Wanted

I am going to tell you about some of the lies that run through someones head while they are battling anxiety. These lies are not something that you can easily silence. It isn’t something where you can just tell yourself the truth and move on. Why am I telling you this? I think people lose their patience with those struggling with anxiety. They want them to just feel better, and from personal experience we’re trying. We’d love to not feel this way even more than you’d like us not to feel this way. 

  • Lie number one

You are a burden. 

I feel this way all the time. I feel like if I tell people how I feel, or I’m honest that people won’t want to be around me because I’m too much to deal with. I hate this feeling. I hate feeling trapped in my own head because I’m too worried to talk to someone about how I am feeling. 

  • Lie number two

This is never going to get better. 

When something goes wrong in my life I worry it to death. I never see a way out or around it. I just worry that I’m always going to be where I am. I worry that things will never change. I worry that my life is always going to be as messy as it is in that moment. 

I’m giving you a glimpse into my day to day thoughts by showing you those two. I am doing this to ask you to be patient with those around you. Don’t just assume someone is weird, annoying, or not worth your time because you don’t know what they live through on a day to day bases. Don’t make them feel like a burden. 

I challenge you during this season to love people with your whole heart, and to love them loudly. I challenge you to find something great about the people in your life that you struggle to love because there is greatness in everyone. I challenge you to make everyone around you feel accepted; wanted even! People matter and it’s time we start showing it. 

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Maybe that’s why…?

In one of my classes we’ve been talking about how fear/anxiety drives you. It’s one of the few things I empathize with so deeply. I know what it’s like to live in fear, and to have that drive you. People tell you to just stop living like that; to just be brave. 

I’m not brave though. I haven’t ever been brave. I remember that even when I was younger I was always anxious. I was always planning for what could go wrong. I’m still planning for what can go wrong. Do you want to know my biggest fear though?

I’m afraid that I’m too good at being alone. I am shy, and I don’t tend to start the conversation. I am awkward, and a little bit weird. I push people away because I’ve been hurt so I do what it takes so that I never have to feel the pain of rejection, or loss again. I wish I could change this, but the truth is that I just don’t know how. I’m good at being alone. I’m good at putting on a fake face, and saying that everything is good even though it isn’t. I’m good at embracing the anxiety that people are just pretending to care about me. At a certain point you just get to a point where you are comfortable being alone even though you’re so lonely your heart aches. 

I am not even good at friendships guys. I get exhausted at the thought of constantly having to be “on.” I think that means I may have had the wrong kind of friends in the past because I should be able to just be myself around friends, but I am not there yet. I’m working on it. Relationships are a lot of work. Maybe that’s why I’m alone? 

No one told me.

People don’t tell you how difficult adulthood really is. They don’t tell you that one day you’re going to pay off one $380 dollar dental bill just in time to get another one. They don’t tell you that insurance is not magical. It will only cover so much, and sometimes it doesn’t cover anything at all. They don’t tell you that it’s HARD to work 30+ hours a week, and go to school full time. They don’t tell you that some days will just be bad. 

I think they’re right in keeping us in the dark. Who would want someone to feel this kind of stress until they have to? The truth is that being an adult is hard, but my mom taught me to take it one day at a time. The truth is I don’t have $380 to pay off a bill that wasn’t covered by insurance, but I can make payments on it. She taught me to only give what I can. Budgeting is key to adulthood. I gave up a lot of “wants” to pay that bill. 

As an adult you need to know that it is okay to break down and purchase something for you. Don’t say no to every “want” because of bills. Let me clarify-In the face of that $380 dollar bill I did not spend money on any wants. I am not reckless. I will; however, make sure that I buy myself something special when I do have a little extra cash. I am very good with money though. I pay all my bills first before spending money on wants. 

Know when enough is enough. I had to say no to staying at work today because I need to make sure that I study for a test tonight. Adults have limits too. Saying no is not a bad thing. Sometimes as an adult you have to choose to put yourself first, and no one tells you that either. 

That ugly monster…

Anxiety is like a self destruct. It’s like once you feel anxious about one thing…you become anxious about everything. You are soon in a panic that you don’t know how to stop. The truth is you can’t stop it. You aren’t the one in control in that moment. Anxiety is like this monster that is in your head whispering all of your biggest fears to you over and over again.  You don’t get to say stop. You just go along for the ride. 

I’ve heard it all, but the people that tell me to just not worry, or it isn’t that big a deal get to me. Do you really think that anyone who feels anxiety-real anxiety wants to feel this way? Of course we don’t! We just don’t know how to make it stop. It’s like I said we’re along for the ride. 

I have; however, learned some things. I may not be in control of what is going on in my head. I may not be able to stop the anxiety. I may not be able to find the off button. I know who knows where that off button is. He is the one that calms the wind, and the waves, and he can also tell that little monster in our heads called anxiety to be gone. I am not in control, but he is. What does this mean? This doesn’t mean the battle is easy because it isn’t. I’m currently in a battle against a big anxiety attack, but I went straight to the one who knows my heart. He knows what I’m going through, and he isn’t leaving me alone. He goes before me, and behind me. This battle is already won. 

I think that once we take back that thought process we will see break though.  I’m not in control, but God is. I am fighting a battle, but God has the victory. This is hard; so very hard. I’m not alone though. Someone is fighting for me. 

On the bad days when you don’t see break through, and you feel alone. I get those days too, so know this; you are not alone. You don’t need to feel guilty because you feel this way. You don’t have to feel like you need to get it together. On the bad days I suggest getting a good cry in, and then find perspective. If all you can do is breathe, then just breathe. You’re okay. Everything will be okay.

Tomorrow will be better…

I had a bad anxiety attack today. I haven’t had one that bad in months. I couldn’t breathe, and I felt sick to my stomach. I didn’t know how to help myself because how do you cope when you don’t know why you’re anxious? 

Anxiety isn’t cut and dry because anxiety is different in everyone. I can normally pinpoint what is causing the anxiety, and talk it out with someone. I couldn’t do this for two reasons today. I was in a 3 hour class, and I didn’t know what to talk about. If you tell someone you’re feeling anxious the first thing they will ask is “why?” I didn’t have an answer to that question. 

I walked out of school 7 hours after I first felt the anxiety attack start, and by that point I was shaking physically, and I got to my car only to sob into my hands. I hate days like today because they remind that no matter how much I’ve grown in dealing with anxiety that I still have days like this where no coping skills that I’ve taught myself help. 

I remember when I was younger before I even knew what was making me sick to my stomach, and why I wasn’t sleeping at night. I went through so many doctor appointments trying to figure out what was going on. Why was I getting so nauseous all the time? I don’t remember when we figured out it was anxiety, but when we did I almost felt relieved because at least then I knew I had to make a game plan to stop it. 

There are days I think I’ve won. Days that I don’t think I’ll ever feel like this again, and so when I do it hits hard. I feel angry at myself for feeling this way, and I wish I could just be at peace. The thing is I’m not where I want to be in this battle. I still have a ways to go before I feel like I have truly beaten the battle against anxiety, but Thank God I am not where I started either. Days like today used to be the norm, but I haven’t felt like this in a long time.  Here is to a better day tomorrow. 

Loneliness…

I think we underestimate how loneliness affects us as humans. I’m talking about real loneliness; the kind of loneliness that you feel even if your surrounded by people. Loneliness that suffocates you, and makes you feel like you can’t catch your breath. I haven’t told people how alone I’ve been feeling because I didn’t want people to know I wasn’t okay. I wanted everyone to believe I was fine. I’m not though. I feel so lonely. 

I have friends and family, but at the end of the day I don’t have that one person I want to tell every detail of my day. I don’t feel like I’m sharing my life with anyone right now. I feel like I’m just existing. I know this would hurt some people if they read it because they do their very best to support me, but I can’t hide the truth anymore. I feel alone. 

Someone once told me that neglect is the worst type of abuse because a child who is neglected will feel alone, and unseen whereas a child who is emotionally/physically abused is still seen. I believe that all abuse is horrible and damaging, but I can now understand this a little bit more. I can’t imagine always feeling this way; “unseen.” I would shut down completely. I can’t imagine no one being there. See the difference between how I feel, and someone who is neglected is that I’m not alone. I may feel lonely, but I have people loving me even if I push them away. Someone who is completely ignored like a child suffering neglect well they’re just alone. They don’t have anyone to fight for them. They don’t just feel alone; they are alone. 

I will say it again…We underestimate how loneliness affects humans. We all have this deep need to feel loved, and wanted. If we don’t get that we convince ourselves it’s our own fault. We convince ourselves of things like “We aren’t worth another persons love. No one wants me. I have to walk this journey alone.” 

I didn’t go to church today, but did anyone call me? No. No one seemed to care if I was there or not. I’m not even sure how many people actually know my name at the church I’ve been attending multiple years. Don’t get me wrong I love my church because I love the teachings, and I love getting to worship with fellow believers…but if I feel like no one in the church sees me than how about someone who hasn’t been attending for years? What if that person suffering from neglect walked into my church building would they find a place where they belonged, or would they leave with the same feelings of being unseen that they came in with? 

I’m guilty too. I am not the most sociable person. I don’t spend a lot of time getting to know new people. I get nervous around new people, and when I get nervous I tend to stutter or lose track of my words. I’m worried that people will judge me. God forgive me if my fear ever kept me from helping someone who feels like I do right now. 

People matter. I don’t care what they have done in their past, or even if they’re are still making mistakes. I love them because God loves them. I accept them because God accepts them. He isn’t up there keeping a tally of my mistakes. He hasn’t said I am not worth love because I mess up all the time. He pulls me into his arms and shows me what unconditional love is. Shame on me if I ever made someone feel like they didn’t deserve the same.  I hope this is a wake up call for you because I know it was for me. My feeling of loneliness will pass, but during the days/weeks/months/years of feeling lonely. It is horrible. 

Be kind. Love people. You never know…

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” (Mother Theresa)

If I was honest…

“The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6

I’ve been keeping a prayer journal as of late. I wrote that verse at the top of the page today. I’ve been feeling a lot of anxiety lately. I was honest today though which isn’t always easy. I know God loves me, but others who have loved me have hurt me in the long run, so why bother telling anyone how I feel? 

I forgot something because I was lost in a pile of hurt. God is God. He doesn’t let me down. He isn’t going to fly off the handle at me for being honest. 

I want to be transparent and share something I wrote with you guys. 

“I have been living in a place of anxiety. I’ve been afraid of saying the wrong thing, and losing my best friend. I have been afraid of not having enough money to pay my bills. I have been afraid that I’ll always feel this way. 

Well my best friend and I are no longer best friends. I’m not going to play the blame  game, but we’re both in different places in life. I understand now why Paul says you can’t be unequally yoked. Any relationship will suffer when your core, your foundation isn’t on the the same thing or person. It isn’t fair to ether person. 

I reduced my checking account to $0.67 cents paying my bills, and buying my school books. I made it to pay day though! I survived! I didn’t go hungry. 

Will I always feel like this? I don’t know. I’ve walked away from friendships before, and I’ve had times where I was overwhelmed with anxiety before. Do I know when I got through those times? No. I can only hope in the near future that I will be happy and content, and wonder at that point why I was ever worried.

God has me! He is still on his throne. My life doesn’t take him by surprise. He has a plan for my life, and I trust him. He loves me without condition. 

“Perfect love casts out fear.”