From Anger to Anxiety to Undeserved Grace

I’ve talked about my anxiety before but I would like to give a little bit of an update.

When I first started noticing something was going on with myself I thought it was an anger problem. I would get mad about small things and lash out over the smallest annoyance. I found myself yelling and, yes, punching holes in the walls. That was a low point in my life.

I can remember feeling overwhelmed as a new mom and people offering to help or handing out suggestions and advice. In my irrational, anxious mind I was hearing “you can’t do this”, “you are incapable”, “you are a bad mother”. I felt that I had something to prove. It took me nearly a year of being a mom to ask for help.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

I knew that I needed help but I didn’t know how to get it. I finally went to my doctor for an annual check up and told him that I felt stressed out and anxious all the time. He suggested a low dose anti-anxiety medicine and regular counseling. I was relieved that I was finally getting help but I also felt ashamed that I needed help.

I didn’t start taking the medicine for a few weeks after I got it because I was terrified of it changing me. I finally gave in when I had three panic attacks in one day. Having a panic attack when you are home alone with a baby is, quite possibly, one of the worst feelings in the world. I legitimately thought that I was going to die and that my baby boy would be there with my dead body until my husband came home.

I was in counseling for about six weeks. During this time I learned a lot about myself. I learned that my anger was likely a result of being overwhelmed and feeling out of control. That made sense, since I was a new Mom spending most of my time alone with my child. I learned that I felt inadequate which is why I needed to prove myself. My thoughts always went to ‘death’ because my mom died unexpectedly and I didn’t want that to happen to little man.

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:7

The counselor told me that we can change our thought process and retrain our brain. My first instinct was “whatever” but this logic eventually made sense. I was constantly focusing on the negative, I needed to focus on the positive. She had me keep a “positivity journal”. I had to write down five things a day that we’re good in my life. This was silly at first but it honestly helped and it was difficult for the first few days. The more I wrote, the easier it got.

I’m happy to say that I am no longer in counseling. It helped tremendously. I haven’t had any panic attacks since I finished counseling. I have had small anxiety attacks but with breathing and prayer I can get through those.

The most important thing is to remind myself to take life minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. I can’t expect to be perfect but by God’s perfect grace I can live in peace and joy.

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