Living with Fear, Part I

Hello. My name is Jamie, and I am addicted to fear.

Reading this post yesterday jump-started my thinking, and after having an anxiety-ridden night, I realized that unless I wanted to have a panic attack someday, I needed to do something about this problem. (And I don’t think its coincidental that the night after reading this post was filled with fear.) I’ve prayed about it (but more a ‘take it away’ kind of prayer, which usually is not God’s way of dealing with issues), I’ve asked my husband to pray about it, I’ve journaled about it, I’ve cried about it, I’ve looked for books to read about it — but something about that post made me realize that all those were not enough. I’m not quite certain how to proceed, but I figured that putting it ‘out there,’ in a sense, would be a good way to start.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has dome has been done through God.
John 3:19-21

My fear manifests itself in various ways, but there are certain things that trigger it. At the risk of sounding childish, my two main fears are darkness and throwing up — they usually coincide with one another. It sounds really silly, but if I wake up on the middle of the night, my thought process goes something like this:

I’m awake. *yawn* (pause.) I’m awake!! Why am I awake? Did my body wake me up? Did my body wake me up because I’m sick? I’m sick!! *cue stomach pains from anxiety* And my stomach even hurts. Oh no, I’m going to throw up. I’m sick, I’m sick, I’m sick. I hate being sick. How will this affect tomorrow? I’m not sleeping. I’m going to be tired. Am I going to be sick all day tomorrow? How will I take care of Jones? *cue nausea from anxiety* Oh no. I really am sick.

This is usually followed by a scrap of rational thinking that says, “You’re not sick, you’re just worried. You’re just afraid.” Then I go on telling myself that I’m not sick — not sick, not sick, not sick. And then I pray.

A couple of times during my first trimester, I woke up this way in the middle of the night and stayed up till the sun rose, and — viola! — my stomach ache ceased. I then realized that this was not a silly fear, it was rooted in my heart and took control of me. It was not something I could shake. I began to notice other areas of my life affected by fear — then others. Then others — and still, more, others. The epidemic was widespread. It popped up, unwelcome, throughout my pregnancy, but has largely gone forgotten till I read the aforementioned post. I was reminded that this was a serious issue, with which I needed to become serious. This was sin.

So there you have it. It’s in the light. Since I know this is not an issue that will be dealt with once and promptly removed from my life, I’m created a new tag for it. I sense that I’ll be writing about this journey for quite a while. Please join me — it promises to be eventful. 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Living with Fear, Part I

  1. Ah, fear and anxiety, my close friends with whom I am well acquainted. My journey is long and contains several chapters, but I am thrilled to say that today they do not control my world. In fact, they rarely show their faces anymore. I am very aware that they’ll pop up from time to time — but they are not invited to stay for long because I have tools in my arsenal (including a really objective and cool counselor whose number I keep close). : )

    I identify with your night/vomit fears, Jamie. Sometime last week I felt incredibly stressed by a resurgence of Liv’s not sleeping pattern. I finally calmed myself down by agreeing with the anxiety and not fighting it anymore:. “So what if I puke? So what if I don’t sleep all night? So what if Liv doesn’t sleep all night?” All worse case scenarios were liveable.

    You and I could chat for hours about this stuff, I think.

  2. I’m not sure we’ve ever met, but I remember hearing your name at Grace Chapel when I worked there… anywho… I happened across your blog from Renae’s and laughed out loud at your description of middle of the night anxiety. I wasn’t laughing at it because I thought “man, that’s stupid,” but because I thought “OMG, I totally relate!” While my anxiety was triggered by a traumatic event — picture a business trip and dry heaving in an airport — they really were/are due to deeper issues. After this event, I was anxious almost all the time, especially when leaving the house where I was worried that I would have to throw up (you know, because I often just randomly throw up when I leave the house). And if I wasn’t anxious about throwing up I was anxious that things would uncontrollably come out the other end (cuz you know, that usually happens too).

    But, there is hope in the midst of darkness. And you’ve taken the first step by acknowledging it is there and beginning to face it. And you should totally go over to Rebecca’s and chat it up. She’s cool that way. Blessings to you on this journey!

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