A few weeks ago, anxiety was eating me alive. It felt like it was destroying me from the inside out. I know most people think it lives in the brain, and while that may be true, my anxiety likes to vacation in the deepest part of my gut.
Anxiety has been my faithful, yet unpredictable, tormenter since I was 18 years old, sliding down the wall in the hallway on a field trip. I was humiliated and feared that I might be dying. It is no less humiliating at thirty-five. Anxiety threatens to take all my hard work these past five years and shred it in an instant.
I’m a professional. An Amazon best-selling author. I brand myself as an in-demand speaker and wellness coach, a self-care consultant, and a recovery expert. While all of those things are true, when anxiety shows up, it renders me helpless. I feel like an infant, needy and frail. Incapable of caring for myself or contributing to the needs of those around me, even my own family.
I’ve written and spoken a great deal lately about the tension between a manmade religion, which is rooted in fear, vs. a God of love, compassion, and justice. I was raised in the former, praying each night for God to save my wretched soul, begging the Cosmic Judge and Jury, not to condemn me to hell for my less-than-perfect behavior. If I die before I wake, I prayed, God, please pity me, a wretched sinner.
At least in the early years, my fear of God was rooted in my personal choices and behavior. It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that my fear of God bled over into the way I was wired. I was scared to death for any of my peers to find out I was living with anxiety, depression, and flashbacks.