If you have ever experienced anxiety, you know how paralyzing it makes you feel, how it digs its claws into every part of you, making escape seem impossible. Anxiety makes even daily activities like getting out of bed to face the day, or greeting acquaintances when you pass them in the hall, seem like an impossible task. All of these little things combine into one gelatinous monster, towering over you, ready to swallow you whole. Carrying this weight every day wears on you, and you start exhibiting outward behavior as a result.
Having Anxiety Affects Your Behavior
When I struggled with intense anxiety in high school, it influenced every part of my life, from what friends I kept, to my participation in class, to how I treated my family. When I had anxiety, I:
- Was unwilling to try new things
- Had no pride in my appearance
- Did not engage in self care
- Resisted “adult” behaviors, such as driving myself and working a job
- Spent lots of time alone, away from my family
- Had very few and unhealthy friendships
- Suffered from panic attacks—uneven breathing, physiological symptoms (eyesight affected, brain fog, heart pounding, struggling with dark thoughts)
- Suffered from stomach issues—nausea, cramping
- Was unreasonably afraid of public speaking
- Had low self-esteem
- Was terrified about being called in class
- Couldn’t speak to attractive members of the opposite sex
- Struggled with negative thoughts about myself and others’ opinions of me
- Believed I was beneath the “popular people,” and was surprised when they talked to me
This anxiety I carried around with me influenced me to avoid certain things, or act a certain way, just to avoid feeling afraid or uncomfortable as much as possible. I was terrified everyday that something unexpected or difficult would happen that I felt ill-equipped to deal with. What should have been a fun, care-free time in my life was wrought with self-induced pain. I couldn’t wait to graduate and leave that part of me behind.
Symptoms of Anxiety According to the ADAA
You may see yourself reflected in some of my experiences, or you may be experiencing these exact same symptoms and behaviors today. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling nervous, irritable or on edge
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation), sweating, and/or trembling
- Feeling weak or tired
- Difficulty concentrating
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
What To Do If You Feel This Way
If you experience any of these symptoms on a daily basis, you may struggle with anxiety. If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, you should seek professional help from a Biblical Christian counselor. They will guide you in God’s wisdom towards a life free from the destructive influence of anxiety. Living with anxiety is not God’s will for you. God’s will is for you to walk in His peace each and every day.
“Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:3-4
He has created you for so much more, and He wants to free you from this prison of fear. As children of God, we are meant to to be brave and victorious in the face of trouble.
“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1
Look within your life to see if you suffer from anxiety and bring it before God. He wants to set you free.
How has anxiety affected your life?
“Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, Apr. 2018, adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad/symptoms.