I have anxiety. In fact, I have an anxiety disorder. It is nothing short of a struggle for me on a daily basis. It’s mainly because of having a case of CDO (I like to put the letters in proper order). Germs are everywhere so I make sure to have my hand sanitizer nearby and to wash my hands on a regular basis. I see nothing wrong with keeping my hands clean. Surprisingly my hands are never dried out. Everything that we touch has germs. In fact, I think the dirtiest things to touch are elevator buttons. When was the last time those buttons have actually been cleaned? When was the last time that anyone took the time to clean said buttons? And who is cleaning them? Have they been checked out for germs, especially in hospitals? Hmm?!?
At any rate, people are another concern. In thirty-four years of ministering to people in churches, this gets harder and harder for me to be in the midst of a crowd. I don’t know if it’s because I feel like I’m closed in or if it’s because of the germs that people pass from one person to another, or if it claustrophobia. Whatever the case may be, it’s just a hard thing for me to be in a crowd of people. I don’t really even know when this started for me. It just started all of a sudden that I had problems with being in crowds.
And movie theaters–yuck! The cinemuck on the floor is absolutely disgusting let alone thinking about all the people who have sat the seat in which you find yourself sitting. The screens are just entirely too large for me as well. I see everything on the screen all at once. I point things out to people about movies that they don’t even remember seeing because I see the whole screen, not just the actors or the props they’re using, but literally the whole screen. My mind goes into a frenzy especially with action movies if I’m at the movie theater. So, I just try to stay calm and order the largest popcorn they have and a large coke and just focus on that instead of the screen as much as I can. And if the movie gets too loud, my nerves get all out of whack.
Loudness is another struggle for me–especially in the morning, afternoon, or evening. I have a hard time being a loud space or area. Loud booms from fireworks make me a nervous wreck and cause me to go into overload mentally with all the flashes and booms and people around me cheering. I don’t like to have loud music playing unless I’m in control of the volume and the music. If’s Baroque, I can listen to it loudly. You know what they say, “If it’s not Baroque, then don’t fix it!” But loud rock ‘n roll or loud jazz or loud flamenco music really can get to me.
Recently I’ve been thinking about my anxieties. Well, I actually think about them all the time. I force myself to be in crowds. I force myself to go to the movies with my family. I force myself to not worry about germs. I force myself everyday. I trust the Lord to help me with my anxieties and ask Him to take them away, but for some reason He hasn’t. Anxiety is just anxiety and it’s not really necessary, but the older I get the more I have to rely not on myself to see myself out of the anxious thoughts, but on someone else. That someone else has to be the Lord because when I’m thinking about Him, reading His Word, the Bible, and learning more about Him, my anxieties tend to slip away–even if for a moment. Here’s what I’m starting to memorize for my anxiety:
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice! Let everyone see your gentleness. the Lord is near! Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
So, I have anxiety, but there is a true cure.