We hear the word anxiety more and more, people think that it is new, that you should be able to sweep it aside, that you can just get over it but that isn’t true. Anxiety is fear- do you know how many times the bible mentions the word fear? over 500…. so fear and anxiety is not new. It causes us to control the things we can in our lives for fear of the things we can not. I sat on a panel last night with 4 other ladies to tell my story, some are those of trauma, some are generational, others a combination of many but telling my story was the most freeing thing I have ever done. Saying it to strangers might have been the most empowering thing I have eexperienced and has inspired me to give a little insight.
When did you first recognize you had anxiety and what is the root?
Anxiety has taken a lot of forms in my life that looking back I now realize was my anxiety. I first realized I had anxiety in my mid twenties, after this moment it was really clear to me what it was and that I had to take care of it. Clay and I have had a rollercoaster of a ride and while they aren’t all moments we are proud of they built our relationship for better. This is one of my not so proud moments. Clay came to me in October and told me he needed a break, it was hard for him and for me – but it was the moment that quite literally tipped the scales for me. I have never until that time considered taking my own life, I can remember I had bought pumpkins for us to carve, and after that conversation it was obviously not going to happen, I made a dinner we didn’t eat, after he left I pulled myself together and went outside to carve them alone ( to this day Clay doesn’t like me carving pumpkins alone because I am so clumsy) I remember vividly looking at the knife and knowing this was not a safe activity, so I called a friend and went to her house. I came back feeling better but the anger hit me like a wall when I got home – I took a bottle of wine to the bath and got into the water in my clothes where I sobbed and drank and fell asleep. Also a poor choice, I didn’t leave my apartment for days, I withered to a staggering weight and when I cancelled more appointments at the salon two of the girls intervened….they came and got me and took me to talk to someone(professional) that was when I began to get help, it wasn’t near the end. When my lease was up I left Tulsa, God began to work in my life and for the first time in LONG time I was listening, I slept on Amanda’s couch for 3 month’s (thank goodness Robby was so patient – brother and her roomie) I began to look back and recognize other parts of my life that had contributed to this- an overwhelming fear I was not enough, because it had been projected by so many sources- friends who told post abusive relationship that I was tainted and no one would want me, an FFA advisor who informed I was not the one who should be holding my office, forever feeling inadequate. Would I ever be skinny enough, my hair the right color, successful enough, would my appearance constantly rule how people would see me?? Why did I care so much what others thought?? In this journey we discovered my mom had anxiety too, which I think was healing for the both of us to realize, part of it was generational, it explained our need for control and prob the reason we clashed for many years.
What does anxiety look like for you today?
It is important to know that anxiety is a journey I think once you realize that it tends to work out better. I have always been fearful, whether it was for my safety, to be accepted, or to be needed. There are still moments in my day that I feel like my house is so loud I want to cry or that the chaos is so much I can’t breath but I have to stop and pray for God to take it- to say to him I am who you say I am – you are for me not against me. I have stepped out and done things people had shamed me for in the past- this may seem small to most people and trivial but forcing myself to be comfortable in who God made me to be has been so freeing!!
Here are some things I have stepped out on and done because I always wanted to but because I lived in fear of my inadequacy hid away my pink flamingo feathers. I got a visible tattoo- one I am proud of and do not try to hide because it symbolizes to me the joy God has brought me in freeing my soul, I put my nose ring in… I know mom I feel your shudder but hear me out. I took it out because I was shamed into it, by people who’s opinions no longer matter, I can remember it being such a big deal to Grandma and I was just so taken back that one small thing could cause her to with hold her welcome of me…. I want my kids to know freedom of expression- obviously at the appropriate age but I want to model that no one can tell you who you are, you are living for an audience of ONE- your heavenly father, ladies in the bible adorned themselves in this manner and so I feel if I am so moved to thats ok. It is forcing me to take deep breaths and be me, when I feel judged or conscious it is forcing me to TRUST GOD… ridiculous maybe but I feel like a bird set free of his cage and I want to soar. Am I healed …nope, prob will never be but I know this….it is a choice and I if I get up every day and choose GOD then my life will over flow abundantly with this joy… so here is my anthem and I hope I am empowered to live it every single day for as long as he allows. I will run the race set before me