I have struggled long and hard. I have wrestled with anxiety through the depths of solitude and fought back harder than I ever thought possible. But it hasn’t saved me. In fact, it’s only made my fears worse and conditioned the fact that I am bound to my condition.
There are many deep questions about life, questions that demand answers to the purpose of your very existence. I’ve had unanswerable questions for as long as I can remember. Many I’ve never really found answers to. What is it that humans fear the most? That which they don’t understand or can’t control. The less control we have, the more we fear. That has certainly been true in my life.
Humans can only experience so much pain or fear before they come up with irrational ways to deal with their feelings. For me, the hardest thing to accept about life is that I truly have no direct control over the length of my life. Sure, there are things I can do to avoid danger or prevent disease, but in the end no one can stop death. It seems for many people that’s a given, and they just accept that fact; well, I’ve never been able to. I guess that’s why I have this thing called an anxiety disorder, and they don’t.
Anyone that’s ever had a panic attack can attest to the absolute horror of it and being convinced that you are about to die. No matter how many times you have one, you are never immune to the grip of fear. At some point alone the way, I couldn’t stand feeling so helpless and vulnerable; I took control back, and it came at a steep price.
For many years, anxiety was at least manageable. But I began to pick up the habit of using irrational thoughts to protect myself from fear. Subconsciously, I was telling myself that as long as I avoided places and situations that made me anxious, I would conquer fear. And I guess to some extend that worked for a while. I finally had a way to control the feelings that I hated, but soon my world got smaller and smaller; the simplest act of going to the grocery store felt like pure hell. It took years for me to realize that the control I thought I had was actually just me accepting a sentence locked in solitude and cut off from society.
I can’t live in peace without control and trying to pretend I have it sure as hell hasn’t worked, so what is the solution? God. What I need is consolation from my deep doubts about life and neither society nor myself is ever going to be able to give me answers to those questions. Humans have been wrestling with the meaning of life and the fear of death since the beginning of time. The last time I checked they still don’t know. Science can give us insights and some guesses, but still leaves us unfulfilled. The only person that can answer these questions is God.
For me, a large portion of my anxiety is self-inflicted. For too long I’ve been unwilling to turn my control over to God. I want to believe that by using some delusional thinking, I can save myself. In many ways, I’ve made myself my own God, and I’m failing miserably because I don’t have the power necessary to change myself. As evident as it should have been, it has only been recently that I’ve really understood how much worse I’ve made my situation by trusting in myself instead of something greater than me.
I could be alone in this, but I think that anyone who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks comes up with ways or things that they can do to feel like they have control over their emotions. I’m not talking about rational treatment techniques here. It’s the irrational stuff- the things we’d be embarrassed to tell anyone else about that keeps us chained in fear. The main feeling of anxiety is feeling like something is about to happen, and you have no control over it. Strangely, I find the more of my life I let go of and turn over to God, the more in control I feel.
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/zedzap/3664704985/”>Nick Kenrick.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>