My name is Tiffany, and I'm a recovering hypochondriac.
No really, when my life was flipped upside down after developing severe preeclampsia at 31 weeks gestation and my beautiful little girl made her grand entrance way ahead of schedule, I began dealing with something so much worse than the recent panic attacks I dealt with in my previous years.
They told me I had PTSD. They also told me I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder and boy, did it manifest in ways I can't even explain. This type of torment shook me to my core. They basically diagnosed me as a walking, talking ball of worry.
Instead of handing my fears over to God, Webmd's symptom checker became my best friend. Every ache, pain, (and the ones I made up in my head) worried me almost to a point of insanity.
If you've ever had an anxiety attack, you know that it can feel like walls are closing in around you. You get a lump in your throat that just will not go away, and you feel like you can't sufficiently breathe. For me personally, I get extremely dizzy, fuzzy minded, and have chest pains, (which resemble a heart attack which just increases my anxiety all the more.)
After seeing the pain in my daughter and husband's eyes, after suffering from a terrifying three day long panic attack, and after taking more than one trip to the hospital convinced I was dying I knew I had to do something. All of my anxiety stemmed back to getting sick, and my overwhelming fear of not being able to stick around for my family.
The beautiful thing about God is that when we are at our lowest, He will carry us. I don't think He caused my pain, but I believe He has shaped it into something greater, because now I am that much stronger.
And you will be too. I am praying over you and rebuking the spirit of fear, anxiety, depression, self-harm, and torment in JESUS NAME.
What the devil meant for my harm, God has turned around for my good. Instead of focusing on the circumstance, I have been training my mind to focus on the one who delivered me from that circumstance.
Daily you are going to have to train your mind just as I am. Daily you are going to have to hand over that fear to God. There may still be days where the best you can do is breathe, and that's okay. There may be days when you just aren't okay no matter what you do, but I want you to know and believe things will get better. Everyone needs rest, and there is no better place than to find that in the arms of Jesus.
I have a few things that I believe will help you next time you are struggling with anxiety.
My relationship has deepened with God so much more because I realized I was trying to do things on my own instead of trusting the one who loves me most. As I mentioned before (not that long ago might I add) I had a crippling panic attack that lasted three days. I couldn't eat without throwing up, I was dizzy and couldn't breathe, and I remember on that third day I got down on my knees and just started worshipping God. I began thanking him for all that He was and how He had blessed me and was going to bring me through this. I rebuked the spirit of fear and spoke life over myself. Believe it or not, right then my panic attack broke. But that's just how big and how incredible God is. Next time you're having a panic attack, pray your way through it, God will help you.
2. Take a walk
Our bodies were not meant to be indoors all day long. Not to mention Vitamin D (which comes from the sun) is essential for fighting off depression and MANY other things. The benefits of sunlight and fresh air boost your spirits, and physical exercise is a great way to help you combat anxiety/depression.
3. Drink plenty of water
I didn't realize how little water I was actually drinking in a day. I was dehydrated and didn't even realize it. Dehydration can cause you to become dizzy and fatigue, so make sure you are getting enough water in a day. (At least half your weight in ounces of water.) I LOVE to add fruits, lemon, or even my favorite tea bags to water, which is a great thing to do especially if you aren't that crazy about the flavor of plain water, (like me.)
4. Try a magnesium supplement
Of course consult your doctor before adding any supplements into your diet, but I cannot begin to express how much Magnesium has changed my life. Through clean eating and taking this supplement, I was able to get off my blood pressure medicine completely AND reduce my anxiety tremendously. Magnesium is totally natural, and is an essential mineral that our bodies need. Some of the benefits of magnesium is that it helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels and aid in the production of energy and protein.
5. Close your eyes
I read this handy little tip online some time ago and it has helped me tremendously. You see, dizziness or blurry vision caused by anxiety cannot hurt you because its how your brain is perceiving what is around you, its not actually something wrong with your brain. So when you close your eyes, it can help you to ground yourself and to calm down.
6. Drink a cup of tea.
I am truly convinced there isn't much that a cup of tea (or coffee) cannot make right. I'm an avid tea (and coffee) drinker, and I LOVE soothing teas like Kava, Honey Lavender, and Comforting Chamomile Maybe I just get overly excited about a good cup of tea, but when I feel anxiety nothing beats having my kava tea mixed with some Kentucky Mountain Honey while watching my favorite show, Fixer Upper .
7. Eat more of a plant based diet.
As I mentioned before, the combination of going on the Daniel fast, and taking a magnesium supplement totally changed my life. Our bodies were never meant to consume so many processed foods and preservatives. Now I'm not telling you to go straight vegan, but maybe your body is trying to tell you to maybe lay off the sugar and caffeine. Listen to your body and take notice of how certain foods make you feel. Even if you implement in a "meatless monday" every now or then that will help. If you take care of your body now, it will thank you later, trust me.
8. Listen to your body.
As I mentioned in the previous point, listen to what your body is telling you. Do you need to eliminate some stress in your life? Then do it. Do you need a vacation? Try your best to take one. Do you need a good nap? Take a nap. Do you need to cut certain things out of your diet? Then do so. God created us so intelligently and magnificently. He has given us the resources we need to live a happy, healthy life but its up to you to do so. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom to discern the choices you need to make in order to be healthier physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
9. Breathe deeply.
My favorite breathing technique is to close my eyes and breathe in through my nose on the count of four. Then, I breathe out for a count of eight. Just think, 4-8-4. By time I go through this five or six times I start to notice a difference. There are many different techniques you can do, if you'd like to check out some more click here.
10. Accept that your anxiety is lying to you.
I know for me personally, realizing that my anxiety is causing me to be/think/ and feel irrational is so difficult, yet it is also key. God didn't make you to live in constant torment in fear. The enemy, however, wants you living in a constant state of anxiety and depression. Revelations 12:11 says, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony;"
Did you read that last part? the blood of the lamb, (which is Jesus) and the word of their TESTIMONY. Speak it into existence before it even happens.
YOU are an OVERCOMER and you will get through this. But first, you have to work on your mindset and understand the root of the issue.
11. Change your mindset by speaking only good things.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us that death and life lie in the power of the tongue. Mark 11:23 tell us that if we have faith to tell a mountain to move, it will move. Matthew 21:22 says that whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. So today I want to encourage you to speak life over your heart, soul, mind, and every situation and person you come in contact with. You will notice things, atmospheres, and situations start to change once you start speaking the favor, goodness, and life of God over them.
I once heard someone say, "there is nothing a good nap or a good laugh can't fix." I can totally attest to this. I've noticed that my anxiety flares up when I am exhausted or overly stressed. It's so important to take care of yourself not only be eating right and exercising, but by getting enough rest. Aim for a good 8 hours of sleep at night, and if you can, throw in a midday nap if that will make you feel better.
14. Listen to music.
Before God opened the door for me to write full time, I was going to school to teach music. I truly believe in the power of music and how it can bring inner healing. Whether you're a fan of classic rock, country, classical, christian music, etc, listen to music that will build you up and speak life. Be careful of what you listen to as well. What you are allowing into your mind and spirit could very well be a source of your anxiety/depression, so I would encourage you to pray and ask God for discernment in this area to reveal what is the root cause of what you are dealing with.
15. Read the word of God.
This is one of the most important (if not the most important) on this list. Read the word of God, soak it up. Read Psalms. Read about how king David struggled with depression just like you may be right now. Read about Elijah, who was broken, weary, and discouraged. Read about Jonah who found himself outside the will of God and struggling with fear. Read about what Job went through. Read about our Jesus who was in so much distress he cried tears of blood in the garden, knowing that the one he loved so much would betray him. We can find hope in the scripture because others have been where we are right in this moment, even Jesus. God restored, renewed, and loved them back to life. Soak yourself in the word of God to bring healing to your mind and spirit.
What other tips would you add to this list? Leave a comment below!