I'm sure your first question is probably somewhat like mine, whenever I read a blog post about anxiety and depression, or buy another self-help book… "Why does this person think they have an answer to MY problem?" Let me assure you. I have zero answers. I am not another Dr. Phil, nor a Dr. Frasier Crane. In fact there is no “Dr.” in front of my name at all. I'm simply a man who struggles with anxiety and depression every day, only here to share my stories of failures and losses, and how many times God saved my life. To share that He truly is a patient God, the only Being who has the authority to give endless second chances.
Understand, I'm not here to tell you to stop taking your prescriptions, because the Lord knows I take mine when I need to. Sometimes that's every day. But I've learned that simply taking a pill on time is not an action toward rehabilitating your anxiety, because basically we're numbing our brains with medicinal band aids. My mind has found its greatest relief in prayer to God, and in reaching out to the people God has placed in my life, having faith that every painful memory, every panic attack, every mistake, has a use through God’s ultimate weapon of power...Love.
Ugh! I know that sounds super cheesy and cliché. I’m sorry to have to tell you, one of your strongest assets in battling anxiety is loving other people. Sometimes as “Worry Warts” we need to learn to take the focus off ourselves. For goodness sakes! Give yourself a breather! Isn’t over analyzing and criticizing everything you do all day long exhausting work? It’s healthy to remind ourselves that we aren’t the only people on earth who are struggling. Some people around the world, their only worry/decision for the day is which child to feed, because they don’t have enough food for all their children.
Don’t worry, your problems will be right there exactly where you left them. So take opportunities to distract your brain whenever they happen. If someone reaches out you, accept the invitation THIS time. You might not see them again, or they might not see YOU again.
I am reminded of a beautiful cinematic scene from the film "Into the Wild" which tells the true-life story of Chris McCandless. After discovering a terrible truth from his family’s history, Chris burns all his money and travels alone on foot, and hitching rides, on an enrapturing journey to Alaska. In this scene, Chris has befriended an old widower who says something that changed my perspective on the past, and how we are only “present beings,” we cannot go backward or forward.
"I know you’ve got your problems, and I know you’ve got your issues with the church, but there's something out there that's bigger than all of us, and it sounds like you don't mind calling it God, so I want to tell you this...when you forgive, you love, and when you love, God’s light shines upon you.” - Into the Wild
Anxiety is not an easy thing to talk about. It is a heavy and personal subject that most people avoid discussing. But anxiety is a very real thing that not only affects the victim but has a strong impact on their loved ones. I have noticed there’s very little out there that reaches the personal and emotional battle of anxiety, other than scholars or Dr.’s giving us research. The perspective of someone who has been there is not always heard. Chris and I are excited (and scared) to share our story with you. We want to share our stories of our awesome highs and our incredible low's through this journey. We are ready to be very real and open about what we have gone through, and what helps us get through these challenging times.
Within the first few months of our marriage Chris fell into a deep depression. He was having severe panic attacks, and I tried everything I could to help him. The problem was, I was focusing only on what I was doing to help him.. it was draining me – emotionally, mentally and physically. This period of our lives caused extreme stress for me – I was trying to take the weight of a marriage on by myself. I did not talk about it with anyone, because I felt the need to protect Chris. I finally started to open up to my mother about some of the things we were battling and her words were simple and sweet – “pray for him." It hit me that I was not giving this over to God and needed to pray for strength - for him and me.
Chris and I have been praying for healing, and for a purpose to the battles we have been facing. As a couple we felt like God wanted to share what He has been doing, and continues to do in our lives. No, we have no credentials, we are not scholars (nor are we pretending to be)- simply, we want to encourage others who have been in our situations, or even worse.
Through this journey, I would like to share with you my perspective of watching Chris, and caring for him while he battles to stay strong for our family, and the man that God wants him to be. Whomever it is that struggles with anxiety, whatever role you play in their lives, what you do for them is important. Don’t give up! Encourage them, love them, and pray for them.