Anxiety’s Got It’s Grip On Me

I’ve been dealing with depression with anxiety for about 4 years now. It’s like grief, it’s always there but sometimes it’s just heavier than other days. I take some medicines to help me with my depression and anxiety. I’ve also been really working hard in counseling.

I’ve been learning a lot of coping skills for when my anxiety gets bad. I do the 4-7-8 breathing, I try to think of the safe space I created in counseling, and I pray. Somedays I get so anxious that I don’t do those exercises. I know I’m supposed to do them, but I don’t. I’m working hard everyday to keep trying to apply these things.

I’m not one to love control but I do like to have some control on my life. I’ve talked in counseling about how so many things have been taken away from me due to my chronic illnesses, which are out of my control. So then the things I can control I get very protective of that. I’m scared that I will have to give another thing up to my illness. It’s hard to truly explain the feelings that come with that but this is the best I can describe it.

We are also working hard on focusing on my circle of control. It helps that I work at a Leader In Me school and had some training previously. One of the things it focuses on is what’s your circle of control (see picture below for mine). It really helps to remember and focus in on the things that we can control. I can control how I want to react to something or speak to someone. I can’t control the weather or this pandemic.

In the last few weeks my anxiety has come in full force. My mind is always going to the what-ifs and will this ever end. This pandemic just seems to be very heavy in the last few weeks. The county I live in is seeing a rise in COVID cases. The CDC came here to visit to look at some things and see why it’s spreading so fast.

Usually this time of summer is so fun! We’re starting to think of all the fun things about going back to school and seeing everyone. The fair is coming up which is always a huge fun event. We usually go on a daycation or some type of vacation. Catching a few games of baseball on TV and preparing for college football.

This feels different and heavy. Like most of you are all experiencing, this summer is so different. It feels like everywhere we look things are getting cancelled. I touched on this last week but as someone who has a compromised immune system my anxiety keeps rising. I haven’t been in a store in a long time.

I’m not sure what school will like look for paras. I of course want to go back to go work and get back in somewhat of a routine and see everyone. The anxious part of me is terrified. I’m terrified for several reasons, but there are two big ones for me. I don’t want to get sick. I likely had COVID-19 at the end of March and it was the worst thing I’ve experienced. I also don’t want to be an asymptomatic carrier. I don’t want to be the reason someone gets sick. I’ve stayed pretty sheltered. I haven’t been in a restaurant since the shutdown.

Last month I went to a few stores inside like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s. I had my mask on the whole time. My anxiety was too much. Right now as I’m on steroids, I get so anxious being around so many people. We are supposed to social distance however some people just aren’t following that rule. I can’t control other people’s thoughts and actions and I didn’t want to risk getting sick again. I needed to get out after being cooped up for so long. I enjoyed shopping for a little bit. When I got to the cashier I got so anxious. I know there are protective measures in place – I just got scared. I decided I wasn’t going out anymore.

The future holds so many unknowns right now. I try to focus on the facts I have and not start going off into what ifs. I’m playing scenarios in my head that I don’t even know will happen. I think it’s just really hitting how massive this pandemic is. I remember thinking in March we would just be shut down for 2-3 weeks. Then it turned into a month. Then it turned into 4 months. Here we are 5 months later and there isn’t really an end in sight.

I didn’t imagine we would be in this situation in August. I remember earlier Iowa released a video of Kirk Ferentz (Iowa Hawkeyes Head Football Coach) answering a few questions. I want to say this video was in April. He had said something along the lines of if we aren’t playing football in August there is much bigger problem than football going on. The Big Ten announced this week that they were playing only conference games. The Ivy League announced it was cancelling all fall sports. In my heart I have a feeling there won’t be any college football this year. It’s crazy to think we’ve gone 5 months without sports. I know some things are picking up again.

I don’t want athletes to risk their lives and play sports just so we can have some entertainment again. I love sports and miss them greatly but the safety and health of coaches, players, staff, fans is so important. I’ve seen a few statements from various players in the MLB saying they aren’t risking their lives or their families lives to play sports.

It just seems like every week there is just another big rock.

In a way, anxiety can feel like a virus. It starts small in your body but your thoughts and feelings can quickly “outbreak” and then you’re in a panic episode. It’s a lot and it quickly feels like so much and you can’t get control of your thoughts. When I start getting extremely anxious I take my medicine or you can look at it like a vaccine. It then begins to work and my anxious thoughts stop spreading rapidly, and I can control my thoughts again.

So I don’t know what tomorrow holds or what next month holds but these things I know for certain will not change.

  1. I have such a supportive family.
  2. I have so much faith in God and want to continue to serve Him well.
  3. I can choose joy in everyday.

I know that I can control myself wearing a mask and how I behave/act in public. I can control my reactions to things being said. I can lean on my friends for support. I’m so thankful that I started counseling this year and found a counselor that is helping me so much. Since the pandemic started they moved to zoom sessions. It’s so nice to not have to worry about going in to her office. I have another appointment on Wednesday. We’ve been working on how to deal and cope with COVID.

If you are finding yourself feeling overwhelmed please reach out to someone. Please do not fight this alone.

“When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – Psalm 61:2

xoxo,

Abby

(This is not medical advice or anything these are just my experiences and thoughts)

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