Will This Anxiety Ever Go Away?
By: Mandy B. Anderson
Will this anxiety ever go away? This week I really can’t help but wonder. Honesty, I’ve gone long periods of time without struggling with this. In fact, usually I know what my triggers are and I can identify them quickly, sometimes even avoid them altogether. However, earlier this week, anxiety reared it’s ugly head in an unexpected way and totally derailed me for a moment. Here’s how it went…
It’s 9:49 am on a Tuesday morning and I am sitting at my desk breathing deep and trying to remember who I am, what I do, what I was supposed to accomplish today. I treated myself to a Starbucks because good grief, I need it! Why?
Because this morning while getting ready and joyfully looking forward to the day, I was suddenly sabotaged by a panic attack. You see, a few weeks ago a pipe burst in our building and the fire alarms were tripped. There was a lot of damage to several units (not ours, thank you Jesus), so there have been crews working hard to get things fixed. Well, this morning some of the guys fixing things tripped the fire alarm. All at once my joyful expectation came to a screeching halt as I frantically finished getting ready, gathered my things, and made it to my car.
There was no fire.
My home is okay.
These are the things I am telling myself right now as I swim through the waters of anxiety and PTSD. But really all I can think is this, ”will I ever NOT be triggered by fire alarms? And why is it so bad this morning? Will this anxiety ever go away?”
Our apartment fire was in 2010. I’ve come a long way from that day where we lost everything and God saved our fur-baby (she passed away ten months ago, nearly seven years after the fire). But today I’m reminded that sometimes triggers happen and all we can do in those moments is…our best.
Oh how I wish I could just crawl up into a ball and weep on the floor. Oh how I wish I could erase the effects of PTSD from that part of my history. But I can’t. I can only choose to let it worry me into a paralyzing frenzy OR make me stronger.
I choose to let it make me stronger. And this takes a tremendous amount of courage because it forces me to ask some hard questions…
Thankfully my BFF is a Life Coach who is willing to ask me the hard questions so I can begin to ask myself those very same questions. So that’s what she did today. She let me cry. She let me process. And here’s the conversation that took place:
Me: “I don’t know why this is bothering me so much today! I guess maybe…I feel like I’m so close to getting everything I’ve ever wanted and dreamed of and I’m scared I’m going to lose it all again.”
Raychel: “Is that how you felt after the fire?”
Me: “Yes…I think so.”
Woah. That’s deep, terrifying, and enlightening all at once. In that short conversation, I realized that the root of my anxiety is a fear of loss. Now it’s up to me to decide what to do with this revelation. It’s going to take some digging and some re-wiring of my beliefs to overcome it. And overcoming it might not make all of the triggers and panic attacks die completely in the future. There might still be moments in my life where I get triggered by things out of my control; however, having a plan of what I will do if that happens and how I will handle it will only serve to help me heal and overcome again.
It’s the end of the day – 8:07 pm to be exact – and I am exhausted. Honestly, I’m still wrestling with the major Ah-ha moment that I had this morning. That journey is going to take some digging and I don’t have any insight to share yet. But I have done a few things today to help me cope and do my best in the midst of the anxiety sabotage, and I’d like to spend the rest of our time together sharing them with you…
1. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
It’s so important to give yourself grace when these things happen. Overcoming anxiety takes time. Facing your fears and pinpointing the exact cause of anxiety takes time. Rushing yourself or trying to avoid it will only make it worse and backfire. Here are a few tips to help you do this:
- Give yourself the grace to feel the feels and let your heart process what it needs to.
- Move non-urgent tasks to another day if needed.
- Let your boss or a trusted co-worker know what you are dealing with so you have some support at work.
- Take a few more breaks, go for a walk, breathe deep, treat yourself to a Starbucks if needed.
2. SPEAK TRUTH STATEMENTS®
This skill is HUGE. One of the best ways to overcome anxiety is to shift your focus from worries and fears to truth and hope. But don’t just shift your focus, actually SPEAK THE TRUTH OUT LOUD!!! That’s a point that I can’t stress enough.
A word of caution: even when you speak truth out loud, you might still feel anxious. That’s okay. The point is to intentionally CHOOSE to focus on something other than the anxiety and make your words work for you instead of against you. That is a powerful choice that does help over time.
I spoke the following Truth Statements® today…
- When I am afraid, I will lay all my fears before the Lord. I trust in Him with all my heart. (Psalm 56:3, The Passion Translation)
- I always triumph when I trust in His promises. (Psalm 56:4, The Passion Translation)
- Measureless grace strengthens me. (Psalm 55:22, The Passion Translation)
- I have not been given a spirit of fear. I have been given a spirit of love, self-control, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
3. CELEBRATE WHAT YOU WERE ABLE TO DO
My husband sat down with me tonight and pointed out that he was proud of me for going to work, meeting with clients, and basically still going about my day as planned even though I was struggling a bit. He reminded me that years ago I would not have been able to do that. Yes, I rearranged some non-urgent tasks on my to-do list but for the most part I showed up and did the best I could. I even had some moments of creative inspiration and clarity! So I’m choosing to celebrate that. In the midst of extreme anxiety today…I persevered. And I’m so thankful that I did.
Anxiety did not win today. That is something worth celebrating.
Dear Friend, have you struggled with anxiety? If so, I want to encourage you with the truth that it does not define you. You don’t have to stay stuck with the label of “anxious” or “panicked.” You can learn valuable skills to help you overcome and thrive. I’d love to help you with this, and introduce you to a tribe of Warriors that are overcoming their own struggles as well. Join me for Beautiful Wholeness on February 17th in Mandan, ND. My best friend and business partner, Coach Raychel, and I will Be equipping you with the valuable skills I’ve shared today, plus so much more! Overcoming anxiety alone can feel like a daunting task. Let us help you erase that label and replace it with the title of “Overcomer” and “Warrior.” Click here to grab your spot!
Will this anxiety ever go away? Honestly, I don’t know for sure. I believe that all things are possible with God, and I also know that we live in a fallen world and sometimes the things we struggle with serve a greater purpose in our lives than the full healing of them would. What I do know for sure though is this: we don’t have to stay stuck in the cycle of fear and anxiety anymore. We can learn. We can grow. We can overcome. And that is all the hope I need for today.
Be encouraged, my friend, and know that you’re not alone.