“I get overwhelmed so easily. My anxiety creeps inside of me. Makes it hard to breathe. Words come over me. Feels like I’m somebody else” These words are from the song  ‘Overwhelmed’ by Royal & the Serpent. I actually found this song on TIKTOK and made a pretty cool video that portrayed how I feel when I’m overwhelmed. I have never had a song hit me so hard. If you deal with anxiety you understand that sometimes it is hard to put into words how you feel on the inside, but I feel like this artist nailed this. For those of you who don’t deal with anxiety, I am going to do my best to break this down and for those of you who do deal with anxiety, I think this will all make sense. 

“I get overwhelmed so easily.” There are days in my life where I become engulfed with anxiety, fear or even negative self-image. To someone on the outside, it can look like a switch has been flipped on inside of me and I instantly change. To the observer, what you don’t see is all the little thoughts that flood our minds and tearing apart what we said to others around us or possibly the words that someone spoke to us, even if it was just in passing, not to mention the feelings that we have pushed aside for days or weeks and how every day we might be putting a smile on to just make it through anyone asking us if we are ok. Because nine times out of ten we will say “I’m fine” and brush it off, well because we first don’t like to talk about our feelings, and second it can be really difficult to put our feelings into words. And other times the pressure builds when we are trying to be strong for someone else close to us. When we are being strong for someone else there are times we don’t let ourselves feel any emotion. While this seems like it is helpful to the recipient, we still have to deal with those emotions, and what happens to something under pressure, it usually explodes and that is where an anxiety attack can happen. 

“My anxiety creeps inside of me. Makes it hard to breathe.” I put these two lines together because this perfectly describes an anxiety attack. Some of you may have first thought of a panic attack, which this phrase could have explained that as well. I want to clear up something that occasionally gets confused. Panic attacks and anxiety attacks are different. “Symptoms of a panic attack are intense and disruptive. They often involve a sense of “unreality” and detachment. Anxiety Attack symptoms vary in intensity, from mild to severe. Panic attacks appear suddenly, while anxiety attacks symptoms become gradually more intense over minutes, hours, or days. Panic attacks usually subside after a few minutes, while anxiety attacks symptoms can prevail for long periods.” www.medicalnewstoday.com  I personally suffer from anxiety attacks and this description hits the nail on the head. For me, it starts off slow and then increases to my breaking point. At my breaking point, I don’t feel like myself. The moment I am able to take a breath is the moment I start coming down from my anxiety attack. Taking that first breath is the hardest thing to do especially in the moment of feeling completely broken and like the pieces of the puzzle can never fit back together again. 

“Words come over me.” During anxiety attacks or even some times just in my daily life, words that were said to me or thoughts that have ran through my mind, come flooding back. It doesn’t matter if it was recent or that time I was in third grade and my best friend didn’t want to play with me at recess because we both wanted to be the yellow power ranger and neither of us would change our mind, so she went and played with someone else. You might think that’s funny, and if I’m honest looking back it is really funny, but this is where my mind starts playing games and I think “Is that why we are not friends anymore?” Y’all, It’s been about 23 years since I was in third grade and no, that is not the reason we are no longer friends but that is how the mind plays tricks on you when you are in the thick of it and not thinking straight. 

“Feels like I’m somebody else” I have days that I feel like I am in a funk and mentally not feeling like myself. It’s hard to fully put into words how this feels, but image you wake up one morning, start your normal routine and you notice that the outfit you picked out last night doesn’t feel comfortable today. You try to fix your hair, but unfortunately, it is humid outside and it won’t fix how you would like it to. So you throw on an oversized outfit, so you can hide how you feel about your body image, and your hair goes up into a messy bun. Finally, something is going right you get your coffee in your favorite mug, but when you go to sit down you trip over a cord that you promise wasn’t there 5 minutes ago and your coffee spills all over the floor and on your new robot vacuum. (facepalm moment) You feel as though your day is ruined and you should just go back to bed for the rest of the day. Because it’s only 8 am and why would anything go “right” today. This story is an actual morning I had. Separately these situations are not that bad but it adds a lot of stress when one thing happens after another and not to mention the night before I had a circumstance in my life when my anxiety was elevated. When the negativity consumes me that is when I don’t feel like my “positive” self. 

What can be done to help? Here’s the thing, everyone is different and what works for me may not work for you but here are three tips that might help. 

1st Learn what triggers your anxiety. Keep a journal if you need to and write out all your feelings good or bad and what situation made you feel that way. Then after a week or two go back and look at the times you had the most anxiety. Is there a trend in what environment or people trigger your anxiety to be elevated. Once you have figured out your triggers try your best to stay away from them or at least find ways to alleviate them. 

2nd Find ways to keep yourself grounded. For me, it is listening to music, working out, and repeating different phrases that mean something to me. For example “I am stronger than my anxiety” This one I have had to say to myself a lot of this last year, but you would be surprised how much it helps! 

Last but not least, talk to someone!! Talk to someone who can listen to you. Not someone who just wants to fix everything. These people have good intentions, but if you are spilling your feelings and are hit back with, well here is how you can fix that, it will only make you feel worse. I know this from experience. Find someone who is a great listener but can also speak up when the time is right. That may be your husband or a best friend and if you don’t feel comfortable with them or if they have fixer personalities. Find a professional! No shame! It can be a therapist or a counselor at your church. I think you will be surprised how much this can make a difference! 

I pray that this blog today was an encouragement to you and can help in your daily life. Always know I am available to pray with you or just be someone to talk to when life gets hard. E-mail me at megan@churchanywhere.us if you need prayer! 

Talk to you next Monday!