Say YES…When Anxiety or Fear Tells You To Say NO.

Anxiety, Holding Me Back

As I have mentioned earlier, I have and still do struggle with anxiety. For me, I now see that some of it stems from insecurities and being too concerned with what others might think of me. Most of that starting in childhood with some not-so-nice people teasing me, playing mean tricks on or rejecting me. In hindsight I can now see it played a part in my being afraid to trust my own judgments or to trust others.

Over many years I have become much more comfortable in my own skin and have learned that I can trust myself more. It is one reason why I have a very…and I mean very…small circle of friends. I want to know you are trustworthy before I let you in.

But with that baggage and other unrecognized fears I now know, it has caused me to hold back a lot in my life. Say “NO” to participating in things I really could have enjoyed. Part of the purpose in my writing this blog, is for this to be a proactive way for me to purposefully, live fearlessly.

Making A Change

Lately, when I am asked to do something that would usually cause me trepidation, not because it is a bad or dangerous thing, but because of my stupid anxiety or fear, I remember this blog and my new goal to try to live life fearlessly. Doesn’t mean I don’t still feel the anxiety or fear…but this new awareness encourages me to go for it anyway. With or with out fear. I am sure you have heard the saying , “Courage is not the absence of fear, but is acting in spite of it.”

I hope that by saying YES to things that I would usually avoid or back away from simply because of my irrational fears, will be a trans-formative thing for me. I feel like it is already.  So I ask you to join me in this journey of saying YES to things that you would usually say NO to simply because of anxiety or fear.  Now, I am not talking about saying yes to everything. Nothing illegal, immoral, hurtful to yourself or others. I simply mean saying YES to things that you only say NO to because of anxiety or fear. Check out the verse below as inspiration and comfort in times of fear.

Isaiah 41:10 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.

 

Think about some of the things you would usually say NO to but secretly you wish you could say YES and really enjoy it.  You can begin by simply sharing your feelings about something with others, if that is one area that you hold back. Try something new that you think might interest you. Whether you are anxious or fearful…try it anyway.  Live Fearlessly!

 

Adventurous? Who, Me?

No one who knows me would call me adventurous.  I have usually lived my life pretty safe.   I am not one who likes to try new things such as kayaking, zip-lining or even driving down a road I am not familiar with.  I think a part of me has always been that way, but in recent years, my living “close to the vest” as the old saying goes, is more prevalent.  I am not sure when I started to feel less in the mood to take a risk.  Don’t get me wrong, I have taken risks in my life and things have often gone well. But there are certain times I am extremely hesitant.  My recent struggles with anxiety have exacerbated this.

Where am I now?

I am at a point in my life now where I don’t want to live fearful anymore. I want to be more spontaneous and adventureous, fearless. I owe it to my husband, my family and most of all to myself. Looking back at my life I can see areas where I was willing to take a risk and areas where I definitely was not. It helps me at this stage to realize I have taken risks before and I can do it again. Even take new risks!

One example of a risk I took was agreeing to move out of state, away from family and begin a new life together with my husband.  I had barely traveled out of state let alone LIVED in another state.  At that time in my life, I was willing to do so.  We had a young child back then and our work options were limited. We needed a change. So we made the move. We did have one family member who lived in our new area. That did help put me at ease some.  As it turned out, this was the best move we could have made. We have been in Virginia for over 20 years now and definitely call it home.

Being somewhat shy and lacking self-confidence I often felt unsure of the choices I made.  I was nervous to step out of my comfort zone, but I now realize it was those very uncomfortable things that helped me grow professionally as well as personally. The growth allowed me to have enough confidence and faith to start my own very small business as well as a blog several years ago.

While I did have emotional setbacks, I feel that am on the other side of that now. I can see how God can use our struggles and our pain to first, strengthen our relationship with Him and second, to allow us to have greater compassion for others and use our experiences to help them carry on.

Moving Forward

I know I have missed out on things in my life because of my lack of “risk” taking and I don’t want to live that way anymore. Part of the reason for this blog in the first place is to help me and hopefully help you to live life to the fullest. To live fearlessly. I don’t mean live stupidly. But to be able to live a life that is unafraid. A big inspiration for this new perspective is the song, Fearless by Jasmine Murray.

I say that I trust that God has got my back, but am I living that out? I hope so. Maybe one day people will say that I am adventurous. Fearless, even.



Living With and Through Anxiety

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I know first hand how devastating anxiety can be. I have experienced anxiety and panic attacks. I have had a close family member experience it in an even more intense way than I did and I was right there, trying to help them get through it.  It often can be all-consuming. Day and night.  I understand now that every one experiences it in a different way. It can also be closely tied with depression.

While I didn’t experience the depression aspect of it, I did experience the hopelessness. For me most of this was a new feeling. I couldn’t articulate how I felt at the time, but it was fear and despair running in my mind. When it first occurred for me I immediately sought help from my primary care doctor. That is typically how I handle things. When I feel like there is something wrong with my health, I get  checked out by the doctor.

When I saw my primary care physician, she knew something was wrong as she had known me for years. She gave me a low dose, small amount of Xanax to use if I felt like a panic attack was coming on.  I was truly against using it. I had heard so much negatively surrounding that med. But…with my mind being utterly consumed and my body feeling on edge, I decided to try a half of a pill. For me, this didn’t work. It made me feel woozy and I didn’t feel like I was functioning well. I had to go to work. I kept the bottle but didn’t use it.

I read everything I could about anxiety and panic attacks to see if I could do anything to make it better. I tried changing my diet some, adding foods that are supposed to help, limiting others like caffeine,  engaging in  exercise, listening to soothing music and more.  Some of those things did help. I also got very deep into scripture and listening to different preachers that I like. That was soothing to me, but I was still struggling.

Each of us have different things that will trigger anxiety. For me it was traveling out-of-town, worrying about my kids health, among some others.

I wrestled with my faith and this condition. I was very hesitant to go on another medication. I had a visit from some friends from church that convinced me that it was okay to take meds if I needed them. It’s no different than if I was dealing with a physical illness and needed meds.

After about one and a half years of struggling, I was finally put on a low dose daily med that really helped me a lot. After a couple of weeks I really felt good. More like myself.  My family member that dealt with severe panic and anxiety ended up on numerous different meds. Some helped for a minute others made it worse.  Everyone responds differently to meds and to other treatments such as therapy.  You will likely have to explore a few options to find the right “things” or combo of things to help you.

Over the past couple years some very stressful events in my world occurred and I did have to increase my med and that has been going pretty well for me.  During those highly stressful times I was also introduced to essential oils. I was extremely skeptical about them. I was given a few blends to try for anxiety and after a few weeks I can say they did help me.  I continue to use as needed. I don’t know if it’s mind over matter or what…but it does seem to help.

When things would get really bad for me, I would have to remind myself that this feeling won’t last forever and I remember that each time anxiety or panic washes over me, it eventually does flee. I will feel like myself at least  for a little while.

I am now at a point in my life where I am mostly feeling good. I do still have moments where things are not great in the anxiety department but I know I have gotten through it before and will again. I still use a daily med, I pray, use oils and I have a cup decaf green tea every day. For me all this helps. For you it may be something else.

If you are struggling with anxiety I want to give you hope. I have witnessed first hand the severity of this struggle. I know the physical and mental pain that is all too real. Don’t give up! Pray, read, avoid listening to the news for a while (I feel like that can be a trigger for many), maybe disconnect from social media. Find the things that elicit a sense of calm for you or  that provides you with a distraction.   You will get through this!