Sometime at the start of my struggle against anxiety, I joined a church. It wasn’t because I thought I needed a refuge but maybe out of obligation and to please my friends who have been inviting me. They thought it might help. I doubted it.
I could not remember the exact date I first stepped into that church. After all, I’ve been to several churches and I never stayed too long to care. But I could remember feeling overwhelmingly welcomed that at the back of my mind, I thought that the place is just like any other churches. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe in God. I have always believed in Him despite my disobedience and stubbornness against His teachings. But I’ve seen way too many welcoming committees who’d give you their sweetest smiles but will talk about you and judge you the moment you turn your back. Without realizing I first judged them even before getting to know them, I went with the “usual”. I go to church, sit through it and leave the moment the service ends. Just like how I first stepped in, it felt like an obligation to go to church every Sunday. I’d skip it on some days if I get headaches or anxiety attacks. but I stayed because even if I was still in denial, going to church somehow lightens my burden. Until I learned about making covenant with God – when I started to enjoy going to church although I’d admit, there is still something missing.
At the end of 2015, I joined the Filipino worship team. It was fun until my anxiety has taken control of my head. I have learned to control my breathing or to relax my body when I feel like I’m getting an attack. But then came the silent psychological attacks, the onslaught of “what ifs” and downright degradation of self-worth. I may have stopped taking my medicine but I still struggled with it or even the fear of it every time I wake up in the morning. Suddenly, it was too loud and too noisy inside my head, too many forces pulling me in all directions.
At the start of 2016, I knew I had to do something with my life. My friends and I planned our “monthly” getaways: out-of-town trips or just simply staying in New York for some R&R. I’ve always thought that if I think I’m not helping in any way, I’m just a nuisance. But everybody is just too nice to tell me upfront. And so with so many excuses under my belt, I quit the worship team.
I still go to church, still wanted to believe, still wanted to hope.
Throughout the year, I fought to gain control of my life once again. But the more I fought, the darker my thoughts have become, the murkier it got inside my head. The vacation time would have helped if not for my anxious desire to shed all the extra pounds I gained from previous year. My emotions were in jumble – one moment I was too anxious, then the next too depressed.
By last quarter of the year, despite the strong front I’ve shown everyone, I have given up on myself.
NOTE: Just because I experienced it, I am in no means an expert in this topic. I just want to write down what I went through and hopefully in one way or the other, be able to make people see anxiety through my eyes and how I and anyone else can overcome it with the help of prayers and tons of understanding from people around us.