Last night I was faded. The week was pleasant but long, full of activities leading up to the last day of school and summer vacation, class parties, mom parties, work parties –it would seem everyone is just partying their way through May! Mix that in with a healthy amount of work (that actually never ends), a house that needs cleaning, and meals SOMEONE should plan, and you have just triggered my anxiety, thank you very much. So last night I felt depleted, like giving up. When I sent my last email out at 9:42pm I was ready to put on a movie and fall asleep, then I realized Lola was still awake, we hadn’t spent much time together….and oh holy heck, the cat had just escaped again.
Why does it always seem like the nights I can’t take any more are the same nights a cat inevitably escapes to the basement, only to get lost in the rafters or stuck in my landlord’s storage unit? This is beyond me but it always happens that way.
Christian and Lola immediately retreated to the basement to search for Prince Harry, the promiscuous male cat who doesn’t like rain storms but loves licking chicken – the feline who first made us into “cat people” four years ago. He was our first animal adopted together, and we love him like a human, even if he is always the jackass hiding the basement when he escapes. So down the stairs they went, looking for that wide-eyed little freak. I wish I had a recent picture of Harry’s eyes – I’ll have to take one next time he’s staring at me. They are ENORMOUS!
I was left upstairs to ruminate over the day’s details and plan the weekend, but it was too much. I sat down to write more emails and found I couldn’t form sentences. My head swirled with everything I should be doing, and yet I stared at a wall. I think anxiety is a lot like a quiet friend who sits by your side all day, watching you champion to-do lists and conquer beastly tasks with ease, only to start chattering away and complaining about everything in your life the second you declare you’re off the clock. This is anxiety, the loud voice in my head that never lets me know when I’m done for the day, that gnawing feeling in my heart that tells me I’m not doing enough or being enough or trying hard enough. Anxiety wants me to do more even though I’m spent. It promises I’ll succeed if I just try harder, dangling the carrot a little further while putting all the pressure back on me to succeed.
But this isn’t my first rodeo with anxiety. Its noise is nothing new. I just have to silence the sound, and thank God I finally know how;
The thing about anxiety is when you feel like you’re spinning out of control, the only thing to do is nothing at all. This is immeasurably hard, but I promise it’s worth it. When you battle anxiety, committing to do less takes away its power!
Turn off the to-do list, stop scrolling the screen, tune out of the newsfeed and just be. All of these distractions designed to delight our minds can actually clutter our conscience if we let them. Our brains can be scary places if we’re not in the right headspaces. Treat yourself to what a good friend would advise; Watch the movie you’ve wanted to see for ages, read the last 10 pages of that book! Doing anything you’re not worried about is the best thing you can do when you’re spiraling out of control. Anxiety loses when peace wins. Last night I needed to give myself some peace of mind, and I knew taking time for myself would give me some clarity & lead me to making good choices in the morning.
At 10pm I remembered all of this and took a moment to reflect and find my peace…I said a prayer of thanks to God and asked for reassurance and grace in large quantities, and I found it. I always find what I’m looking for in Him.
As Lola trotted up the stairs with a puffy orange cat in her arms and an enormous grin on her face, she squealed, “WE FOUND HIM!”. Her happiness was the final piece I needed to find my inner peace, to silence the voice of anxiety once and for all.
Here’s the little weirdo now!
So at 10pm we popped bowls of popcorn, put the big TV in our room, and snuggled down in my bed for a movie we would all fall asleep watching, well past our bedtimes. With the windows open and a rainstorm out the screens I listened to Lola’s laugh during Annie, her hand in my hand, Christian’s warm arms around both of us. I felt a peace I could almost touch…and that’s something my to-do list has never been able to provide!
My girl, a constant wave of grace.
If you battle anxiety like I do, may you be kind to yourself, loving and gracious as you would be to a good friend. Ask for help, pray even if you’ve never prayed before! And if you need to reach out to someone about this, I’m always here to be that voice of reason telling you everything’s going to be ok…because it will be okay 🙂
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7