Lauren laid lifeless on her bed, hazel eyes focused on the black and white spiral painted ceiling. She continued to focused on the ceiling trying to forget the more pressing matter, the death of her grandmother. Why her? Why now? I just saw her last month and then to get the news two weeks ago; it’s unreal to think that she’s gone. Again she continued to observe the pattern in front of her, pushing out the thoughts. The more she concentrated on the spiral, the worst the thoughts rushed in. Flashbacks of the funeral circled around her mind and then the burial. Suddenly, Lauren’s eyes Began to fill with salty water again and her breaths grew intense. Looking for refuge in the ceiling, the spiral began to spin violently (even though it wasn’t moving) and panic seeped in like water flooding a basement. A part of Lauren wanted to sit up however, the other part of her was terrified to move. Feeling the Anxiety getting worse, Lauren went into a fetal position and began to scream.
There’s no words to describe the feeling anxiety can bring. You go from zero to one hundred in a matter of seconds. One moment you’re fine and next thing you know, you’re crying your eyes out. The mind begins to race like a skydiver freely falling and concentration is not even an option. It’s a constant battle and the end doesn’t feel like a possibility. How do I know about this? I lived it.
Fall 2011 was such an exciting time of my life as I had just begun my college journey. New state, new classes, new friends, and overall new experiences. Things were going well and I was happy. However, on October 25th my life changed forever. Coming back from the gym that night, I saw that my phone was flooded with missed calls from back home. Calling back I had received the news no person wants to hear…my grandfather had passed away. Words couldn’t describe what that moment was like.
The days that followed were heartbreaking but the day of the funeral was the day I dreaded the most. Tears were the only communication I had that day and if any words…they would turn into more tears. The person that was in my life and had watch me grow was gone.
As I continued the process of grieving, anxiety began to become a problem. Flashbacks of the funeral would come to mind. There were times where I would have to remind myself of the present by saying the day of the week, the time, etc. to snap out of it. I would isolate myself and cry. Overall, I became fearful and ridden with anxiety. Pain was like a waterfall, constantly flowing over. Like Lauren, anxiety became so bad that one night I found myself not being able to move and going into fetal position. Eventually years passed and grief became lighter but anxiety/fear was still apart of me. It began to spill into my everyday life manifested by thoughts. Constantly, I found myself at this spot over and over again.
At this point you’re probably wondering if there was a breakthrough, if there was an end. It’s been almost seven years and I can tell you that I’m doing better. This year, I realized that my anxiety doesn’t take over my life like it used to!
Ways to Overcome Anxiety:
First off, I can’t take any credit for this. The only reason why anxiety doesn’t grip my life anymore is because of Jesus Christ. Jesus set me free from the thing that had so much control over me.
Jesus doesn’t leave you: In the earlier days of my grief, I cried so much and the pain was immense. Yet even though I was surrounded by the circumstances I also felt enormous peace. It was peace that couldn’t be produced through products, self medication, etc. Instead, there were no words for it except that it came from Him. Even though things were dark, I wasn’t alone and the reminder of that was comforting.
“…he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Support: One day I had gone to my campus mailbox and in it I found a card. The card was from Reverend Gale, our college vice president of student life. It was beautiful and uplifting especially during that difficult time. It was touching not only because of the card but also because it showed care, compassion, and support. That meant the world to me because again it showed that I wasn’t alone.
The unexpected: When I came back to campus (after the funeral), I met my roommate’s friend. She had heard the news about my grandfather and began to reach out to me. This girl who I had hardly knew at the time came into my path and became a support. Sure enough she became one of my college best friends (along with my roommate). Sometimes during difficult circumstances, the unexpected happens and it’s beautiful.
Time: You’ve probably heard the saying that “time heals all things” and it really does. Overcoming anxiety takes time. Some days are going to be good days and some days are going to be worse. It’s okay! why? It’s a process. Today I still have my struggles but nothing like before and that’s because of Jesus, I’m thankful.
Maybe like me you’re facing anxiety. Whether through grief, illness, depression, or even just your everyday life…it doesn’t matter anxiety is anxiety! Jesus doesn’t want you to suffer like this and wants to break that power from your life. It doesn’t matter what you’re facing or who you are. All you have to do is call on Him. Watch and see! Today, I stand in happiness and amazed at what He’s doing.