When I was a little girl I was scared of so many things, big and small; even things that were harmless. My oldest sister must have sensed the fear that accompanied me throughout my everyday life as a young child because she made sure that nobody messed with me or they would have hell to pay. And everyone knew it too, so most times people left me alone…but life….humph…well life happens to everyone.
As I began to get older, my fear hung around behind the scenes, quietly lurking, waiting for the next unfortunate situation to occur in my life. Without fail, every single time, I would feel that paralyzing feeling: it was fear and it came back every time in the form of depression or anxiety.
Anyone who has ever suffered from depression, anxiety, or both knows how it can affect every area of your life. I read something one time that said when someone is depressed, it is because they are living in “the past”, meaning one is living in the mindset of should’a, could’a…would’a. The article went on to say that when someone experiences anxiety it is because of living in the future and worrying about something that hasn’t even happened, meaning they are living in the mindset of “What if’s…”.
Both are equally crippling and counterproductive to living in the moment.
Although it took me a long time to realize and recognize it for what it was, for a period of my life, I lived with both. Now you can imagine how my life was and to make matters worse, I lived in a state of mind of one or the other for years and by years, I mean most of my adult life. I looked okay on the outside because I always made sure I looked good. I still hung out with friends, went to family functions, attended school, and worked. I even got married, had kids, went through a divorce, and put on a brave face as a single parent for my kids every…single…day.
I didn’t want anyone to know the secret hell I was living in because I felt like people would judge me. You see, growing up, I saw a lot of judgement from people that I thought were supposed to love and accept you no matter what, so me openly telling anyone what I was dealing with was completely off the table. I didn’t even tell my best friend because she had a family and I didn’t want to bother her with my stuff so there were times I would isolate myself from people (which, by the way, is a side effect of suffering from depression or anxiety). The bottom line is that I lived in a perpetual state of fear for years and many of my “happy moments” were only a disguise of how I truly felt inside.
People would tell me all the time that I was pretty, but I didn’t feel pretty. They would tell me that I was smart, but I felt so stupid for the struggles I was dealing with but was seemingly doing just fine. They would tell me I was funny but the reason I loved to make people laugh was because that was the only way I would feel joy. I would give my last to anyone because it was the only way I would feel worthy of love but once I was alone, I felt empty inside.
I would pray and pray to God for answers as to how I could stop feeling these feelings. Let me tell you something: when you pray for something and mean it with all your heart, the answers will come. I went through so many trials after praying for answers and each time my faith was tested. God was trying to teach me to trust Him and fear not. Isn’t it funny how the only way to overcome fear is to be courageous? And isn’t it funny that the only way to be courageous is to believe in yourself? And isn’t it funny how you can be neither courageous or believe in yourself if fear is hanging around in the background of your thoughts?
I could write a book about all the trials and tribulations I went through but for now, I will keep it sweet and simple. I no longer live in fear. I live on purpose. I am no longer afraid to be exactly who I was created to be. Had I not have gone through all that I went through, I wouldn’t be as bold and courageous as I am today. One of the biggest and most important lessons that I have learned on this journey called life is that whatever you fear always seems bigger that what it is. You must step towards your fear, handle it, and just like that…it disappears. You know why? Because fear is just an illusion.