I have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD equates to having anxiety about everything at a very high frequency. The recent psychiatrist I am seeing told me I have extreme anxiety. Now, I have never heard of that one before. I guess “extreme” anxiety could be the actual anxiety itself is off-the-charts difficult to deal with. In this blog post, I will share with you methods I have used to calm the anxiety down to nothing.
With most other symptoms of mental health challenges, there are often various triggers. “POP!” A car back-firing at a local park triggers a veteran to startle while having a picnic with his family. The veteran tenses up and has trouble relaxing and enjoying his family. He is quiet and distant for the rest of the day.
I have triggers, too. I have triggers all day, but the morning is where I really feel it. It begins with my pace slowing down when the depression kicks in and being unable to stay on time. Oh, boy is that a trigger! My slow pace starts the domino effect. I get tied up at putting on my makeup. The anxiety starts to build. Then I run short on time with my hair. The anxiety meter has moved up several notches. If I sneak a peek at my emails, that will most definitely set me back another 10 minutes. Anxiety is calling my name. And I am super anxious about how my husband will react since we share one car between us.
Now the big kahuna of all triggers is my dogs. I will see them sleeping peacefully and I do not want to wake them to go do their “business” (or potty), to eat or get ready for insulin and other meds. If that happens, the bus might leave without me.
To help soothe the smoldering embers of raw nerves, I have discovered the effectiveness of prayer. When I’m surrounded by triggers and there is nowhere else to turn, I pray. Looking back at my prayers at the beginning of my anxiety, I had a completely different view of prayer than I do now.
When I would begin to feel anxious at work, I would pray for relief for my nerves. My prayers to God would sound like this,
- “God please make this day go by faster”.
- “Please make the weekend get here quicker.”
- “Lord, please let my boss’ schedule keep him from coming into the office this afternoon.”
These prayers never worked to ease my anxiety. The prayers failed because they did not address the real issue. I needed to go down deeper to the heart of the matter instead of just scratching the surface.
What I was saying to God with my prayers was, I know I have anxiety. But I do not want to face it. And I definitely do not want to feel it. If I go to work, I will have to face many triggers that start my anxiety off like a missile. I just want to stay at home, get into bed, throw the cover over my head, and shut the anxiety out.
Prayers Blasting away Anxiety
One morning, I was pulling into the parking lot at work, like usual. The hand on the anxiety meter was not quite at the breaking point. So, I decided to pray. I recalled one of my typical prayers, “Let my boss be late this morning”. As it was coming out of my mouth, I knew it wasn’t right.
The next thing that happened, I knew it was real from the bottom of my heart. God spoke gently to me through His Holy Spirit. He was more than aware of my anxiety. He knew I had battled some of my fears all my life. At that moment, He showed me that my approach to my fear was all wrong.
I was running away from my fear and not facing it head-on. I needed to open my eyes and my heart and see that I was not alone in my fight against anxiety. He showed me that I didn’t need to pray for Him to take me out of the situations that created fear. I am to invite Him into the battle and allow Him to fight for me.
Once my prayers regained focus, I began to pray, “Lord, let me sense your presence in a huge way in the midst of my anxiety during this situation”. When I prayed that prayer, He showed up, and I felt His presence. Feeling His presence meant the anxiety was melting away.
To be clear, He doesn’t dowse my anxiety inferno with holy water. He would rather that I witnessed His power and strength. Learning more about God and growing closer to him, builds a stronger bond. What He did do was walk with me through the anxiety blaze. The greater the heat from anxiety, the greater I felt His presence.
When the anxiety flames burn high, I turn to Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” This verse has been my touchstone whenever I feel the triggers for anxiety. I now know when I get anxious, whatever the situation, I do not have to fear; I can count on God to help me through the anxiety.
Call to Action
There are several different ways in which you can relieve your anxiety. Check out: https://lifeconquering.org/anxiety-relief-tips/.
You may have go-to anxiety relievers that you use all the time in the heat of battle. In the comments section below or email me at [email protected] your method of fighting back against anxiety.