My anxiety levels have been higher than usual lately. So much so that my oldest son keeps asking me if I am okay. He know the signs. The breathing. The faltering before I drive somewhere. The cautious behavior. The tendency to want to stay home. I make every effort not to let anxiety rule my life. For the most part I move through the discomfort rather than let the discomfort stop me.
But a few days ago, I felt like, well, crud. In fact most midmornings this week I have had moments of feeling like if I let myself, I could panic. - I won't let myself. But I could. - About mundane issues. About driving. On an interstate. About eating. At a restaurant. About leaving the house. For something new. On the other side of town. All of these seemingly normal activities cause me heightened levels of awareness on a good day. This week has been a little less than my best. Lucky for me I have already panicked about all of these things and lived to tell the tale. I did not throw up. I did not die. I survived new, exciting activities, like restaurants serving chicken on the other side of town only accessible by interstate roads. At first I survived these fabulous activities because Michael drove. Then I survived on my own. I can drive to my parents' house all the way in Tennessee. I have to prepare, but it has been done - several times - since the anxiety started.
It started in 2007 when I got sick. I got really sick. And then I had surgery. And then I continued to get sick. And the doctors did not know why. So they ran tests. Again. And in the time it took them to figure out my health problems (about a year), I developed anxiety. I got nervous I'd get sick. In public. Maybe I'd do something embarrassing, like throw up, but maybe I'd do something scary, like pass out. Both were distinct possibilities. If I passed out, and I had my kids, they would worry, so instead I stayed home. And the anxiety fueled itself.
Nowadays I have been healthy long enough that I can usually function quite well. It's just that stress or tiredness can make me susceptible to old fears.
Flash back to this week. At the lunch table I was breathing and eating. Eating and breathing. (A fabulous meal companion, I know.) My Key is looking at me with knowing eyes, so I remind him of when he doesn't want to do something because it is an unknown - like field trips. I explain that I am fine, but that I am having some of those same feelings about my day. And my oldest son, Key. He says to me. Mom. You know the fear is not true. You know your brain is just messing with you. You know Truth. You know it. Don't believe the fear. Just let it go.
How can you not think Jesus is speaking straight through my children?
I mean it.
2 Timothy 2:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.
P.S. We have been out to museums and hiking and to festivals all week. And that anxiety just made each day and all the blessings that much sweeter. Burdens = Blessings. Really.