I have anxiety. This is something that I’ve decided I’m not going to be ashamed of any more. I suffer from anxiety, and I want to talk about it. My aim in writing this blog isn’t make people feel sorry for me, or scare people into talking about mental health, I just want to explain what it is, what it feels like, and how I can hopefully help friends, family and strangers with similar illnesses.
I’ve suffered from anxiety on and off since around the age of 7, but I would say that my anxiety came in to full power when I sat my GCSEs. Exams stress me out a lot. I worked hard, and burned out just before sitting my exams because of the pressure I was putting on myself, and that is when the anxiety hit. The same happened with A-levels, except at that point my anxiety was so obvious to me, and it had full affect on my life. I continue to suffer from anxiety and tendencies of OCD, and I get help now from an amazing counselor.
It’s hard to explain what it feels like to have anxiety. Sometimes I feel like I can’t breath and will be sick, sometimes it’s a like manic washing machine of thoughts spinning around my mind, and sometimes I just can’t focus on anything else. Most of the time I can deal with it, some of the time I can’t, but all of the time God is with me through it. When I was younger I would often have night terrors where I would kick and scream in my sleep. My Dad would hear me and come and sit on my bed, hold my hand, and just keep saying, “Don’t worry. I’m here. You’re safe. Nothing’s going to happen. I’m here.” That’s what it feels like when God is with me when my anxiety is high. He’s not trying to make it go away, he’s just helping me get through it, and that is the biggest blessing in the world. Every time I panic, or my symptoms start to become overpowering, I know God is there with me. “Don’t worry. I’m here. You’re safe. Nothing’s going to happen. I’m here.”
I’d like to challenge us, as a church, student body, and a family, to think of this: Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself”. I’m going to switch it up a bit – Love yourself as you love your neighbour. I think that if some of us actually thought about how we’d treat people if we treated them exactly the same as we treat ourselves, then it wouldn’t be a pretty sight. It’s something that I struggle with, but remembering this is something that I try to do frequently. It encourages me to eat a proper meal, to try not to criticise myself for little things, to just rest for a bit, to acknowledge my achievements, and to love myself a little bit more. It’s tough. I’m not going to lie to you, but it is so worth it. See yourself through the eyes of Jesus, and see yourself through the eyes you see others through.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, or any other illness, I just want to say to you: You are amazing. I know it sometimes feels like you just can’t get through this, but you can. God is here for you, and God is so powerful. You are going to be ok. And if, from reading this, you have more questions than answers, then please just ask me about it. Don’t apologise before asking the question either. I’m happy to talk about it, if it will help you in any way.
My prayer for you, reading this blog, is that you will grow in your confidence through Christ. I pray that you will see yourself the way that your family of God sees you. I pray that stress won’t hold you back, and that any anxiety will rest, even just for a little bit. Finally, I pray for peace. I pray that you will find peace in the quiet moments, even just for a few seconds, and I pray that you can see the peace that God brings.
Stay Strong xx
Blog by Emma Allison a second year music student, passionate about sharing the love of Jesus, and excited to play as much music as possible for the glory of God.