You probably know what I’m going to say here.
But first, I want to tell you a story about my anxiety.
When I was a senior in High School, my life was flipped upside – or so I thought, being a young teenage girl in love.
James and I had decided to take a break.
This was ground shattering to me and shook me to my core. I started questioning God. I started questioning my life. Many things started coming up.
But one thing that became very clear was that my mental health began to decline and my anxiety started to show it’s ugly face.
One night, I was sitting on the couch and all of a sudden, I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know why. It came on suddenly and scared the crap out of me.
I felt like I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt like my chest was so tight – and almost like someone was pressing in on it – and I felt my throat closing.
I began to think, “Did I eat something that’s causing me to have an allergic reaction? Or am I just having heart failure? It was probably that cheeseburger I ate from In n Out yesterday finally ready to kill me. Why can’t I breath?”
And I convinced my mother to take me straight to the emergency room.
My mother, being the amazing woman she is, supported me and drove me to the ER. We spent 4 hours there – and I still couldn’t catch my breath.
The nurse came in, did all my vitals, said my oxygen was at 95 (which was probably because I was hyperventilating) and she said I was just having an anxiety attack.
“Anxiety?” I thought. That was just something my grandma and my aunt had – they were on special treatment for it. But me? I was always so strong, so logical about things, so… not weak.
I began to see anxiety as weakness. But it didn’t stop there.
When I eventually made it to college, new anxieties arose. And while I was back with James at this point, new things began to stress me out.
I started to think that I was going to drop dead at any moment – like my heart was going to give out and I was just going to stop breathing all of a sudden. Or I was going to eat something and my throat would close and I would die alone in my dorm room.
Crazy stuff, right? But what I began to understand is – my mental health was in terrible shape.
I was taking 18 units on top of 3 extra curricular actives and volunteer work, and also 2 internships. I was a bit overworked, and I wasn’t putting myself first.
My best friends used to say I had a “no” problem – I was afraid to say no. And it hurt me.
But as I got older and began to understand how my body and my mind worked, I began to understand more of what my limits were – and what I can and can’t take on.
I also began to rest in the goodness of Jesus. I began to fully trust and understand that whatever happens, he’s got my best interest at heart. And if he chose to take me home that day, so be it. Because in the end, I know where I would end up.
And quite honestly – I think that’s where most of my anxiety stemmed from. From death. And from the uncertainty of death.
In that time in my life when I was in High school, I was far from the Lord. And when I was in college, I had just come back to him, but still had a lot to process.
Overall, looking back now, I’ve realized that JESUS is the best anti-anxiety medication I can have.
Isaiah 40:31: 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40: 10 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Joshua 1:9 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Matthew 6:25-34 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Phillipians 4:6-7 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.