Anxiety. The biggest (mostly) silent struggle I have dealt with my whole life.
My early memories of anxiety are being in the Pediatricians office and being so scared that I vomited. This happened every time. I could go in for a routine check up, and I got sick to my stomach from anxiety.
As a child, I would become anxious whenever I did not know where my mom was. I think the root of that anxiety stemmed from a father with lots of issues that got projected on both my mother & I. This separation anxiety has mostly stuck with me my whole life.
At the age of 12, my father committed suicide. This was after an attempt at harming or maybe even trying to take myself and my Moms life. We will never know what the goal was that day.
That sent my anxiety to an all time high. Which seems like a normal thing to happen after a life event like that.
I saw counselors. I took medication. I was okay. Then I would rinse & repeat that cycle over my teen and young adult years.
I was always waiting for something bad to happen. Impending doom. I always planned for the ‘the worst case scenario’ no matter what the situation was. Every time I had a bad ending or something went wrong I was almost proud of my anxiety for setting me up to handle the failure. This became my normal. It was honestly a horrible way to live life. I imprisoned any happiness I could have under a cloud of fear & anxiety.
Que 2017. I married the most amazing man. We had the most beautiful wedding day we could ask for – right up to the temperature outside & the warm breeze. Everything went off without a hitch.
Sounds wonderful, right? It was. Until I realized that the biggest day of my life was flawless. The cake didn’t delivered to the wrong place, no one objected, the barn didn’t catch on fire, the love of my life didn’t change his mind the morning of. How did everything go right?
My newlywed bliss got interrupted by my crippling anxiety. I had no idea what to do because my life was great.
Here I was – a newlywed dealing with feeling the most anxious, and out of control I have ever felt.
I tried. I tried so hard to lock it up and let it pass. But it wouldn’t. I was still waiting for my impending doom to come barging through my life.
Now, I had to explain this to my new husband. He was well aware of my anxiety before. He had supported me through it many times. Imagine looking at your new husband, panicked, full of tears and saying you don’t know whats wrong but you need help. I am lucky to be married to someone who knew this wasn’t post wedding jitters or any form of regret. He knew this was something I could not control.
I saw a doctor. I started medication. I also ordered a Bible.
I didn’t grow up very religious, but my family was Catholic. Whenever I went to church, I had a hard time relating to mass and I didn’t take a whole lot away from the experience.
During our engagement, my husband and I talked a lot about joining a church. He grew up religious. He didn’t go to church much as an adult but did want to when we talked about it.
I had felt God calling me for a while. I put that feeling to the back of my mind because I was “busy”. I felt him calling me even more during this time in my life. I knew I need him. Needed him to help me get through this and to the place I needed to be. I knew my fastest route to him was through the Bible.
My Bible arrived, and I dove in. I was still a mess but I knew this was my saving grace. So I read, I looked up verses on anxiety, fear, and faith. I read words that stung. I read words that made me cry. I found my faith.
I prayed. I made time for God every day. I watched him start doing a work in my life.
Do I still struggle? Of course. Does God help me through it? You bet he does.
Since my breakthrough, my husband and I have become members of the church he grew up attending. I find peace & meaning there. I know God led us there, and that is where we are supposed to be.
As painful as my road to God was, he was there for me the whole way. I chose to put my faith in him over the fear in my life and now he’s there for me even more today.