Tuesday, 13 November 2018

anything could happen at any moment

one of the hardest things i've found about my journey in grief so far has been the anxiety of knowing that anything could happen at any moment.

and today i want to write about it, because writing about things helps me understand how i'm feeling, and i guess i feel that by sharing it in this way i can start to move through it a little more. it's not something i can easily talk about face to face, so those of you who know me or see me in real life probably haven't realised what's been going on in my head and why i've been quite so flaky lately.

so, if you're new here, you need some context, because this anxiety all stems from losing my beautiful littlest niece earlier this year - i wrote a post about it at the time, which so many of you have been so kind about.

it's been over 6 months now, and one of the major repercussions of this tragic loss has been how it has affected my anxiety levels. because, you see, the way in which she was taken was so very very very unexpected, and it was so sudden and simple. it could have happened to anyone. but it didn't happen to just anyone, it wasn't something that happened to someone else in the newspapers, it happened to her and it happened to our family.

i do believe that God took her that day for a reason, that it wasn't random, and that it was very much a part of His bigger plan and that He was protecting her from something worse in her future. i talked about this more in my previous post. and i guess i feel confident in His ability to do the right thing, but i feel exactly the opposite about my own ability. i feel like if i step outside of the house, however tired or awake, however well or sick, something bad could happen.

and that IS the reality - anything could happen at any time. i just didn't see it as clearly as i see it now.

i believe more than ever that we do need to live in a way where there are no regrets and in a constant state of preparedness for our final day, where we make sure to speak kindly and gently and thoughtfully to those around us, because only God knows when that last day is going to be. and we make sure to not go to bed angry with anyone, and to say goodbye properly.

but, instead of believing and living in the positive sides of this truth, i'm currently in an opposing extreme, where i stay in more often than not because i feel safer that way. and i only do things outside my comfort zone if it's been in my diary for a while and i feel comfortable with all the variables. i hardly ever do anything last minute. i cancel things a lot; when my sugar levels are slightly out of control (i have type 1 diabetes) or if my toddler is grumpy or sick (he's 2.5 so it happens a lot), or if i haven't had enough sleep, because then i don't feel in control.

of course, the irony of this is actually that the fewer people i spend time with, the harder i find it to go out the house and spend time with people and hold a conversation, especially new people. i seek comfort in the people i've known for ages because i know that if i say something stupid they'll still love me.

being a stay-at-home mum really does compound this situation rather a lot too. as well as just my own personality type (a people-pleasing introvert/INFJ). to make my stress levels higher also, we moved country at the end of last year, and we are in progress with moving again shortly... it's all just rather a lot at the moment. it feels the same as the last time i had proper doctor-approved "stress" and took two weeks off work - i have shortness of breath, chest pains, foggy brain, i cry all the time - only i can't exactly get a prescription for time off to fix this one...

so that's where i am, and that's how i feel. and that's why you may not have heard from me, or that might be why i've cancelled our dates. thank you for bearing with me those of you who have, you are so dear to me. and thank you for your encouragement and support, you will never know what one kind word or message can do to change my day. please keep praying that i feel His confidence to get out the door, and that i fully know that in Him i can do all things.

so then, there's this gorgeous song by Lauren Daigle called You Say, and the lyrics are so perfect that i want to share them with you, because each time i hear this song at the moment i cry, and each time i hear it i want this song to be my song...

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity

i hope these words speak to you. please go and listen to the song because it's so beautiful (you can listen/watch here on YouTube). it's a reminder of some key truths that i need to get stuck down deep in my head and my heart - i need to keep singing 'i believe what you say of me' until i do.

i don't believe in being a hands-off Christian, one that just does whatever they want and hopes God will protect them, because i do believe He gave me a brain for a reason. but i do also know that He would rather i have a life lived confidently outside of these walls, and that i would chose to do things in His confidence more often. that i would use His strength and His love to move forwards.

if you've experienced stress or anxiety before, i'd really appreciate your practical advice as well as verses or words of encouragement - so please add them in the comments or send them to any other way you can. i believe our words can change lives.

thank you for reading today x

1 comment:

  1. Hi Alissa
    First well done for sharing this post, it can't have been easy.
    While I cannot imagine what you have gone through losing your neice so unexpectedly, I have faced my own anxiety. I'm also a fellow INFJ.
    To give you a brief overview, I had a bad living arrangement at uni (10 years ago now) which left me very anxious. I ended up leaving uni, but things continued to take a turn for the worse when I was in a car accident. I then lost my Mum to cancer in 2014.
    Combined, these things left me with agoraphobia. I did not want to leave the house for the fear that something bad would happen. What if I had another car accident? What if something happens and my Mum is not there to help? What if I come across horrible people like at uni and feel trapped again?
    I did hit rock bottom and asked for help with the NHS. This turned my life around and I started going out again. Talking to someone allowed me to have a weight taken off my shoulders and I started to feel safe again .
    So I guess what I'm trying to say is, yes the fear is still there when I go out. I fear for the future and the everyday. But the opposite scenario of staying at home, a prisoner of my own making is far worse in the long term.
    It took me a long time to realise both bad and good things happen regardless of whether I choose to leave the house that day.
    You must also give yourself compassion as it has not been a year since the tragic loss of your neice, and so it is perfectly normal and okay to feel the way you do. It's only in hindsight of losing my Mum that I can make sense of that first year of grief, and why things played out the way they did.
    So be gentle with yourself, you're doing the best you can.
    Try to up relaxation as much as you can (I know with a toddler this is challenging). But even just some simple breathing exercises daily will support your nervous system. It's not for everyone, but possibly read up on CBD oil as that is good for anxiety.
    I am thinking of you at this time and pray that you feel better soon xx


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