What are you worried about? What are afraid of? Anxiety is nervousness, being worried or stressed. When anxiety becomes more panic, we tend to develop a reaction to things that make us anxious, and our world becomes smaller. For example, if you’re anxious about big crowds – you’ll begin to eliminate situations that include large crowds from your life. It helps initially, but the anxiety may not go away, so you’re probably going to find yourself eliminating more and more because you haven’t really gotten to the root of the anxiety. You’ve just tried to eliminate where the symptoms occur.
For many, the issue of control is at the root of anxiety. Known fears are often expressed in areas we can control. Interestingly enough, what’s underneath it all usually is a fear of something we cannot control. If we don’t search for what is under the fear or anxiety it will continue and may get bigger. We may be afraid that we will be humiliated or shamed in some way, and all of that gets translated into these symptoms.
Oftentimes, anxiety that comes as a result of unresolved issues in our childhood will emerge later on in our adult years when we can no longer keep a lid on things. In addition, a lot of people have a predisposition towards being anxious. They stay busy, but when their lives begin to shift and they don’t have the same structure, the anxiety emerges.
The funny thing about fear is that the more you fear it, the more powerful it becomes. After a while, we become afraid of feeling afraid, and so we try to conduct our lives in such a way that we don’t have experiences that make us feel the anxiety. But that’s when we get into trouble. We are unable to avoid all the things that create the anxiety and will be living in a state of reaction.
It can be very helpful to talk with someone about what you are afraid of- it can be a professional counselor or a trusted friend. It takes some of the strength out of the anxiety just to give voice to what you are dealing with internally. Sometimes we need some medical help, like an anti-anxiety medication, to help our brain begin to heal. There are so many options to deal with anxiety and fear- you don’t have to suffer alone.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7) is a great next step. Begin to address the anxiety in your life today.