The Thoughts That Won’t Go Away

The Thoughts That Won’t Go Away

Good morning!

I certainly hope it’s a good morning for you. But if it is another anxious morning and you aren’t sure why, welcome to my Friday anxiety post!

First, I have noticed that you guys have been frequenting my 5 Thing Hats Post. It’s my most popular blog post week after week! So I thought I would go ahead and share the technique again for you guys today.

5 Thinking Hats Technique

This is a grounding technique to use when you feel the symptoms of an anxiety attack coming. It really works! The next time you feel your legs about to give, the room spin, your heart racing, sweat bead on your lip, or whatever symptom your body decides to scare the crap out of you with this time, do this!

5 Hats Technique

When we are anxious, our thoughts are constantly in the future or the past. This technique brings you into the here and now telling our brains there is nothing to run from. Everything is ok.

Also, make sure you are breathing through your nose instead of your mouth. This has a HUGE calming effect. Close your mouth and make sure you are only breathing through your nose until you calm down and make sure to keep breathing through your nose most of the day. You are going to be tempted to open your mouth and take huge gulps of air but just remember, that will only make the anxiety worse. Close your mouth, breath through your nose.

The Thoughts, the Thoughts, the Relentless Thoughts!

The thoughts that relentlessly keep stabbing their way into your mind and scaring the ever living poo out of you are called intrusive thoughts. It doesn’t matter if you are at a wedding, your child’s first birthday party, or sitting on a cloud with unicorn’s jumping through rainbows, those nasty little intrusive thoughts like to ruin any otherwise happy and memorable moment.

If you are reading this and thinking “What in the world is she talking about?”, you are not who this post is for. But there are many of you who know exactly what I am talking about in the above paragraph and you my friend are not alone and believe it or not, you’re not even crazy.

OCD is an anxiety disorder. Everyone, OCD or not, has weird thoughts pop into their minds. Everyone. But in the mind of the person with OCD, the thoughts stick and there is a fear response causing their brain to give significance to the thought and obsess about it. Understand, this is a chemical imbalance.

If you break your arm, your arm is broken and there is pain. You can manage the pain. You can breathe. You can tell yourself that many people have dealt with this pain before and you will get through this. You can hold your arm in place making it better for the time being. But at some point, you will have to get up and try to live life with this broken arm. Unless you go to the doctor and get a cast, you are going to be painfully holding your arm in place while trying to do your daily tasks. When you finally let go because you need to arms, excruciating pain will ensue making it almost impossible to do anything other than hold your arm in place and cry through the torturous pain. Day after day of this managing and then giving in wears on you. This torture wears you down and begins to affect other areas of your body. If you would have just gone to the doctor, you would have gotten a cast for a while and then your arm would be fully healed!

OCD is the same. Because of the chemical imbalance, our brains shoot these terrifying thoughts and images into our brain constantly. We are overwhelmed with feelings of doom. Seriously, doom! We go about daily life trying to focus our minds on work and our families but like the broken arm, we just hold it together until life gets even just a little hectic and then bam, anxiety attack. It’s torture.

But there is hope!

Know you are not alone and get help. Do not take this lightly. Go get help. The reason I share my experience is to direct you to help. There is too much shame in all this and too many lives lost from years of mental torture. There is help and there is hope.

When I was suffering, I thought to myself “This is all in my mind, I can think myself out of this.”

No. Not when it is a chemical imbalance.

You all know I am a Christian. I share my experiences on here for everyone but especially for Christians because there is kind of a stigma against medication and even just being anxious. So what does the Christian do when the thoughts and feelings won’t stop?

When I was struggling, I had never felt so alone. I was scared so of course, as we do when pain strikes, I was brought to my knees before the Lord and read the Bible almost obsessively. This was a blessing and just goes to show how pain drives us to the word.

Spurgeon said that adversity is what sharpens the knife but the knife is the word. Very true! The more I read, it was like God was pruning me.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:2

God speaks to us through His word. Man did this help to know when you have thoughts and feelings literally blasting through every particle of your being telling you to pay attention to them. I sometimes thought those were God!

But it was through His word, that I saw the truth. My anxiety was suffering and this is meant to bring me closer to the Lord.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5 

Remember, when our loved one has cancer, we thank God for healing them through chemo. When our loved one has diabetes, we thank God for insulin. When we have a broken bone, we thank God for doctors and for casts.

Friends, when your mind is broken, thank God that you live in this century with doctors, counseling, and medicine.

I thank God for my wonderful counselor, Sarah Beth Wheeler. I thank God for medication. And last but certainly not least, I thank God for my sweet, strong, and loving husband Jason who only supported me though he had no idea what I was going through.

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If you are suffering, do not be afraid to get help. In fact, you need to get help. Run to God, pray, read His word, and ask Him to direct you to the right doctors and the right treatment.

Blessings,
Angela

 

 

 

 

 

The Impending Doom – Relentless “Warnings”

The Impending Doom – Relentless “Warnings”

FEELINGS

Good morning!

I guess Fridays have become my day to blog about anxiety. That’s fine!

In case you are just tuning in, I have dealt with OCD for most of my life with especially terrible bouts after having each of my kids (postpartum OCD).

In today’s post, I am hoping to give some of you obsessed Googlers out there just a little relief. (No offense, I was said obsessed Googler.)

Having an anxiety disorder is like being placed inside a nightmare. In a nightmare, you don’t know that it isn’t real but you wholeheartedly believe it is. Because it seems real at the time, you end up scared out of your whits until you wake up and realize, that thankfully it was all a dream.

Your brain is amazing. When you are in a real-life dangerous situation your brain sends you warning signals telling you to run! It’s a life-saving defense mechanism. But when you have a chemical imbalance, these “warnings” go into overdrive resulting in an ongoing feeling of doom and fear. There isn’t any real threat, but because you are overcome with the feeling that something terrible will happen, you wholeheartedly believe it! When you refrain from running because you happen to be, you know, trying to live life and be an active member of society, you are hit with sweat, rapid heart rate, dizziness, feeling faint, and all of the symptoms of impending death that does absolutely nothing to help the already existing anxiety but only makes it worse because now you think that if the office building doesn’t blow up any minute like you feel it will, your days are numbered anyway because there is obviously something physically wrong with you.

Man! My mind spends just reliving it! Haha!

But sufferer, rejoice! Those who deal with extreme anxiety, when they finally make it through to the other side, often times they actually end up mentally stronger than someone who never had to deal with it. This is because they have had to force themselves to live life for months or years on end through all-encompassing fear. I keep trying to describe it for those of you who do not have a chemical imbalance but it’s the kind of pain you can’t explain to someone that hasn’t gone through it. Like childbirth.

Hebrew 1211

So now, given you have a chemical imbalance, we have to remember that you cannot do much about that until you receive help (CBT, ERP, medication, etc.) just like a person with a broken leg likely can’t mend it without a cast (and think about trying to do that yourself!) This blog is not to take the place or professional help but is just a vessel to hopefully direct you to it and a place of encouragement and relief.

So here’s today’s “relief” message.

Your Feelings Lie To You All The Time

In our feelings driven society, our first response is to give significance to our feelings. Most people do this, not just those who have an anxiety disorder. Let me put your mind at ease, your feelings are not facts. They are feelings and they lie all the time. If the Lord wanted us to be led by our feelings, He wouldn’t have given us a written Bible.

When you receive a feeling, bad or good, do not be quick to believe it.

Challenge Your Thoughts!

When a thought comes into your mind, know that doesn’t mean it is true. Step back and challenge the thought. Your brain will try to prove that it is true so your job is to actively prove that it is NOT.

It takes work to do these things but when you do them day after day, guess what happens? Your brain begins making new pathways and begins thinking this way on its own! Isn’t that amazing? I am always so fascinated by how God has created us!

I hope you are at peace today, but if you aren’t, don’t give up! Pray, reach out, and know that there is a purpose in your pain.

Blessings,
Angela

Questions:

Have you suffered from an anxiety disorder? 

Have you ever had an anxiety attack?

Brave ones, describe your experience. Anxiety is a LONELY place. Please help those who are suffering now by sharing your story.