over the last several weeks I have been dealing with a lot of anxiety. Part of it had to do with a traffic court appearance, but that has been resolved. Some centered around a medical situation. While that isn’t resolved, the anxiety isn’t holding me back. Since it is a big thing, it seems as though I am much more inclined to say, “this is in God’s hands.”
Family is always a source of tension and anxiety. But, once again, it feels as though my brain is finally understanding or at least remembering it is in God’s hands.
So why the extra anxiety?
In so many ways, I feel like anxiety is connected to fear.
God has been reminding me over and over again of 2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
I decided to look up the connection between fear and anxiety. Here is what About.comsays about the two:
Fear and Anxiety Produce a Stress Response
Fear and anxiety both produce similar responses to certain dangers. But, many experts believe that there are important differences between the two.
Muscle tension, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath are a few of the physiological symptoms associated with a response to danger. These bodily changes occur due to an inborn fight-or-flight stress response that is believed to be necessary for our survival. Without this stress response, our mind would not receive the alerting danger signal, and our bodies would be unable to prepare to flee or stay and battle when faced with danger.
According to authors Kaplan and Sadock, anxiety is “a diffuse, unpleasant, vague sense of apprehension…” It is often a response to an imprecise or unknown threat. For example, imagine you’re walking down a dark street. You may feel a little uneasy and perhaps you have a few butterflies in your stomach. These sensations are caused by anxiety that is related to the possibility that a stranger may jump out from behind a bush, or approach you in some other way, and harm you. This anxiety is not the result of a known or specific threat. Rather it comes from your mind’s vision of the possible dangers that may result in the situation.
Fear is an emotional response to a known or definite threat. Using the scenario above, let’s say you’re walking down a dark street and someone points a gun at you and says, “This is a stick up.” This would likely elicit a response of fear. The danger is real, definite and immediate. There is a clear and present object of fear.
Although the focus of the response is different (real vs. imagined danger), fear and anxiety are interrelated. Fear causes anxiety, and anxiety can cause fear. But, the subtle distinctions between the two will give you a better understanding of your symptoms and may be important for treatment strategies.
One thing I have learned from counseling is to isolate what is actually bothering me. But, that isn’t always as easy as it appears.
How do you deal with anxiety?
Lord, I pray you reveal the root of this anxiety. I ask that my eyes are opened. Teach me to hand these issues to you.