I’m pinned under the weight
Of what I believed would keep me safe.
So show me where my armor ends,
Show me where my skin begins.
Like a final puzzle piece
It all makes perfect sense to me…
The heaviness that I hold in my heart belongs to gravity.
The heaviness that I hold in my heart’s been crushing me.
I’ve been worried all my life,
A nervous wreck most of the time.
I’ve always been afraid of heights,
Of falling backwards, falling backwards.
I’ve been worried all my life…
-Pluto, Sleeping at Last
I’ve written a little bit about this and probably mentioned it in a few of my other posts. First of all, I would like to say that this post is not attention seeking. It is simply another struggle of mine. Not everyone wants to talk about these kinds of things, especially online, where most of what we see is everyone’s highlight reel. But, that’s not what I’m about, this is raw honesty. I’m not looking for pity, my goal is to just be real because that’s what this blog is all about.
Fear is a funny thing. I believe everyone has experienced it in one form or another. We all want to be brave, bold, and courageous, I know I want to be. But if I’m being honest, I’m not.
I’ve had irrational fears of things like garbage disposals, quicksand (yes I’m serious) skunks, getting eaten by a shark, spiders, snake bites, clowns, public speaking, stepping on a lego, answering the phone, and even just interacting with other humans sometimes.
I’ve also had some not-so-irrational fears.
About nine years ago, my family was in a car accident. We were at a red light and someone hit another car which then hit us. It was so weird because I could sense that it was going to happen, and then literally two seconds later the back window broke and glass shattered everywhere. It was so terrifying, I don’t think my heart has ever beat as fast as it did in that moment. Thankfully no one was severely injured. But now sometimes driving makes me nervous because I’m afraid something like that will happen again.
When I got to be about ten, my parents started leaving my brother and I home by ourselves, sometimes they didn’t get back at the exact time they said they would. And me, with my wild imagination, would start worrying that something terrible had happened to them and that they would never return.
When I was eleven I struggled with insomnia. I had a really hard time falling asleep every single night because I was afraid of being alone, the darkness, demons, shadows, and nightmares. My whole body would tremble in fear. So, I simply didn’t sleep, I read books late into the night until my eyes would no longer stay open.
That only lasted for a season, but fear has come back to haunt me in different ways.
I’ve struggled with fear of failure, that I’ll never be good enough, that I’ll disappoint my family and friends, and that I’ll never accomplish anything of importance.
When I was sixteen I started working in the public, until that point I had only ever babysat to earn money (which I had plenty of experience in, thanks to all my siblings, so I was very comfortable with it). The workforce was a whole new world for me, I didn’t know how to process it. I wanted to succeed, work hard, and do my absolute best. But, I felt like I just didn’t know what I was doing, and a lot of times I wasn’t properly trained, which really stressed me out.
At that time there was a lot going on in my personal life and it was all just overwhelming. I lost my appetite, felt shaky all the time, constantly overthought about everything, started having trouble sleeping again, and even had a few panic attacks. The trouble was, I had no idea exactly what I was so stressed and worried about all the time, it was a lot of things, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. My mind was always racing, it was a constant war inside my head. Just me, against all my thoughts.
“I don’t think people understand how stressful it is to explain everything that’s going on in your head when you don’t even understand it yourself.”
I started looking into anxiety, I didn’t know what it meant so I googled the symptoms. It was spot on, everything I was experiencing started to make sense.
They say the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one, and it’s true. I think learning about anxiety and acknowledging that I struggled with it really helped me to overcome it.
Anxiety is like a voice in your head. It’s an endless conversation that goes something like this:
Me: Life is good! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, it’s a beautiful day.
Anxiety: Ermm… actually…
Anxiety: Well there’s this thing…
Me: What thing?
Anxiety: Everything is going wrong! You won’t be able to handle it! It’s all too much!
Me: What’s going wrong?
Anxiety: *hands me a huge book* Here’s a directory! Also, at the back, there’s a complimentary list of reasons why you suck and will probably never amount to anything. Enjoy!
Anxiety is a jerk. It’s like one of my pushy, manipulative childhood friends. Growing up I was meek and shy, so naturally, I was chosen to be the side-kick to some of the most controlling little girls who ever lived. (True story, just ask my mom)
What I’ve learned about those kinds of relationships is they can only control you if you let them. In getting over my anxiety, I stopped giving it power and simply let it go. It’s a weight I was never meant to carry on my own.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Life is a walk with Yahweh, I picture myself holding His hand, and when I let go of it, even just for a moment, everything gets confusing and I start to panic. Just as when Peter walked on water with Yeshua, he started to doubt and began to sink. (Matthew 14:29-31)
There is so much in the Bible about fear, Yahweh knows we’re gonna be afraid sometimes, it’s a common human struggle. That’s why there are so many comforting reminders that we are loved and held in the hands of our Creator. Just praying and reading His word helps tremendously, and music, always music.
Nowadays I have fewer conversations with anxiety and more conversations with God. Life is so shaky and uncertain. He keeps me steady and makes me brave.
Fear still creeps in sometimes. It always will, but I won’t allow it to run my life anymore.
“The phrase “do not be afraid” is written in the Bible 365 times.
That’s a daily reminder to live fearlessly.”
At the end of the day, I would not call myself “fearless” but with God’s help, I’m getting there, one step at a time. I just can’t let go of His hand.
Also shoutout to this amazing song, which in a way, inspired me to write this post.