Monday, October 31, 2016

The Powers of Anxiety Girl

As a kid, my biggest fears went in this order.

1. I would get kidnapped from my house.
2. I would be killed in my sleep.
3. Something bad would happen to my mom and dad or any of my brothers.

I was never kidnapped, nor was I ever killed in my sleep.

*** 

The most unfigureoutable thing about tragedies is the aftermath. With that, the other most unfigureoutable thing is how long the aftermath lasts.

For me, that aftermath was depression for a little while, then anxiety. Still anxiety. And the funny thing about anxiety is, well, it sort of becomes like a super power.

Allow me to explain all the different super powers of anxiety.

1. You are pro at thinking about all the possible conclusions for every situation. 
Most of these conclusions tend to be somewhat pessimistic, but your ability to think ahead skyrockets.


This is normally the train of thought of an anxious person. Observe example A:
"SHOOT! I didn't finish that assignment! Now that I didn't finish that assignment, I'm going to FAIL! I'm a failure! I'm a failure in college! If I fail college, I'll never get my degree, and if I never finish my degree, I'll never get a good job, and I won't be able to provide for my family! How will I be able to feed kids!? And if I don't finish school, how can I look into my child's eyes and tell them they should go to college? I'll be a hypocrite! I am a HYPOCRITE! A FAILING HYPOCRITE all because of that stupid paper that I forgot about!" 
And just like that, one paper got you planning your future. Somewhat bleak, but a future nevertheless. And the craziest part is, THE POWER IS ALMOST INSTANT! 

2. Because of your power to see into the future, your ability to put things on hold is commendable. 
Who needs to get things done now? There is always tomorrow!... And tomorrow... and tomorrow... 
Because of the ability to see into the future and predict the worse case scenario anyways, the idea of starting up again can become agonizing. Observe example B:
"Well, since I pretty much am gonna fail anyways, I might as well just NOT worry about the other assignments right now. I'm pretty much done anyways. So... I'll make dinner instead. Because I'm hungry, and I can't do my work if my stomach is continually growling. So I'll make dinner. And wow, this kitchen is a mess! I guess I forgot to do that yesterday. How can I make dinner in a place like THIS! I gotta clean up. And while I'm at it, I'll clean the bathroom, and living room, and bedroom... Oh, I forgot about dinner! I'll make that now... and now it's 11:30 at night. Well, I'm exhausted from all that cleaning so I'll just call it a night and start again tomorrow. At least the house is clean..." 
I forgot to mention, your deep cleaning abilities exceeds when you live in an anxious world! That's also because your ability to let the house go to a wreck also becomes a superpower, along with your ability to stand living in a mess. But that's OK, because tomorrow will come and you can do it then! 

3. Your brain thinks... A LOT. 
Like, A LOT a lot. 
This also goes along with superpower #1. When your mind is anxious, every move you make, every breath you take, you feel like people are watching you. (Yes, that is an allusion to a song. Can you name it?) And then, when people actually ARE watching you, like during a presentation, or when you're with the in-laws, or when you're just with family, your brain reverts back to superpower #1, imagining the worse case scenario. Example C:
"I'm doing terrible. They hate me. What are they thinking about me? Stop staring at me! Stop looking at me! Am I doing good enough at this job!? I'm totally NOT doing good enough with this job!"
And then, of course, you revert back (or forward) to superpower #1, continuously predicting your future.   

4. Even though your brain is thinking about all of these scenarios and situations, sometimes it doesn't want to do it's actual job and think of something useful.
Like the answer on that test you're taking or a solution to a problem. In fact, it's ridiculously hard to concentrate. 

Sometimes when you're anxious, your brain LITERALLY shuts down, turns off, all whirling power slowed down, all usefulness gone. So you sit there staring at your computer, waiting for some sort of inspiration to hit you like a bolt of lightening... A superpower for sure! I mean, not everyone can just shut down their thinking caps for the day. 
Observe example D:
"..." "..." "..." "..." "I want cookies."  

5. Your ability to care also skyrockets. 
Some people call it being a "worry wart." But we call it "caring with love." 
If your husband doesn't call on time, you start caring. If your brother comes home later than expected, you start to care. If your mother-in-law doesn't react to that nice gift you got her for Christmas the way that you expected, you start to care. For the anxious person, worrying happens because we want things to be perfect. We want nothing to go wrong. This is typically because, if you're like me, something did go wrong in your life. Something happened that should not have happened; at least it wasn't in your plan. Which leads us to the next superpower...

6. Your planning abilities and perfectionism becomes top notch. 
And typically, pretty unattainable. 
You expect the house to be clean 100% of the time, even though you're busy with school and work and you're never around to clean the dishes. You're kids are everywhere, and their toys and clothes are everywhere, but you are determined to keep it organized. 
You expect to be 100% on point at your job, even though you've only been teaching for 2 months and can't expect to be perfect. Anytime something seems to fail, you blame yourself. It's always yourself. You always think, "What did I do wrong today? What do I need to do tomorrow to be better?" Which it's not bad to want to improve, except you never see the good in what you did the day before or the day of, because, gosh dang it, it's not PERFECT YET! 
So you plan for 5 hours when really you only need to plan for 2 at most, because you aren't confident in yourself to know that you can only do so much, because perfection is just not possible right now. 

7. Your sidekick is STRESS.
He's everywhere: in your head, on your shoulders, up your back, in your sleepy eyes. He never wants to leave you, because you are ANXIETY GIRL, and if he leaves you, you lose your title. 
Your super power then? You live with him. You try to train him, coach him, learn to deal with him. You tell him, "I need you to back off a little bit," but you always welcome him when he comes running up behind you, reminding you of all the things that you still have not accomplished in a day's work. He becomes a part of you, draining you, making you so exhausted. Yet you can't give him up, because in all honesty, he is you. And so, you deal and keep going, day in and day out, wanting to hang your cape up, wanting to let tears show. 

But you won't. Because no one is supposed to see the super hero cry. 
Which leads to the last, but certainly not least, power:

8. You master the Art of Pretending.
You become a spy, an actor for everyone else. You smile when you want to frown. You laugh when you want to cry. You hold someone in need when you want to be held, and you tell that person "It's going to be OK," when in reality you are asking yourself, "Will I EVER be OK again?" 

Fortunately though, you are not the only hero.
There is one who is the greatest hero of them all. 
That hero is Christ. 

He has also felt that feeling of stress, of wondering what will happen. During his last few days on earth, he took the bitter cup so that you don't have to. He asked the Father, "If thou wouldst be willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done." (Matthew 26:39) 
His power exceeds all of ours, He being the one who healed those who were anxious, scared, hurt, afflicted; He being the one who willingly died for us, then rose again, so that when we feel like we can't handle our powers anymore, we can hand Him over our cape and say, "I can't do this today. Could you help me?"; He was the one that made it possible for us to keep going.



You don't have to be alone, and you don't have to always be the hero. That job was already taken care of. All we need to do is keep going. 
That doesn't mean the pain or the stress will go away right away. But he gives us power through his Atonement to be stronger than those hard days. 

And that is why He is the Hero. 



3 comments:

  1. Beautiful Post Jensen - you described anxiety perfectly in such a hilarious way. Thanks for the laugh. Talking about Christ as our Hero was the perfect ending. Thank you for the reminder that we don't have to do life alone. :)

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    Thanks,

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