Anxiety is a beast.
It is the one area of my life that I pray on a daily basis that God would take from me.
It is crippling, irrational, completely insane, and completely uncontrollable.
I hate anxiety.
I've never struggled with anxiety- Until Joshua died and then 14 months later, my dad got cancer and died in 8 weeks. Now it is just a part of my life that I am working to overcome, trusting that with the help of some medication, counseling, and God's healing power that it will someday go away.
Here is an example of the type of anxiety that I deal with.
Yesterday, we were getting into the van to go to the store to buy Caleb a new school backpack. As I turned the van on, it started dinging and the ABS and Trac Off lights came on. The message screen also was flashing a message that read "Service Traction System."
After checking the brakes a few times, I knew that it was likely just a sensor problem and Shane reassured me that it was ok and most likely a bad sensor.
So, we went on our way.
I was hoping the lights were just a glitch and after letting the car sit for a while, they would somehow reset themselves. However, that was not the case. After the shopping trip was over, we had to get home, so naturally, I turned on the van. Those blasted lights were still on. This is when the anxiety set in.
Against all rationality, all head knowledge, and just plain common sense, I was fully convinced that the brakes were out in the van and that we were going to die on the way home. I had pictures in my mind of how it was all going to happen. I saw myself in slow motion grabbing onto the steering wheel to brace myself at impact. I heard my children screaming. Glass and rocks everywhere. Metal crunching and churning.
Shane met us at the store after he got off work. He knew that I was anxious about driving the van and asked if I wanted to switch cars. Logically in my mind, I knew that I should just switch cars with him and let him drive the van home, but the anxiety took hold again.
There was NO WAY that I could allow him to drive that van. If someone was going to die, it had to be me. Selfishly, I can't handle another loss, so I might as well leave him and the kids behind and be the one to die. He is the one, after all who has a job and health insurance, and the kids need their daddy. He is the better choice to keep here on this earth anyways! Plus, if I didn't die, I would probably be badly injured and require a lot of recovery time, and since I don't work, it would be more convenient for me to go through recovery than him. Plus, I would rather take the pain of a car accident than allow him to. Totally rational- right? HA!
Now, before you judge me, I want to say, I know that my thought process was ridiculous. I know that it makes me sound incredibly stupid. I even know, that after a few tests, that the brakes were perfectly fine. The worry that I felt was completely irrational. I know this.
However, by the time I got home, I was in a full blown panic. I was shaky, I was crying. I was thanking God for allowing me to get home safely. I took an anti anxiety pill and about an hour later I was able to somewhat laugh at my ridiculousness.
But this is what I face. Day in and day out. Somedays that anxiety is nonexistent. Others, it's crippling. Sometimes i'm convinced I'm going to die. Other days, I'm convinced my kids or Shane are going to die. It's constant, it's intense, and it's EXHAUSTING.
Something about writing all of this stuff out is so incredibly therapeutic for me. I also hope that my struggles with anxiety help someone else feel a little less "crazy." I know I have struggled with what I KNOW to be true, and where the anxiety thought process takes me. I know I'm not alone in this.
Your prayers for healing from the anxiety are greatly appreciated.