“’Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Anxiety and panic stink. Living with an anxiety disorder is like living with a sleeping beast deep down inside of you who you have no control over. You have an idea of what will cause this beast to wake up and yet, sometimes it chooses to let loose for no apparent reason. You can’t predict a beast, it acts in ways that make no sense.
Last night my beast woke up. I am allergic to acetominaphen and ibuprofen so no headache, cold or pain killer medicine for me. I was pouring some cold medicine for my daughter and spilled it down my arm. I immediately felt the beast start to stir. I ran into the bathroom and washed my arm like I had spilled acid on myself. I scrubbed for several minutes with hot soapy water all the while in my head thinking, “a substance on your skin for 20 seconds will enter your bloodstream.” YIKES! My head began to spin a bit between trying to clean my arm, clean the mess and remain calm in appearance so that I wouldn’t upset my daughter.
Let me just stop for a moment and explain something. For those of you who don’t have this disorder this may sound strange but, you can’t always tell when someone is having an anxiety attack. Most people who live with an anxiety disorder have learned very well how to stay calm on the surface while their beast is making a mess below. It is part of the coping mechanism and is also part of what makes this disorder complex.
Back to last night. Once I got everything cleaned up and my daughter off to bed, I laid in the stillness of my room and prayed. “God, I need you to protect me here. Please don’t let me have a reaction. Please take away this anxiety.” The voices in my head were condemning with words like, “don’t be so stupid, a little medicine on your arm isn’t going to kill you,” to “you are so weak and this is so crazy.” I swallowed over and over just to make sure I could. I paid close attention to my breathing. I watched a movie to keep my brain distracted. I prayed. This all kept going for about an hour. Every moment that ticked by made me feel a little bit better because I wasn’t noticing any symptoms. Every prayer made me feel a little bit better because I knew God was with me.
I dream about a day when I have no anxiety. I am so thankful to say that my anxiety attacks are few and far between thanks to God who has brought a peace to my life that is completely amazing and nothing short of miraculous. I have had days when I couldn’t go past the front isles of a grocery store because my anxiety was so bad. I have days now when an elevator will send me into a tailspin. And for the most part, I have days where when I feel my beast stirring even a little bit, I run to my Rock and my Refuge for coverage and He brings peace.
God, in His infinite wisdom, is not taking my anxiety disorder away from me and I have accepted that as fact. Thankfully, He has not left me alone in it and I have verses like this from Isaiah to remind me that He is always with me to strengthen me and I need only look at Him. This is one of my weaknesses that can and will show His strength in my life and I have story after story after story to prove it.
Anxiety disorders stink but our God is bigger than any attack we have. If you don’t struggle with this I pray you will be compassionate towards those who do. Approximately 40million people in America have some type of anxiety disorder. (www.nimh.nih.gov) Please grasp that we understand our anxiety doesn’t make reasonable sense so don’t try to help us explain it away with reason. Pray for us. Support us. Love us and walk through the attacks with us. If you do struggle with this, pray and read your bible. God has so much in His Word to support you, love you and help you with this disorder. Pray for His guidance to the verses that you need. Seek medical help if you are having a hard time coping. There is no shame in seeking help.
If you want a prayer partner, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will also share the verses that help me the most if you think that will help you.
Live in God’s love, grace, peace and mercy.