How would I define anxiety? How would I describe my anxiety to another person?
Anxiety is having limitless questions with no answers–and seemingly very high stakes. No answers because you don’t trust yourself. You don’t even have a gut to follow because you don’t trust any of your own thoughts, so they become only more noise in the swirling tornado.
Not having answers becomes very serious when you ask questions like “Is this issue even important?” When you don’t know which issues are life-changing and which won’t matter three seconds later, the fear is that you’ll let something go that really matters–that you’ll screw yourself over by dismissing something that was actually lifeblood.
Granted, you can ask other people for their take, and there is relief when they can confidently make a decision or offer an answer …unless for any reason it comes into question or conflict. Like when my counselor says one thing and my dad says another, but my gut offers no direction. I am paralyzed.
How do I know who is correct? I can get a third opinion and ask my boyfriend and then majority wins, if I’m lucky enough for everyone to give clear and distinct direction. But what if my dad questions my boyfriend? Then, somehow again, it’s one against one–now in two different scenarios and everything is multiplied!
There is no sense of confidence and every question spiral becomes eternal. Especially when someone suggests that perhaps the biggest issue is my overthinking it. “What if I am overthinking it? Would I know? Is something wrong with me? How do I stop overthinking it? If I try to ignore it, am I stuffing it? Will it come back to bite me later? What does my counselor say? But is my counselor trustworthy? Should I just make a decision? What if I make the wrong decision? Is this an important issue? Would a wrong decision really hurt me? I don’t know. How do I find out? Maybe I just need to make a decision and stick with it. Maybe it’s the sticking with it that will make it work. But now dad asked me a question that questions my commitment! Abort! Abort! This is probably a bad choice! So what do I do instead? Should I just stop thinking about it? How? If I don’t think about this issue, what happens to it? Am I becoming a victim because I’m just letting it happen instead of being proactive about it? Wouldn’t the responsible person be proactive? Maybe I’m not responsible. If I’m not responsible, maybe I can’t trust this decision. How do I know?…”
That is anxiety. That is the string of questions that I can’t shut up. Partly because they haunt me of their own accord and partly because I fear they speak some truth and to shut them up would be to silence wisdom. And wisdom is what I’m so very very desperate for right now.
Am I ashamed of this anxiety? Sometimes. Am I crippled by this anxiety? Certainly. Does this anxiety take my emotions and whip them around like a Jackson Pollock painting? Without a doubt.
My very existence is pleasing to God. And in my weakness he is strong.
As I wrote in a previous blog post: “[God] is here in me. In me. And I do not have to fear. And when I do fear, I do not have to shame. And when I do shame, I do not have to believe it. And when I do believe it, I am still enough. I still have God in me. I cannot get rid of God.”
I want to be real and to be honest. I want to be a safe place where you can be real and honest.