(Revised from the Archives!)
The million dollar question that begs for an answer, not a quick fix.
Why Am I So Anxious?
When you have a racing heart…
manifesting in the inability to focus or concentrate aside from the worry of why you are anxious.
Sometimes you are “still” on the outside, but doesn’t the world see, or maybe sense, all of the neurons firing on the inside.
Hiding Behind Busyness
“I have to find something to do that is constructive”, you tell yourself. Maybe if I can get busy and distract myself.
The kids barge in to talk.
“I’m busy” you say.
But you are just moving stuff around on the bathroom counter. Guilt pierces your heart so you turn to the kids and ask about their day. In the middle of a blow by blow commentary about the unfairness of a certain test question, you randomly ask an unrelated question “Why didn’t you take your clothes out of the dryer this morning?”
“You aren’t even listening to me” she or he says as they stomp from the room.
“That was rude of me” you think, “but they didn’t get their clothes, and this happens all of the time. If I don’t say something I will forget.”
Hiding Behind Anger
“If one more person barges into my office, someone’s head is going to roll!” you scream at your unsuspecting secretary as she comes in to bring you coffee.
“I know you are nervous about the huge turnaround” she begins.
But you cut her off and exclaim “It isn’t the turnaround, it is the idiots who work here and can’t do anything without asking first. If I have to touch everything, I might as well do it myself!
As the secretary silently exits you secretly worry that you may be doing every thing on your own because 3 key people have quit in the last two months.
The Waves of Anxiety
The anxiousness comes and goes. (I wrote about why does it come and go if nothing externally has changed here.)
You ask God “what is going on with me”?
Without waiting for an answer you begin to berate yourself for not focusing on God enough. After all, He is all we need, right? You go through all of the reasons why you aren’t doing your relationship with God well and how it is all your fault.
By now you have forgotten your inquiry to God.
This has been going on all day. I have offended the kids (my coworkers), I’ve now offended God. I just need to take a Xanax. I know I am only supposed to take them if I am having a full blown panic attack, but I seriously feel one coming on.
The pill starts to take affect and basically you just don’t care anymore. It makes you kind of tired, but that is better than being rude to everyone.
And so the vicious cycle goes.
Around and around, yet the problem never goes away.
Your relationship with God doesn’t improve.
Your relationship with others doesn’t improve.
You may get addicted to the Xanax. I am not a fan of regular use. (I am not a doctor though either – this is a disclaimer to follow your doctors orders – but maybe ask a question.)
You are anxiously awaiting feelings of anxiety which create a self-fulfilling prophesy…
There must be a better way to get rid of the anxiety!!
I think there are many options. The most important is to not just hide your head in the sand and hope it goes away or just treat the symptoms because it will surely return.
Here are some tips:
- Commit to finding the core reason for your anxiety. If you only treat symptoms relapse will continue.
- Pray regularly and listen for God’s response. Continue to pray and lift up various solutions and ideas to Him.
- Track your anxious times. People are terrible at self report. Take a piece of paper and make columns labeled: Time, Day, Situation, People involved, How you felt, How you responded. Track for a week and look for common threads. Is the anxiety always on Tuesday’s before small group? Are you always anxious when you are out of town? At work? Look for common denominators or reasons for the anxiety.
- Journal about what you are finding in your log. Journal when you are feeling anxious. Journal in the morning to fully express yourself. (Try out www.750words.com it’s free!) Journaling is a cathartic experience. I always journal everything to God. It gives you the benefit of praying and journaling at the same time! My personal approach to journaling is here.
- See a Christian counselor to help you sort out what you are finding. We are too close to it personally. It is hard for us to see the underlying causes of our anxiety. Part of our internal defense mechanisms may stop our understanding. A counselor can help you sort it out, but if you do all of this in advance, you will need less appointments to solve the problem.
- When the underlying cause is identified, develop and implement a plan to cure or heal the underlying issue. I know this is much more complex than a bullet point on this page, but, each person will probably have a different plan.
I do know that God loves you and wants to heal your anxiety. I know that He is enough for us.
I know Satan is the one that instills fear in us. It is mostly lies!
Some of us have serious anxiety disorders that require medication long term. But, many of us don’t. We just need to understand the cause of the anxiety so we can do something about it and/or learn healthy coping skills and dependency on God.
If you aren’t sure how to get started begin by calling us to help you. We can be reached at (225) 341-4147 or [email protected]. We specialize in helping individuals overcome stress and anxiety in their lives.