Anxiety. I wish I could blame it all on becoming a new mother  but the truth is I can’t. I have always had to deal with an element of anxiety in my life. I sometimes let myself be scared into a corner and that corner I live in sometimes is not really living at all. I’m sure I’m not the  first or the only person on the planet to deal with it, in fact, I know I’m not. I’ve heard other peoples stories about panic attacks and anxiety and the undercurrent theme in both is the irrationality of it all.

Back in the day I used to have this fear that a bear would climb up into my bedroom and attack me. A pile of clothes in the corner of my room would become a sleeping bear in the dark, waiting for me to close my eyes so it could get me.  I had a fear of fainting after watching a few of my classmates keel over right in front of me and spew throw up all over the floor as they landed and lay in the land of the unconscious.  I dream all the time and I’ve learned over time and after more than a few sleepless nights to stay away from scary shows and movies because that seems to trigger nightmares for me. No one likes lying alone in the dark after a nightmare. I can still remember going to watch “The Skeleton Key” with another couple and my boyfriend at the time. I knew it wouldn’t be any good for me but not wanting to be the loser of the group I went along and I paid for it for a couple nights. One night after this movie as I was awaking from a nightmare I heard scratching in my basement, I was convinced the couple in the movie was coming for me and it turned out to be a cat that had  snuck in the house, its nails clicking against the cement floor.

Every now and then my husband has to work out of town and I am left at home alone for the night. I used to be fine but  just recently he was gone and my old familiar friend anxiety came to visit me each night in his stead. Here’s how it would go:

I would get ready for bed. I check on my little one and listen for breathing, satisfied she’s alive and well I hop into bed and debate leaving a light on in my bedroom closet or leaving on my bedside lamp. I reason to myself that I’ve never heard of a story where someone was saved because they left a light on in their bedroom and I’m not  any safer or less safe because my lights are on or off. I turn off my lights.  My little girl moves in her bed and the sudden noise makes me jump. I’m not as calm as I am trying to be. I check facebook, I read from my bible app, then I turn off my phone and roll over. With nothing to occupy  my mind other things begin to fill my head. My senses begin to work overtime.  A car door slams, a cop siren in the distance, a scratching sound…wait, a scratching sound? Is someone trying to  pick my locks?I know this is irrational, because the scratching sound is those blinking acrobatic, black squirrels that leap from my front yard tree onto my roof and scramble over my shingles. The door bumps…why is the door bumping? Is someone trying to get in my house? Or worse…is someone in my house?? I wait for a form to burst in my door…or picture a hooded figure stealing things in my living room. Maybe if I lay really still they won’t think to bother me. Here we go again. The open window in my bedroom causes some sort of light suction that makes the door  bounce lightly back and forth. Like I said, the undercurrent here is irrationality. More anxiety ensues as I hug the blankets closer around me (like that will keep me safe?) and when I don’t dare go to the bathroom in the middle of the night or worse, when I do and I check in the shower to see if someone is hiding in there. (don’t act like you never have!…but seriously, what would we do anyhow if someone WAS in there?)

As a new mother, I experience a different kind of anxiety, I worry  about if my baby is going to cry when I’m out in public, I worry about all the eyes that might be on me, the judgmental or irritated looks I might receive, will people think I shouldn’t be mother when they watch me struggle with my nursing cover as my girl’s cries reverberate through the mall? I feel more exposed when I go out, now that it takes longer to load up my groceries, my own purse, and my baby. Will someone see me as an easy target for mugging? I know I can’t live like this, like I said, I know that this sort of thinking has me in my own mental trap and is not really living at all. So if you are someone who has ever experienced any of these thoughts or  feelings yourself I have 3 sayings I want to share with you what I heard from my parents in the last few days while they were visiting and while we chatted about some of my struggles with anxiety and 1 saying I read on a pizza box from coco brooks quite awhile ago.

 

1- From Mom:

“We often carry more cross than God gives us to carry”

2. From Dad:

“A lot of us spend time building bridges to places we never have to go”

3. From Beppe:

“God gives you grace to live and He will give you grace to die”

4. From a wise pizza box :

“Don’t tell God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your God is”

 

I need this reminder to not be bigger than God or bigger than my problems and to accept that God has numbered my days and everything in my life will always go according to His plan whether I stay up to worry about it or not. I don’t know about you but I know I will be chanting these to myself the next time I find myself wondering where I left my bat and how much jail time I might get if I accidentally kill an intruder in my house while trying to defend myself.

I feel like its cliche and I debated leaving it out but I simply can’t so here it is, a hard command for me to obey:

” Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Phillipians 4: 4-7 (ESV)

 

 

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