He went with me to go talk to this pastor and he met with us in his office that same day after church. There was something inside me that wanted a change. A change for the better. A change to be better. A change...not only for me, but for my new little family too. The great thing is, God knew I was ready, and He was right there waiting the whole time. He knew my anxiety would bring me to my knees, and boy did it ever! No matter what I did in my past or the mistakes that I made, He is there waiting.
The funny thing is, God was working in David's sister too. She felt the need to talk to us about our faith walk at that given time when God knew I was almost there. I was almost ready to re-dedicate my life and didn't even know it yet. But God knew it all. As I look back, He orchestrated all of this so perfectly, and do you want to know why my heart is such on fire for our God? Do you want to know why I write this Christian Blog? Because of that very thing right there...I can see His perfect ways in everything! In my past and in the present.
First Things First
Here I was having a come to Jesus moment...feeling so good about the future and what is to come, but unfortunately, the anxiety was still there. This come to Jesus moment was only the start to overcoming my anxiety. Next came, counseling...lots of counseling. Matter of fact I am a HUGE advocate on going to counseling if you can find the right person for you. It can change a lot of things, but I will say...first, you have to WANT the change like nothing else. You have to be willing to apply what they tell you to your life. You have to be willing to admit some hard truths about yourself and work hard to change them. I still go to therapy if needed.
Also, the Headspace App was a necessity during this whole process. This allowed me to set aside 10 minutes out of each day to help with meditation and breathing exercises. This still helps me retrain my mind to gain control over my own body. Your mind is so powerful and it is a process to retrain and heal it, but it can happen. It is a crucial part to getting rid of thoughts that lead to our anxiety and control our minds.
Be The Change
Next came bible studies and being in God's word. This is not to brag, but only to explain the disparity and how bad I wanted God to help me in my brokenness at that given time. I was holding on...hoping that He was the God I was starting to learn more about. I have probably done close to 15 bible studies. I have read a countless number of books and guess what...I was never a reader before. It was more of a forced hobby and has now become a necessary hobby for continuous growth. I was and still am in God's word. God's word looks different during different seasons of life. During that season, I wanted to fill my heart and mind with truth. I was desperate for God to help me with these hard lifestyle changes!
Next, I had to dig deep. I had to re-evaluate my life and how I was living it. This meant becoming aware of some hard things I did not want to admit at first, not only about myself, but with my husband David as well. Let me share a little something. David and I got pregnant within only 8 or 9 months of knowing each other. We got married when Mason was 5 months old. It has all ended up great! Better actually, than I could have ever imagined, but it has taken lots of self-reflection, counseling, and hard work from both of us. We will both always be growing in our faith, but we are now doing it together. Together, we re-dedicated our lives to Christ about 3 years ago now.
Seek Truth and Trust
I still (rarely) will get anxious, usually due to an uncomfortable situation or an unexpected life event, but I'm at least equipped with the tools to help me with relaxing. My most important tool is to look back and see just how faithful God has been in my life through all the wrong I've done. He has shown me so much grace and love in return. All of what I have and who I am is because of Him. I remind myself... if He could carry me through all of that, He will carry me through whatever this is too! He works everything out for our own good. Even if we can not see it at the moment, we can surely see it from our past. Search for God in your past and your present and you will find Him. I promise that (Deuteronomy 4:29). When you do, you will know. You will feel different and life around you will look different.
We all have different triggers for our anxiety. Mine was feelings of inadequacy, fear of rejection, social media, my autoimmune disease, feelings of loneliness, feelings from bad past experiences, feelings from childhood circumstances, and feelings from relationships. When I decided to re-dedicate my life to Christ and fight hard for my freedom from all of this fear, I found myself in a good place, but still not a place of peace quite yet. When I learned that anxiousness, fear, and worry are not things of God...meaning God does not place these in our lives, I realized that I am not fully trusting in God. I am not really surrendering some of the things I know He's wanting me to. I am not trusting that He has it all under control. I am still not trusting Him in these circumstances, even though He has brought me through so much already. So, what do I do... I take some big deep breaths, I may put on a calming essential oil, and FULLY BELIEVE with everything in me that God's got this. Even though it is so hard to do at times, we really should be giving God praise even in the midst of our uncertainties and difficult circumstances because no matter what, He is still working everything out for our good and for the good of everyone else.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3: 5-6). I am sure a lot of you have heard this, but let's ask ourselves, are you really trusting with all your heart? I mean let's be honest, we all have moments where we don't. Our trust meter can be low a lot of the time.
I wanted to touch a little on the social media trigger real quick. This is still a trigger for me. I have to limit my time on this. There is just something about my mind being overloaded with so much at one time. There is so much on social media, good and bad, but it overwhelms my mind even subconsciously. It is just not healthy to be spending so much of my time on this. That is time that I can be investing in myself in healthier ways so that I don't have anxiety triggers in the first place. I hope that makes sense. I have found that being on it less, has helped tremendously with my anxiety.
If you do find yourself in panic mode and find it hard calming yourself down, my integrative (all natural) physician gave me L-Theanine, an all natural supplement. There are no side effects. No feeling drowsy or out of it. You take it as needed. It only helps relax your body's physical reaction to the anxiety, so that you can work on talking and breathing your mind down from panic mode. I understand that there are hard and difficult circumstances that happen to us. I have been through really difficult times in my childhood and in my life. However, I am here to tell you that I would not be where I am without God...I truly believe that. I wouldn't be in this place (not just this physical place, but this emotional place) writing to you about my faith, what I've overcome, and what re-dedicating my life to Christ has done for me. I NOW, after all this time, have a sense of peace in me that can only come from God. I only know this to be true because I lived a long time without God and without peace. There is a huge difference in that life I was living before and the life that I am living now.
Don't get me wrong, my world around me gets shaken up all the time. Difficult times and bad things still happen, but there is a certain peace that comes over me when I fully trust God with everything I have, and know that He is still there working for my good all the time (even if it doesn't make sense to me). In this current season of less anxiety, I read God's word and see His works. I can see the WHY behind a lot of my life. I can see the WHY for my anxiety as well. I needed to be brought to my knees. I needed this to prosper and to experience a true sense of peace. I needed this for a change in myself. I needed this whole experience to bring me closer to Him...which was God's plan all along.
I really hope this helps someone who struggles with anxiety. I really do. If you have to take medication for yours, I completely support whatever will help you get through each day. I just want everyone to know that there is a way to fight it hard and win the battle with or without medication. I want to give you HOPE of a future without crippling anxiety. I encourage everyone to seek the WHY behind your anxiety. It takes a lot of hard work and it takes facing fears of the unknown, but man oh man is it worth it in the end! Go to counseling, want the change, seek truth in God, be the change, and find everlasting peace. If you need any help or guidance outside of this blog post, please reach out to me and I will help you in any way that I can.
More info on the Headspace App can be found on my Resources page.