I have spoken about anxiety many times; it is a battle I know many fight.
Often, when I write about it, it is in the aftermath; the time when the craziness has past and I have been able to reflect on the moment and try to learn from it.
Today though, has been one of those days; a day where it seems like no matter what I do…it is there.
So, although it makes me feel incredibly vulnerable, I am choosing to write this today, in the moment.
To write this away from the calm and in the middle of the storm. Not because I want empathy, or acknowledgment from anyone. I simply feel like when someone struggles with this beast, it is often isolating and you feel very alone. So hopefully, this may speak to someone.
The best way I could think to write this, is in the form of a letter. So here it goes:
I don’t even know how to describe my feelings towards you.
You are so strange in the way that you can just creep up into my life and attack.
No reason, no purpose, no warning…just show up and boom – you are there.
You fill me with the strangest sense of fear; fear that isn’t directed at one particular thing.
You make me doubt all that I have done, am doing and will do. You make me question my choices, my words, my thoughts and my actions.
You paralyze me with a state of numbness that I can’t begin to describe; a numbness that is not felt from the outside, but felt from the inside.
Often, I defeat you. I sense you lurking and am able to see through you and send you away. Other times, you are sneaky in your attack. You catch me blindsided and I don’t have a chance to fight back.
You are infectious; you start as a thought and you grow until you are a feeling so immense that you consume all of me. You make me feel as though I am going to lose my mind or as though I should prepare for battle.
You are evil.
You make me feel weak.
You are taunting and conspicuous.
Today, I feel you! I feel you stronger than most days.
Today, you caught me off guard and you attacked.
Yes, today you won the battle…but you are far from winning the war.
I know you are there and always will be. You are a weakness that I have and may always have.
Yes…you to me, are a weakness!
In every weakness, comes a strength; my ability to face you becomes stronger with each encounter.
Yes, you may be a chemical reaction and you may be hereditary. You can be tamed with medication and you can be tamed with counseling. I would not deny, or discredit any of these things.
To me though, you are the face of evil. You are my deterrent. Whenever I feel like I am on the right path, you will strike and make me second guess myself.
Not today…Today I will face you head on. You may stick around for a while or leave in a bit. Either way, today I will defeat you! Why? Because in my weakness, I find my strength.
What evil intends for bad, God intends for good.
You are a tunnel – dark, dreary and encompassing. A tunnel that I must walk through.
At the end of every tunnel is another opening; an opening back to reality, back to the truth. The saying – A light at the end of the tunnel – has taken on an all new meaning since I met you.
You see, I am not alone! No matter how isolating you are…I am not alone!
You play games with my head, with my mind and you make me think that I am nuts!
Well, maybe I am nuts (I do have young children)…but not in the way you make me think I am.
When you sneak up on me, yes you do succeed in starting the fight.
I won’t lie, I want to cave to you! I want to hide and run away…run away as far as I can to escape you. I want to avoid situations where you have attacked in the past; in order to prevent you from doing it again.
Doing these things will only defeat me…Not you!
No, I will face you!
I will not accept your challenge because I don’t want you in my life! I am coming to terms though, you will invite yourself into my life, whether I like it or not.
Therefore, I will face you! I will face the beast that you are! I will not cave and I will not runaway.
The only running I will do…is to Jesus!
Yes, Jesus, the one who evil can’t stand; therefore the one I know you can’t stand.
I will run to the one who defeated Satan once and will defeat him again. I will speak his name loud and clear and I know that he will be near.
Will he take you away from me? Maybe. Perhaps he won’t; either way…I will win.
If you leave, my win is obvious.
If you stay, my win will take more work. But what does work do…it makes you stronger!
So every time we meet, you are doing the opposite of what you are trying to do.
You try to defeat me, you try to make me see my weakness’ and make me vulnerable to your lies.
Really though, you teach me more about myself. How strong I really am and how weak you really are!
So, yes…you made yourself known today and have not yet felt the need to leave. That’s Ok though, maybe you will learn something from me!
My God…he doesn’t leave! My God…he doesn’t lie! You are nothing compared to my God! I will rebuke you in Jesus name!
I will deal with your taunting, but I will not let your taunting’s speak louder than the truth that I know!
Today anxiety, I face you…! You will not see my back and you will not see my fear. No, today you will see my face, because towards you I will come. I will fight you face-to-face!
It is YOUR back I will see as you are running away from me!
So go ahead, come around; I know you will and I will no longer try to hide. I will not greet you with a smile; but I will no longer greet you with fear, or with tears.
To me, you are like a bad cold; you are never convenient, never wanted and always a pain. Like a cold, you will go away after you have run your course.
So, today I will smile because I know that I will win! When you leave I will just prepare; because I know we’ll meet again.
I know that this will likely sound crazy to some; honestly, if you have never experienced a panic attack/anxiety attack or disorder…I couldn’t expect you to get it.
I hope that if anyone is in this place right now, has been recently, or maybe in the future; I hope that this provides some hope or at least encouragement.
I vowed years ago, that I would not see my anxiety as a weakness and that I would never again try to keep it hidden. Instead, I want it to be used to encourage, strengthen and enlighten others.
It is different for almost every person it affects, but it isn’t something we should ever hide or be ashamed of! Often, speaking about it will expose it; and exposing it helps it to be dealt with.
I hate that this is a struggle in my life, but like I said above…it is a struggle that helps me expose my strength. It is a struggle that allowed me to find God again and allow him back in my life. It is a struggle that at one point took away my ability to feel, to love and to be loved.
Although it is a struggle that I would prefer to never experience again; I have removed the blinders from my eyes. I see it for what it really is and because of that I will not let it defeat me.