Thursday, May 9, 2013

Getting Free from Anxiety

My 7 year old daughter has had health issues for 7 years. Consequently, I have had inner struggles for 7 years. This has included depression, stress, fears, and anxiety. I've never seen a doctor for any of these but I know I have had them. I have had good times where I have had little or none of these inner struggles. And I have had rough patches where my work and everyday life have suffered. Sometimes, I was aware that I was struggling. Sometimes, I wasn't.

If you would have asked me six months ago, if I suffered from anxiety, I would have said no.  I would admit that I felt stress a little each day but I wasn't that bad. I didn't know how bad I was! The thought of taking both of the kids to McDonald's by myself was enough to get me anxious. (I realized later what I felt was anxiety.) I always had this faith-fear conflict. My fear said--Jaycee's going to run off. She might get away from you and get hurt. She's not going to listen to you and you're going to get frustrated.

Why did my fear say that? Because my negative experiences in the past left a lasting emotional impression on me. There's been times when I have simply let go of Jaycee's hand to get my keys and found myself chasing her through the a parking lot. It scared me. And I felt like a terrible mother.

But my faith said to be strong and not fear. I would be brave and decide to go to the store or a restaurant. I would feel good that I would be brave enough to go. Then that sneaky anxiety would pop up. As I would be driving or preparing to go somewhere I would think about the possible negative outcomes of this trip. I would get worried about Jaycee's safety and my ability to watch her close enough. My body would tense up. I'd be on edge. It's hard to explain this well enough to so that people can understand it.

Taking the kids out was just part of it. Jaycee's health scares was how it all started. There have been times that I have worried about her life ending. I have worried about her getting sick, being in the hospital, etc. Most people in my situation I think would be this way. When your kid has 2 open heart surgeries, 3 heart caths, strabismus surgery, 2 sets of tubes, 11 hospital admissions for illnesses -including 3 in the ICU, and several asthma attacks at home turning her blue, chaos and sickness become normal and almost expected.

At some point, even when Jaycee was healthy I couldn't enjoy it. I was convinced it was just a matter of time before something bad would happen again. I also became accustomed to life associated with sickness and life/death situations. It seemed odd to have a "normal" life where nothing critical happened. I didn't want her to be sick. I just didn't know how to deal with her sicknesses and then pick back up with my everyday life. There's so much to say about all of this and I don't want this post to take hours to read.

On New Year's Eve, as I was crying about something ignorant to my husband, I realized enough is enough. I have struggled with these things for 7 years. That is a long time...too long to live with so many fears and anxiety. I decided I would get help. A few months later, I found myself in a home getting 4 hours worth of prayer from people I trusted. Growing up in church, I firmly believed I could overcome all of my inner struggles through prayer and faith but I couldn't do it on my own.

The Bible says Jesus will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus is the authority of peace. Peace is found in him. It is not found through calmness of circumstances. I believed that I could be happy if Jaycee was just healthy. But that wasn't true because I didn't feel better even when she was. It is a lie to believe that your peace can only come through resolution of your problems. Jesus is Peace. Therefore, true peace can be achieved no matter the circumstances.

By confessing some of my fears and getting encouragement spoke over me during prayer, I was able to get relief. Maybe I will get into the details of the prayer time in another post. But I will say that I have changed as a result of that prayer. About a week after the prayer, I could actually sit down and feel relaxed. It's been almost 2 months since I received spiritual help, I will say that today I am 80-90% better. I'm not perfect. I have wrong thought patterns established and I'm going to have to break the ones that are left. But I feel different. I took Jaycee somewhere the other day without worrying and obsessing about it first. I just went and actually enjoyed myself. It feels good to think positively again and not be bogged down with so much junk in my head. If you are having some of these same troubles, please find someone you trust and get help. Change is possible!

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