Hello Anxiety

Megan Carter   -  

Let me just start with anxiety sucks. Period. There you have it the shortest blog post… Ok maybe not, let’s dive in. I grew up in the ’90s and early 2000s, if you grew up around this time or even before this you will probably understand what I’m talking about. Anxiety was taboo to talk about. If it was even talked about at all. Usually, I heard it lumped in with depression. I understand they can go hand in hand but to say everyone who has anxiety is depression would be an incorrect statement. Growing up I dealt with anxiety, but unfortunately, I didn’t know that I was struggling with it. I can look back now and see specific times in my life where anxiety had a huge grip on me, but since I couldn’t put a name to it I thought something was wrong with me. 

I grew up in an amazing Christian home, I had parents who loved and supported me and I had friends all around me. Life should have been great! No worries in the world, but that’s not the way I felt on the inside. I got really good at wearing a mask, not like a face mask that we have to wear today when we go out. (Thanks COVID…not) But my mask was wearing a smile, not letting people in to see the real me. I know part of this stems from my personality and the fact that I am a perfectionist.  I allow people to only see what I want them to see. Everyone saw my great life filled with family and friends, kinda like that perfectly positioned Instagram post where you see this beautifully clean and organized house but what you don’t see is that 10 feet away (what isn’t pictured) is a mess. That’s a good example of how my life was growing up. My IG post would have looked like a perfectly placed picture of me and my friend sitting at a round concrete table laughing and eating ice cream from our favorite place, Polly’s Freeze. (It’s a local mom and pop shop that was the hangout spot in my small town. Picture below) But on the inside, I felt like I wasn’t enough, and at times it felt as though my world was crumbling underneath my feet. I couldn’t live up to the perfect standard I was setting up for myself. To add to my anxiety, growing up in church I felt as though “good Christians” weren’t depressed and that was the only name I could find for how I was feeling. I hid what I thought I was dealing with because if I admitted it, it would be confessing that I wasn’t perfect and that probably would have caused my figurative house of cards to crumble. 

{This is Polly’s Freeze the hangout spot while I was in high school, well at least from the end of March to early September because Polly’s is a seasonal business}

During this time I struggled with the feeling that something was wrong with me and I was the only one going through this. It tore me up inside to the point that thought’s crossed my mind, “would anyone miss me if I wasn’t around?” I had this feeling that I was replaceable and I wasn’t special. Even though I knew deep down that I was a child of God and He created me with a plan and for a purpose, but I struggled with  trusting in His promises because I couldn’t see the bigger picture. 

About 5 years ago mental health started to get more traction and became socially acceptable to the general public to start the conversation. This is when I came to the realization that during the majority of my childhood I had in fact dealt with anxiety. It was like a lightbulb turned on over my head and made a ‘ding’ as it lit up. The memories that flooded my mind of past events and the relief that now I was able to put a name to the struggle. I began reading more about what anxiety looked like for me because it will hit everyone in different ways. After doing some research and talking to God and my husband, I decided to take some measures to help myself live a fuller life. Honestly, the biggest part was realizing what anxiety was and creating a plan on how to handle situations that bring me the most anxiety.  I spent a lot of time in prayer, but I also learned ways to help me, calm my breathing and take a step back from anxious situations. Aside from prayer the most impactful lesson I learned was to talk to someone. Find your person you can talk about anything with no judgment and reach out to them when you find yourself in a hole. It can be a friend, spouse, or professional. There is no shame in seeing a counselor actually I told someone the other day “smart people talk to a counselor or therapist.” Sometimes the hardest step is that first one. If you need prayer email me at megan@churchanywhere.us I would love to pray with you!

There are many other stories I could tell you about times when I dealt with anxiety or the time I had a full-blown anxiety attack. If you are wondering yes, those stories will most likely be on later blogs, but we are going to leave it here for now. Keep checking back every week for new blog post!

Talk to you next week!