Picture this: you’re on the bus minding your own business when suddenly everything starts closing in on you, or maybe you’re lying in bed trying to wind down from a long day and all you can feel is your heart pounding. No, you are not in any immediate danger, nor is the world going to end, but unfortunately for you, this has become normal. This is anxiety, and you’d be surprised about how many of us struggle with it.
Anxiety shows no mercy. It can hit you anytime and anywhere. I started to feel my anxiety symptoms back in high school when I was under a tremendous amount of stress. I have an irregular heartbeat, so I assumed my symptoms were because of that, but after visiting the doctor, I was told I was fine and that I had “a mild touch of anxiety.” “Try to calm down,” my doctor had said; easier said than done, doc.
Anxiety stems from many things, but personally, my symptoms tend to creep up whenever I’m stressed out and/or worried, which I have mastered the art of. I’m starting to see that I am not alone in this. Finding a job is stressful. Most of my generation is unemployed and the stigma of that weighs heavy on us. We feel like we’re not good enough and we’re terrified of what we will become. This is a scary time in our lives and anxiety seems to have a firm grip on our fears with no intention of letting go.
I’ve become quite the insomniac over the course of the past few years due to my anxiety. My mind starts racing and then my heart follows suit. I wind up lying in bed feeling like my whole body is shaking. I wish there were a way to shut down my brain for a few hours so I can finally get a good night’s sleep. Uncertainties about what I should be doing with my life start to quarrel with my mind and before I know it, the sun starts to rise. While everyone is getting ready for a brand new day, I am trying to end the previous one.
Handling your anxiety can be tricky. I find that listening to music helps immensely. Just finding a song that describes every fear sung out loud is so comforting, but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes you just need someone to be there so you know that you’re not alone. Hugs work wonders too; I wish I had a few more of those.
While others who aren’t dealing with anxiety try to help, sometimes they unintentionally make things worse. Telling us to “calm down” doesn’t help and most of the time it only makes us more anxious.
They say that if you’re anxious you’re not trusting God enough. Maybe they’re right, but I can’t help feeling uncertain at the most confusing time in my life. While I do talk to God during my worst nights, asking Him to please help me fall asleep, I sometimes wish everything would fall into place so I can kick my anxiety to the curb for good.
Through it all, God is my beacon of hope. He listens and He understands. I guess you could say He’s my best friend. He knows how all of this is going to turn out, and I think that’s what gets me through the night; a tiny spark of wonder and the anticipation of what’s to come help drive me to fight off those demons. I trust that He won’t hurt me and that He has my best interests at heart.
Anxiety isn’t a walk in the park and I realize that I may not have it as bad as others. To those suffering with a much worse case, my prayers are with you. Just remember that the trick is to keep breathing and praying. Taking a walk through that park can’t hurt, either. You just might discover some new found solace.
*Originally posted on Venn Magazine.