I struggle with anxiety. A lot.
I think the hardest part of talking about it is that first part: the admitting that I don’t have it all together and that I would be lying if I said everything is super wonderful all the time. Once I can get those first few words out, once I can end that sentence that tells you that I’m pretty messed up, just like everyone else, I can tell you anything you want to know.
I’m finding that being honest about this problem is not only liberating for me but also encouraging for people who, just like me, have been suffering in silence for what feels like forever.
I say that like I don’t still wrestle with this every single day, like it’s not so easy for me to get lost in panicked ruts of thought, well-tracked in my brain. It happens at least every day.
Some days aren’t as bad as others, and on those days I’m thankful. Some days are ridiculous and I feel like I’m losing my mind, and on those days I try to be thankful for whatever I can come up with to be thankful for anyway.
Today was a hard day. A really hard day. Call it self-induced stress from the holidays, or over-committing myself, or procrastinating, or a combination of all of those things, but I found myself on edge for a huge part of the day.
I was driving Caleb and I home from a friend’s house tonight. It was late and raining and I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so my depth perception wasn’t especially excellent. I’m all hunched up at the wheel, straining my eyes through raindrops on the windshield to try to see where we’re going. Every time a car passed us on the other side of the road I held my breath because I couldn’t see a dang thing. I was certain I was going to wreck the car with my husband and me inside, or at least manage to cause some catastrophe. Not a fun feeling on a normal day; not at all a good feeling for an over-anxious woman.
Then I remembered my daddy teaching me to drive and telling me that when oncoming cars’ lights were too bright, to keep my eyes on the white line on my side of the road until they passed. I wouldn’t drive into oncoming traffic but I wouldn’t drive off the road either, and I’d manage to not be blinded. Once that tip came to mind, the drive home was significantly better.
Not like it erased the stresses of the day or managed to melt away the pent-up aggression and worry within me, but the situation was less dire and I was way less overwhelmed.
It made me wonder how many times God is my white line – guiding me through whatever lies ahead–whatever threatens to blind me with panic and worry and fear–and I just forget to look for Him.
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Laura Hyers is a Tampa native, writer, and the newly wed wife of musician Caleb. She recently graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in literature and is currently teaching preschool. When not chasing a class of two-year-olds, Laura is writing and fighting fierce bouts of wanderlust. She loves music, reading, being near the ocean, and dreaming big over huge cups of coffee with her best friend Lakin. Laura blogs at http://littlebirdmarie.wordpress.com.
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5 thoughts on “When anxiety is driving you crazy”
Hi Lisa…man oh man, have I been there, done that! I have experienced both daily anxiety and fear during driving because I couldn’t see (raising my anxiety level right through the roof of the car!). I remember a time I was driving through fog on a mountain pass early in the morning. My children were with me. I think I may have been actually holding my breath. Suddenly I felt as if the Lord were speaking to me (I’m sure he was…I’ve never forgotten this moment in 25 years). “This fog is like your life. You cannot see very far ahead. In fact, you only see as it seems to open up before you. It is so with your life. I do not allow you to see very far into the future, but my light shines right in front of your feet.” The fog didn’t lift but just knowing that the Lord was right there with me calmed me down considerably. Thanks for being so honest, Lisa. There’s lots of us anxiety-prone women out there.
Thanks so much, Linda. I posted this one, but it was actually our beautiful weekly columnist Laura Hyers who wrote it. Like you, I adore her openness and humble willingness to let us into her heart and mind in such real ways. She is a treasure, no? Thank you so much for your encouragement. 🙂
I appreciated your sharing your thoughts! I’ve been a Christian since childhood and, yes, I know God is with me always, but since I am very Alone in life right now, even His Invisible Presence seems too far away at this time when My Stress List is Huge – for many reasons… Good to know others need to remember to ‘watch the white line’ and that it’s not just me who needs that analogy these days… ;-}
Isn;t that like the holy spirit to bring something to your mind when you need it – I also know too much about anxiety – even during driving and I will have to remember this bit of info 🙂 Grace and peace to you!
Thanks for your post. I love your willingness to share. Such a good reminder, I try to catch myself with every concern, worry, fear, etc…and hand it up to God. I always remind myself He’s going to be all night anyway! May He bless you abundantly with His peace!