Saturday, May 3, 2014

Why I Am Grateful for Having Anxiety Issues

Grateful for anxiety? This is lunacy. Of course, that is the sort of lunacy you should have come to expect from me by now.

Although it may seem odd to say I'm grateful for having anxiety issues, it is still true. I don't like anxiety, of course, I don't like the way it feels or the toll it causes on my physical health and energy level. I don't like the way it can negatively affect relationships with other people, either. Yet, without anxiety, I wouldn't be as aware of the need to grow closer to God.

The first flutters of heart racing, the first awareness of sweating and labored breathing remind me that I need Him. And even if I end up taking medication for it before I can compose myself enough to pray, I do pray. Later, I find novel and interesting prayers and devotions to try to use when the experience hits. I try all sorts of creative techniques to get a handle on it. I succeed sometimes and sometimes I don't. None of that matters. It's the awareness I have that I need God that matters. That's why I'm on this earth, after all.

I've come to refer to the anxiety onset the "God Alarm." As soon as I can get to a point where thinking is possible, I say, "Thank you God for the call to come closer to you."

Psychological situations can trigger anxiety but I get to have a "sense of control" with them more, since I know my thinking causes them and my thinking can sometimes help stop them sooner.

However, in my personal situation, anxiety will eventually go away on its own, whether I do anything to calm myself or not. And anxiety will come no matter how hard I work to avoid it. For me as an autistic person, loud or screeching noises cause it. Bright lights in my face cause it. Being in a crowd of people can cause it.

My biology reacts immediately. It's involuntary. I carry dark glasses and ear plugs and use them as needed. I try to minimize any situation of overstimulating distress. But, they happen. They happen because life happens. Ambulances screech down the street. Light can suddenly change after a rainstorm, shooting a ray of stabbing light into my eyes, unexpected.

Is my goal to be cured and anxiety free? No, not at all. My goal is to remember I am weak and He is strong. My goal is to remember that I need Him. And so God provides me with that awareness on a regular basis.

With my bad luck, I may end up getting cured of it. And then what will I do to remind myself that I need God? A buzzer on my cell phone just wouldn't be the same.

 "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world." -C.S. Lewis