As a person who suffers from fairly severe anxiety, the thought of doing anything outside of my comfort zone is enough to paralyze me. What if I have trouble eating? What if I get sick? What if I get lost? What if I lose my money? What if the people there don't like me? What if I have a panic attack? What if I miss my family? What if I get there and decide I want to come home? What if I die? As ridiculous as some of these may seem, they are just a few of the questions that swarm through my mind anytime I am getting ready to go somewhere or do something that is out of my safety circle.
Often, I let questions like these and the fear of something happening hold me back from doing things that I want to do. I convince myself that if I step outside my comfort zone that something horrible will happen. If any of you struggle with anxiety, you know exactly what I mean. It sounds so ridiculous when I say it out loud, but in my head I can convince myself of almost anything happening. Can anyone relate?
Recently, I had an opportunity to travel out-of-state to visit someone who means a great deal to me. I should have been excited, right? (Spoiler alert: I went and had a great time, but we will get there.) I would love to tell you that I was excited from the very beginning, but I wasn't. The second I booked the train tickets, I was filled with a mix of emotions: some excitement, some happiness, but mostly an overwhelming sense of panic. All of those questions started running through my mind and suddenly I felt like I had made an awful decision. What have I just committed myself to do?
I worried and worried and made myself more and more anxious as the days went on until finally I decided to just talk it out. If you have been to counseling for anxiety, you know that one of the things they teach you is to reach out to a "safe person"- so this is what I decided to do. I didn't reach out to one safe person, I talked to five of them, because I have a tendency to be excessive like that. They helped me to separate fact from fiction and quickly the fear and anxiety started to melt away.
I packed my bags and I boarded the train with an open mind and excitement for what the following four days would hold. I wore my bracelet that says "courage" every day to remind myself to be brave. Yes, there were moments where I was filled with anxiety, but I was able to combat it better than I ever could have imagined. For some people, something as simple as visiting someone in another state is something that doesn't require a second thought. For me, it was a mountain that I had to climb. I did it. I did something that I was terrified to do but I did it and I loved every minute of it. I pushed myself beyond what I ever thought I could do.
So, what if it is scary? What if everything goes wrong? What if I get there and don't like it? But at the same time, what if it isn't scary? What if it's fun? What if I love it? What if it's everything I have ever wanted? For these last four questions, I will fight my own fear. I will push past my anxiety. I will give it a try. Friends who can relate to me all too well- give it a try. Fight. You may be surprised at just how much you can do! Have faith in yourself and more importantly, have faith in the incredible God you serve. He will uphold you and see you through every situation you encounter. Just do it. You may be surprised at the final result.
Written By: Adyson