A few months ago, I shared with you a few things I am trying to help with my anxiety. I came up with five things that I felt would truly help me to find healing from my anxious prison cell. The five things I listed were:
Eating Anxiety Fighting Foods
Looking back on some of them now, kind of makes me laugh. But I want you to have a little bit of background of where I was at the time I wrote it, then get into where I am now.
Weeks leading up to writing that post, I had been hit by one of my worst waves of anxiety. I felt like my mind was in such a deep fog and there was no way I would get out. My thoughts began to shift from anxiousness to hopelessness then back to anxiety again. I felt as though I was on an emotional roller coaster. I would go home to visit my family for the weekend and come back in worse shape than when I left. I didn’t understand because I felt like I was doing everything I was supposed to in order to shake it.
I spent one night literally yelling at God and asking Him “Why aren’t you helping me?!” My sweet husband held me as I cried and cried for a couple of days. I didn’t understand why I felt the way I did, how to feel better, and why God wasn’t taking it away. The following Sunday as soon as church ended I quickly wiped the tears from my eyes, threw on my sunglasses, and booked it for the door. Those songs had no meaning to me anymore. I believed in God through all of this, but honestly I was not very happy with Him.
That Monday I sat in the Doctors office, practically hyperventilating as I went through the very long list of symptoms I had. Symptoms I was sure were going to kill me. I was prescribed yet again, an anti-anxiety medication. Now before I go any further, I just want to say that if you take any medication for anxiety or anything else than that is okay! I am not trying to diss it here. For me personally, I didn’t want to take medication. (I had too much anxiety over all the side effects!)
But medication was not the only thing that was prescribed for me. I also was sent to a therapist.
My first day in therapy was actually quite wonderful. I was evaluated and left with a handful of papers that were filled with information on how to handle my anxiety.
I then began going to a cognitive behavioral therapy class once a week.
Alongside that I was involved in a class at our church called “Head to Heart”.
As weeks passed, these two classes overlapped in so many ways. I would learn something in my CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) class then learn how to involve God in it in my Head to Heart class. I was also reading books and doing bible studies, but I still seemed to feel anxious.
About two weeks ago now I believe that God brought to my attention something very random while practicing my mindfulness (I will share on that later). I was doing all these bible studies and taking all these classes, but I wasn’t reading His word alone. I wasn’t allowing Him to speak directly to me through his word.
When I was first becoming a Christian I decided to figure out who Jesus was for myself. I picked the book of John and began to study it intensively. Trying to learn about who Jesus was and how to be more like HIm. This thought was the exact thought I had that day.
I decided I needed to do that again if I really wanted things to change. So I now have begun going through the book of Luke and learning everything I can from each chapter daily.
I also practice my mindfulness everyday. If you don’t already know, mindfulness is the practice of staying present. I began this practice with my daily chore of doing the dishes. Instead of watching TV while I washed, I had to focus and think about only the dish I was washing.
This was really hard! Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself! I even had my husband try it to make sure it wasn’t just me who had a hard time.
The more I practiced, the easier it became. Every time my thoughts would wander away, I would think to myself, “Staying here”. That phrase is now used about 100 times a day!
I began to practice this throughout the day. Whenever I would begin to worry about something I would simply tell myself “Staying here”. Some times I would have to say it about ten times in a row, but slowly it got easier.
Scriptures began to speak to me in a new way during this time. I realized the importance of staying present.
My prayers even began to change. I was reading the book “Anxious for Nothing” by Max Lucado and he talked about the importance of specific prayers. Instead of praying in general for my anxiety, I became more specific. I began to pray,
“Dear God, I pray that you would increase the amount of serotonin that is being realeased from my neurons. I pray that you would keep it from being taken back up by the previous neuron and instead that it would spread throughout my nervous system. I pray that it would increase my mood and decrease my anxiety.”
I believe that is when I began to notice the change in my mood. I began to feel less anxious throughout the day and way less emotional.
Lastly, Logan and I began to spend a couple minutes during dinner saying at least five things we were thankful for that day. After a few days of doing that, my mindset began to change throughout the day. I began to look at situations that would normally make me nervous, and be thankful for them instead.
So all that to say, that many of those things on the list had nothing to do with my healing….
And with that being said… I felt almost no anxiety for about two weeks now! I even went home to visit my family for one of those weeks, a situation that normally causes me to have an emotional breakdown at some point, and I felt pretty great the whole time.
God truly is healing my mind.
In therapy, you hear a lot about rewiring your brain and man is that the truth. In my Head to Heart class we are talking about being reparented by God and it just fits so well with the idea of rewiring.
It hasn’t been easy and I am not on here saying that I’m completely healed because I know that this probably will be something I battle with again, but the only difference is, is that I have learned how to handle it. A little bit of mindfulness and a whole lot of Jesus.
I know this may have been all over the place, but I still haven’t quite figured out how to put it all into words yet. I just couldn’t hold it in any longer because God is so good and He was just waiting for me to come to Him. I tried to do everything I was supposed to do when all he wanted was for me to get in His word and learn the concept of mindfulness.
I really hope you are encouraged by this if you are struggling with anxiety as well. And if you are then please don’t hesitate to reach out. I know what it is like to battle this and though I may not have all the answers, I have learned so much and I have felt so free these past two weeks.