Yesterday, I acknowledged my anxiety disorder publicly. The response has been very kind and I truly appreciate it. I also have some very close friends locally who have been a tremendous help to me.
I thought I would do a quick follow-up. I am not an expert, just someone who is taking one step at a time, but here are some things that help me.
First, when anyone would like to talk, I do much, much better with specific times. “Can we talk at 3:00 PM on Thursday?” I put it in my calendar. That is a huge help to me.
Second, I have found that self-care is extremely important. I have started walking with Susan every morning. I turn the phone off when I need to. I spend time in prayer and simply meditating on God’s promises or nature or some theological point that I am mulling over.
I try to take a break when I need one.
I remember God’s people and pray for them, going down the list in my mind.
On truly bad days, I run through the fingering of Bach’s French Suites in my mind. If I have time, I do it physically on the piano. The act of running your fingers through patterns is strangely calming.
I don’t know if this is good or bad, but I avoid toxic people as much as I can. I know that there are certain people that will cause me a sleepless night, so if I do have to meet with them, I will plan on not sleeping that night. I will get my headphones ready, and my kindle, and prepare some calming exercises. Strangely, this seems to help. I guess it gives the illusion of control.
Medications help. They are not a cure, but they calm the mind so it can start to work properly.
Someone wrote that anxiety is dwelling either in the past or the future. We fret over things in the past that we can’t change. Or we fret over the future over which we have no control. To calm myself, I remember Jesus’ words, grounding me in the present. Take no thought for tomorrow. Which of you by worrying can add a moment to your lifespan?
Breathing deeply, counting the breaths. In. Out. In. Out. Five things that I can see. Five things that I can touch. Five things that I can hear. Breathe. In. Out.
God remembers that we are dust. He remembers our frailty. He doesn’t put near as many burdens on us as we heap on ourselves. “Come to me”, Jesus said, “And I will give you rest.”
I have a coloring app on my phone. It is surprising how much it helps me.
I take comfort in the encouragements of scripture – take no thought for tomorrow. Be anxious for nothing. In everything give thanks.
And I thank God that these are not commands barked at me by a sergeant-at-arms, but the lullabies of a merciful heavenly father soothing a troubled heart.
And above all, get help. Talk to people. Use words. Call things by their names.
Help is there. But you have to admit that you need it.
10 responses to “Dealing with Anxiety”
The struggle is real. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you, Pastor, for the tips! I’m adding them to the ones you gave me yesterday when I asked for some. I’m keeping them in my Notes in my phone to refer to when I need them. Coming from you, a person who feels anxiety, they are more valuable than those of any counselor who learned tips in school but never felt anxiety!
And the prominence of JESUS’ ROLE in it all is the key!
We, who belong to Him, do not have to grieve or even suffer like those who have no hope. We KNOW this earthly life is not our home, it’s temporary, it can be horrid at times, but Jesus walks with us every step. HE is our hope in the midst of anxiety. And then we go home to be with Him forever! Anxiety-free! Pain-free!
That glorious knowledge can ease anxiety if we take the time to PONDER IT.
As well as remembering to do the calming/self-care tips. And yes, take medication if needed. No shame or judgment.
And NOT let ourselves get so drowned by anxiety that we forget Whose we are. Thanks for the reminder of that. Just when I needed it.
Thank you for your note. I wanted to answer, but I also did not want to start a thousand responses – so I will just say this. I have a doctor that I trust. I am aware of side effects. I also hear you about living in a stressful world,
I can only make the best decisions that I can for myself.
thank you for your concern.
*No need to post this.*
Sorry for being fanatical about it. I just know of the harms and I know people who would have never started taking any medication had they known better; those whose lives were irreparably harmed.
I love your blog. It’s really wonderful. I’m so glad you take the time to not only make posts but also engage and care about your readers.
May God bless you and your family, pastor!
Thank you for your kind words. No harm. It is just an extremely controversial subject and I didn’t want it to go there.
But thank you for the comment ❤️
This is wonderful stuff. Sharing coping strategies like these — this is when the Church shines in her beauty to me.
I would like to add to your tips: making tea! (I am British 🙂 )