My Journey with Generalized Anxiety Disorder
By Lara Sadowski
… casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NASB
Sisters, this is probably as “real” of a devotional as I have ever written in my life. I want to tell you about my lifelong journey with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I have never really known a time when I was not anxious, knowing that my anxiety was peering around the corner at me, ready to pounce. We all get anxious from time to time: new jobs, public speaking, first dates. But my kind of anxiety is crippling. And it has been strangling me for years.
I remember being fearful as far back as grade school. Afraid to go to school. Afraid of failing. Afraid of rejection. Not being able to sleep. What was I afraid of? Everything, I think. I do come by my anxiety disorder genetically; it is rampant on both sides of my family. But that doesn’t make it any easier to handle. It just makes me understand it a bit better. Through the years, my anxiety manifested itself into a myriad of physical problems: Anorexia Nervosa, Bell’s Palsy, Vertigo, digestive issues, and tingling and numbness in my joints. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that anxiety is just mental; it will do a number on the physical body, too. My disorder has had me convinced that I am a failure, a loser, stupid. I bought those lies for a long time. Until recently, I still bought them.
Let me tell you where I am today … and some good news.
Through the years, I have convinced myself to take very high-paying, high-stress jobs to prove to everyone that I am smart and successful. That I am somebody. In the last two years, I have had to be put on medical leave because my anxiety and panic attacks came at me with such a vengeance that I could not work. You would think that would be a wake-up call to get some help. Nope. I went to my counselor a few times, took a little medication, and then called myself cured. I thought my anxiety was just a really bad character flaw, and I told myself to just deal with it like an adult – by myself. That was really bad advice. Within the last month, I was asked to work with an old company doing my same very highly stressful tasks. Guess what? I am right back where I started. On medical leave and feeling absolutely defeated.
But that’s not the whole story…
Jesus met me in this breakdown and has turned it into a BREAKTHROUGH! I am finally ready to get the help I need and do what it takes to be well. I am going back to my counselor and am under my doctor’s care. Most of all, I am being transparent because I know that God can bring beauty out of all of our ashes. No matter what your struggle is, Jesus will meet you there and walk with you every step of the way. Don’t be afraid to talk to Him and to others. Get the help you need. There is a myriad of people who will pray with you, for you, and over you. Trust me – Jesus Christ is bigger than your biggest struggle. You are NOT alone, sisters! He will lead you through it and will send people to be His hands and feet for you. The Encouragement Café community has been praying constantly for me as I have dealt and continue to deal with my anxiety disorder. Reach out – and know how much God loves you!
Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!
Look up Scripture that addresses anxiety and write those verses out on cards and memorize them. Hiding God’s Word in my heart is helping me immensely each day.
Heavenly Father, Wrap Your loving arms around Your children who are hurting and struggling. Help them to feel Your sweet presence and give them Your grace, mercy and courage! Help them to know they are not alone. We can do all things through You because You give us strength. Thank You, Father. … In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
© 2021 by Lara Sadowski. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Thursday, 20 May 2021.