Imagine being handed the keys to a vintage convertible sportscar. In awe of the priveledge entrusted to you of driving this priceless classic, you notice the crispness of the leather underneath you as you settle in behind the wheel. Coolly positioning your elbow atop the driver’s door, the purr of the engine as your companion on this destinationless journey, you head away from the hustle of the city and escape into a rural landscape of open roads. Hair gently blown back, warm sun on your face, the smell of nature filling your lungs with every breath… life is a ride. A beautiful ride. The twists and turns along the road add a surprise element to the drive. Your soul finds satisfaction knowing that the unexpected roadblock guiding you down a new road, may be a blessing in disguise. And you smile to yourself at how amazing the drive is overall.
Unfortunately, life with anxiety is a little different. It’s like driving on a hilly, winding road in the dark. You think you’re going along just fine only to find that you’re mere inches away from heading down a ravine of uncertainty and lonliness. You never saw it coming. And you begin to overanalyze every little correction of the steering wheel. Your heart races. Your mind races. How long until morning comes? Please, please, you pray, let the sun rise soon. This journey is hard.
The road is the same. The car is the same. How we encounter the journey, however, is not.
I appreciate how my friend, Myndee, shares how her ride through life looks with anxiety. My hope in sharing her struggle is that you too may find freedom from anxiety through acceptance.
Acceptance: the antidote to my anxiety
As long as I can remember, Anxiety has been part of my life. I may have been born with her. I didn’t always recognize her for what she was. When I was only eight-years-old, I would lock my bedroom door to be able to sleep, because “if a robber broke in, I would be a little safer with my door locked.” I didn’t know it then, but that was anxiety rearing her ugly head. My anxiety is like an unwelcome guest in my mind, trying to take the wheel and reminding me that life is fragile and “anything could happen.” She sits in the driver’s seat of my brain and loves to get me thinking about all the what ifs.
What if I get cancer?
What if we get in a car accident?
What if our house catches fire?
What if my kids are the victim of a mass shooting?
What if, what if, what if?
Therapy, awareness, Xanax, meditation, my friends and my husband have helped me overcome the stronghold anxiety has on my life. But nothing has cured it. She shows up, unannounced, and takes over my mind. She did it just yesterday. After a friend of ours offered to take our son to school, Anxiety asked questions like, “What if Dylan gets out of the car and runs into the street? What if he gets kidnapped before walking into the gate?” The good news, I recognized it as Anxiety. The bad news, that didn’t make it go away.
The only thing that has truly made a difference in how much control anxiety has over me is acceptance. Accepting the uncomfortable fact that something tragic might happen to me or my loved ones. Accepting is the only thing that quiets down the what ifs. If something awful happens, I will deal with it to the best of my ability when I have to face it. Until then, I should not worry so much about the what ifs. I accept that I cannot keep my children in a bubble, and I know that aside from taking better care of myself with diet and exercise, I can’t do much to prevent illness.
Accepting the truth that I have no control frees me from feeling like I need to control everything in order to prevent something bad from happening. Acceptance is the antidote to my anxiety.
This newfound acceptance is not a simple fix. I have actively worked to combat my anxieties with the help of my therapist, my husband and medication when needed. Even with all those things, I have not fully overcome anxiety. Only now, she has to ride in the backseat instead of the driver’s seat.
Myndee is an author, speaker and self-love advocate. She spends her days managing her house, wrangling her three kids and doing her best to spread positivity, hope and acceptance to the world. As an introverted extrovert, Myndee loves being part of the generation where most of her friends live in her computer. She has a woefully neglected website where she writes about her journey from self-loathing to self-acceptance, and a brand new site where she writes (politely) about politics. Her first book, The No Bullsh*t Guide to Living Your Best Life, is available on Amazon, and she’s eagerly awaiting the release of her next book, As You Love Yourself: A 30-Day Self-Love Devotional.