Talking about my personal issues has never been my strong suit.
I can write things down for hours, text for days, make small talk and ask impersonal questions for as long as you like. But ask me to be real and vulnerable with you for even just one moment and you find me speechless in an attempt to face my biggest weakness. At least that was me up until my most recent battle. Anxiety.
Though I have not completely come through this battle thus far, I have more of an inclination to ‘fight the good fight’. You see unfortunately the enemy knows my weaknesses. The enemy knows I have much difficulty opening up to people. And he will use it to his advantage. In situations where I was alone and vulnerable, the enemy took this opportunity in planting these thoughts in my mind. ‘You’re all alone’, ‘Nobody cares’, ‘Just. Give. Up.’ I had just moved away from everything I knew. My Church, My friends, My Home. I left the ones I had leaned on through tough times because I heard this small voice that said ‘Go’. So I went, and instead of drawing closer to God at this point I drew further away. I thought to myself ‘It’s better to be alone’, ”Let’s not be the new girl again’, ‘Don’t be vulnerable’. You see I wasn’t actually seeing things clearly. I had walked away from God so easily and I hadn’t given it a second thought. I was blinded. The enemy didn’t want me to find a new Church to call Home. The enemy was afraid of me finding a new Home. And I fell for his trap. My bad.
As I drew further away every day, the enemy attacked more every day until I had my first panic attack. And then again. And again. In the midst of this I figured to myself I was going crazy. Around four months of being out of Church, I eventually got up the courage and initiative to go to one more Church. Days before I recall crying out to God and saying this would be the last Church I ever went to. I walked in on that cold Sunday morning fully ready to walk out at the end and never look back. But God had heard my cry. And I walked into this Church, and I was home. I knew this instantly. I knew because of the peace I felt wash over me. Home. I felt welcomed. I was Home.
This was not the end of my battle. In fact it started to get worse. Amidst more panic attacks and medication I got desperate. I can’t really explain it but I began to think that maybe anxiety had to hit me in order for me to go back to God. I don’t really know-but God does. In my most desperate time in my life I found myself crying (literally) for God to take it away. All the difficulty breathing, the persistent thoughts, all of it. But that didn’t happen. It got worse.
The first time I told anyone around me was in a Connect Group. I didn’t give any details. The next was at the same Connect Group four weeks later. I had gotten desperate for this battle to end. And that’s when it started. The healing process.
The story of this healing process-which is still going-is for a later date. My journey of anxiety is a long story. Full of prayer and tears and fear. I may never give my full story or tell of every battle I have faced or every thought that has raced through my mind. However, anxiety is serious, it can lead to some very disheartening situations if a person feels like things aren’t ever going to get better. My journey is still going, but my biggest lesson learned in life through these times is that we all need community. No matter who you are. We need people around us who see us and are there for us in our most vulnerable states. Have enough courage to find community, and to be vulnerable. Before it becomes desperate.