Anxiety is such an little evil bugger that can sneak in and mess with my mind. It can preoccupy my thoughts, wake me up in the middle of the night with “to-do lists and what-ifs,” create a pit in my stomach and pummel me with a throbbing headache. It can build over time, or pop up unexpectedly. When it gets the best of me, it can hold me back from taking chances, keep me from joining friends, and make me feel an all-consuming crabbiness.
And then, I get a little reality check and see the need to snap out it. I know for some individuals it takes a heck of a lot more than choosing NOT to feel anxious-it takes meds and therapy and a whole lot of patience. In fact, I have been there on occasion. Yet the annoying bits of anxiety I face now, seem to be manageable.
Last night was one of those nights. Stressing over some little details before bed, lying awake in the middle of the night for hours, and heading off to work with a brain that was working overtime. The issues creating anxiety seemed HUGE to me. Although huge in my mind is relatively miniscule in comparison to the real woes of the world and the issues that many folks face on a daily basis. Most often, I can talk myself out of these moments of angst, yet other times, I need a visual reminder to bring me back to reality. Chronic health conditions, issues of abuse, poverty concerns, having basic needs met…those are HUGE! Mine are weeny. It is all about perspective-someone ALWAYS has it worse.
So as I sat at lunch today with a group of teenage students with Autism, some non-verbal, some repeating phrases over and over, the fella eating just bread and ketchup (only bread and ketchup, because that is really the only thing he ever wants to eat,) and a dude with ranch dressing ALL over his face and his shirt and his hands, I had a bit of an epiphany…my little worries are nothing. These teens and their families face challenges EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. and those challenges may change and evolve, but chances are they will be part of their lives forever. Props go out to parents and siblings of children with significant special needs!
I am embarrassed to admit my whimpy worries in the face of what others are dealing with in life. I will count my blessings. I will face my struggles with confidence and faith. I will turn my worries to prayers and fight through this crazy little evil named anxiety. I will focus on living each day with gratitude, and leave the worries behind.