MY JOURNEY WITH ANXIETY
Hello to my fellow readers. First of all, I want to say thank you clicking on this link and making the effort to read this post. I feel like I don’t thank you guys enough for even deciding to support me by reading my various posts, it honestly means so much to me. I really hope and pray you are transformed by the things you read. I know my content has probably been all over the place as of lately but I am really enjoying the journey God is taking me on. I love how He is the Author behind what I am writing, but I also love that I am finally getting to the place where I feel comfortable at writing the things I have been dreaming about, because my confidence is no longer in myself, it is in Him.
I thank you all for being patient with me and choosing still to consume my content even while I am figuring everything out.
I also want to thank those that have subscribed to my YouTube Channel and have watched my ‘Bible Study’ video. I will be coming out with another video hopefully later on this week.
Today I am going to be talking about something that is very close to my heart, yet it is also something that terrifies me.
This topic is something I have been running from for a while, because I haven’t fully understood it or I haven’t fully healed from it.
It is something that kept me from moving forward last year and it is something that had controlled all the thoughts in my mind and made me forget who I was in Christ.
I am sure by the title of this post, you can perhaps guess what it is.
Even just typing the words out makes me nervous, because honestly I don’t really have an idea of what I am supposed to write for this topic.
It is something I am still battling and I know there are a lot of people who have anxiety but don’t know how to deal with it.
I guess today’s post is just going to be about my journey with anxiety.
I have never been the type of individual that considered my mental health as an issue. I have never been someone who had negative thoughts, or felt overwhelmed, or felt just numb. If you ask my mother, she would tell you that I have always been known as this ‘happy child,’ so happy I would wake up in the morning smile at my parents and wouldn’t shut up until at least the end of the day.
I didn’t really understand what mental health meant and I wasn’t aware of what ‘good’ mental health or ‘bad’ mental health looked like.
Now I want to mention something here, personally I don’t like to separate mental health into categories. So, I wouldn’t like to refer to someone’s mental health as purely healthy or unhealthy. Instead I would say they are on a journey and there will be good days and bad days. Some may not agree with this, but I feel like society has this warped view of mental health, quickly labelling individuals without considering or assessing the individuals’ own story or journey.
This is one of the various reasons as to why I didn’t consider my mental health as important, because I thought it had to have a label.
Yes, I know I have technically attached a label here by saying this blog-post is about ‘anxiety,’ but I have done this in order to make it easier for everyone to understand.
Growing up, ‘mental health’ is not something I would hear about especially growing up in an African (Nigerian) household. Anything remotely mentioned about having bad thoughts was quickly shut down and covered with the statement ‘YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD.’
I do not blame my parents for this because I believe at the time they were doing what their own parents taught them. My parents grew up in Nigeria where having thick skin was an accessory never to be taken off.
My mum had always told me I could tell her anything, no matter how bad it was. Looking back at this now I didn’t believe her, thinking that instead of showering me with love and understanding, she would go straight to the punishment.
How wrong was I!
I am moving a bit too ahead in this post, so I want to go back to the time where I first started noticing the anxious thoughts in my mind.
If I am being really honest I think it all started off in Secondary School, more specifically sixth form.
My life was pretty normal and I happened to love education, but I had no idea who I was.
Everyone saw me as this overly excited, hyper, dramatic and loud girl who also went to Church on a Sunday.
Little did they know that I was masquerading my insecurities with my loudness and was somewhat different back home.
I remember having to unroll my skirt before reaching my front door, also having to make sure my tie and hair was tidy and having to silence the sharp tongue around my parents.
I really really underestimated my parents, thinking that they wanted this perfect Christian daughter who didn’t have a personality. When in reality all they ever wanted was for me to be myself.
I was conflicted in Secondary School, on one hand I was loud, bubbly and friendly, but on the other hand I was also nervous, sensitive and a bit shy in certain situations. However, I didn’t feel like I could project this side because I felt I would be misunderstood by the people around me, and I felt so uncomfortable at expressing my feelings.
When I left Secondary School, I realised I didn’t have to put up this act anymore and I realised I could be myself 24/7 or even create a new persona once I arrived at University.
That was until it got to Sunday. Sunday was the time for me to pretend like I really knew Christ and had an intimate relationship with Him.
It was a time for me to act like the girl who had been in Church the majority of her life. I had this image of who I was supposed to be as a Christian girl, so holy and so perfect not knowing that this wasn’t what my Heavenly Father wanted at all.
I was still somewhat loud, bubbly and friendly but I most certainly wasn’t confident and I wasn’t truly being myself around my friends. I was anxious. Anxious at what people thought of me, anxious of what God thought of me and anxious at opening up to someone.
I was terrified at admitting that sometimes I would feel unworthy of God’s love, terrified at admitting I was a sinner and terrified at admitting I had negative thoughts about myself sometimes.
This is because I had always had this view that you were not supposed to be negative if you were a child of God. What could be so wrong in your life that you didn’t believe God could fix it?
So, what did I do?
I stayed silent.
This went on for years.
I am telling you now I didn’t feel like I could present my entire self to God and the Body of Christ until about last year.
I didn’t know the love Christ had for me 19+ years of my life.
Christ took me on a journey from where I would overthink everything about my identity, He took me away from a place of comparison and destruction. He took me away from a place of no self-worth or self-love and transformed me in ways I still cannot put into words.
It is a journey I am still going through, but I am not doing it alone.
I still do worry (especially about my future), I still compare and I still do think at times I am not good enough.
However, then I remember the Word of God. Then I remember who He has made me to be and I remember whose right hand I am holding.
My anxiety no longer has control over me because I know my God is greater!
I want to share some Bible verses that I try my best to remember when those anxious thoughts come:
1. JEREMIAH 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
2. JEREMIAH 1:5:
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’
3. MATTHEW 6:25-27
‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?’
‘Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
‘Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?’
The Word of God is your anchor, it is a promise and a love-letter that never ends.
I hope you have all enjoyed reading this post! Please do share with those that you feel will benefit from it!
Keep watch for a new YouTube video coming your way.
Until then, God bless x