I haven’t been sleeping well lately. In fact, I haven’t slept through the night in a few weeks. And I wasn’t thinking much of it, because we have a lot going on…
We’re moving out of state. Both of us are starting new jobs. We have to make new friends. We have to transition. We’ve moved in with my in-laws while our house is under a very stressful contact that I swear is about to fall through every day. Our dog has decided to be a puppy again, but not in the cute way. We’re trying to spend time with the people that we will no longer see every day. We’re trying to pack. We’re virtually searching for an apartment.. something we’ve never had to do before. Needless to say, its a lot.
According to google, anxiety is defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” I think lots of people feel anxiety at some point in their lives. I think anyone preparing for what Mike and I are preparing for would be anxious.
Webmd tells me that “Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry. People with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and can’t stop worrying about health, money, family, work, or school.” Ouch. Excessive, exaggerated worry? Check.
I realize it says “about everyday life events,” and some of the things we have going on are not considered everyday life events. But without going into excruciating detail of my thoughts and emotions, you can take my word that a lot of what’s keeping me up at night are small things. Small things stemmed by huge things that are happening, yes. But not the things I need to be losing sleep over.
I was getting discouraged because my anxiety has been so much better lately. I feel like I’ve shouted how far I’ve come off of rooftops. My prayer life, my exercise, and my new love for yoga (another story for another day) have helped give me perspective and taught me ways to rid myself of the constant anxious state I had become accustomed to.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been questioning why I’m suddenly that girl again. That girl that loses sleep over little things, that feels physically ill with worry.. the one who snaps at the ones I love and puts strain on relationships that she needs the most. What I realized is that I will always be that girl. GAD is a part of who I am and that may look different in different seasons but these low points will keep happening because I am living my life for a God that continually pushes me outside of my comfort zone.
A lot of my anxiety gets put to rest when I’m comfortable. When I’m doing the same things over and over again each and every day. When I’m not taking risks. When I’m not following through with things I want to do. When I let fear take the wheel and my heart take the back seat.
I’ve said no to a lot of things because of fear and anxiety. Because too many risks were involved. When I was in NC for my interview, one of my friends made a joke about how he doesn’t believe we are moving yet. I said “I took off two days of work and drove six hours for one interview! We’re moving.” And he said something along the lines of it being an elaborate prank. He was just messing with me.. but it’s because I had talked about moving at so many different points in my life. I had talked about doing SO many different things, some of which I still haven’t. Fear still drives certain aspects of my life.
I’m going to be okay with struggling a little more than usual if it means I’m choosing to do something outside of my comfort zone. I had the same thoughts when we started foster care. The same thoughts when I went to Africa for the first time. The same thoughts when we decided to get married when we were 21 and 22 years old.
I am not choosing to accept my anxiety. I am choosing courage overtop of it. I am choosing to live a life of courage instead of a life of comfort, even if that brings out my insecurities and worries more often. And I’m choosing to no longer be afraid to talk about it. I used to think that talking about anxiety kind of gave it ownership over you, but the opposite is happening. It’s incredibly freeing to be honest about where you are and what you’re struggling with.
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10