This weekend I conquered two of my fears – prom and lunch in a restaurant.
Prom (cause you know – dark room, social anxiety, dancing, knew no one) and a restaurant (can’t really leave whenever you want, dark room once again) were the dreaded events of this weekend. I have been slightly dreading these for a while now.
At both I would have very little control and have to survive for multiple hours.
Often times when a day consists of something is anxiety inducing I wake up anxious – sometimes I wake up in the middle of a panic attack – and the morning of prom was no exception. I refused to eat all day for fear getting sick. But here is the catch: I only had to take two anxiety pills. Normally I would have easily had six.
That may seem like a small thing, but I was so so so proud of myself. I did it. I conquered prom and I had fun doing it.
The next day I had to go eat at a restaurant for my friend’s surprise birthday party. I couldn’t really back down (that’s embarrassing), but I was dreading every moment. Thankfully prom kept me from dwelling on the seemingly impending doom, which kept my anxiety down the day of. God worked it out just perfectly so that not only was I able to sit through the meal in its entirety, but I was also able to eat.
These are two things I never thought I was going to be able to do – or at least not for a while. But I did it. It took a ton of prayer and I did have a few moments where I had to push the anxiety away, but I conquered them.
God was showing me that I could and can do it. I can defeat anxiety. I may have to live with it, but I can defeat it in the small and big moments.
If I rely on Him, I can do it.
Here is the other thing I learned: if I bow to anxiety, I miss so much. I thought I would be okay if I missed prom with my wonderful boyfriend or if I skipped out on the party, but I would have been missing out on events that I ended up loving.
Often times when I am anxious or about to face an event that makes me anxious, I convince myself that skipping the event or getting out of it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. That is the easy way out. Once I decide to skip, the anxiety immediately goes away. But if I push myself to get past that initial fear-filled moment and do it, it becomes easier and easier as I go.
It is almost like once I make myself do it, my body goes from flight (anxiety) to fight. If I can fight through it, it eventually will become fun and I will enjoy myself – which is what happened at prom and the lunch. If I bow down to anxiety I miss out on memories and the joy that comes with it.
I look back and I think of all the beautiful things that I have missed because I did not lean on Jesus to fight my anxiety. It really saddens me – its not worth it.
This does not mean I will torture myself and go in to restaurants just for fun. It just means that when the opportunity presents itself, I will drown myself in prayer and face the anxiety because the joy that lies after will be worth it.
Anxiety is a battle that I have been constantly reminded that I cannot fight on my own, but I can do it through Him. I do not have to be bound and confined by my anxiety.
And the confidence and joy that comes with winning the battle is thrilling.