Confession: I’m the Chill Friend With Anxiety

I’ve always been considered to be pretty chill person. (Chill meaning easy going not temperature reading lol) For the most part, I am. That being said, there are times when my own anxieties knock me of my easy-going pedestal and threaten to betray my existing reputation.

Lately I’ve been educating myself and taking baby steps to eliminate my debt. Although I don’t have much credit card debt, my student loans are like a dark, ominous cloud that I’ve actively avoided. I went to a private Christian university with “private Christian university” tuition, and although I did pay for a solid portion of my education by working through school, there still is a considerable amount of debt to pay off.

*Cue mini freak out!*

To be honest the idea of tackling that ever growing mountain on a non-profit salary has filled me with ever growing deep seated fear, more commonly known as anxiety.

That’s not really a fun word or feeling. For me, when my worries or tensions arise, my first survival instinct is to completely ignore it or to completely drop out. I ignore whatever causes the most tension whether it be finances, family, friends, work, expectations, etc., and end up living a normal life without acknowledging the ever growing monster that taunts me behind the door I’ve forced it in. Unfortunately, this survival method has proved time after time to be counter productive. Usually, when ignored, the thing that causes the most anxiety will actually grow bigger and bigger until, one day, you’re forced to deal with it.

Well, in deciding to tackle my student loans head on, I’ve been forced to face one of the things that makes me the most anxious. I’ve noted a few things along the way:

  1. That feeling of fear, the one right in the middle of your chest, feels the worst when you first start. I think looking at whatever your giant is face to face, at first, is scary. But the more I face my fears, the less daunting it seems to me. This doesn’t happen overnight. But slowly, as I force myself to face my fears, those fears loose their grip on my heart.
  2. Your imagination can be your worst enemy. I love and always promote a great imagination. However that strength can be your greatest weakness when dealing with issues you would prefer not to. I’ve learned my obstacles are rarely as big as what my imagination would suggest.
  3. Having people around me who are talking about the things that make me anxious and who relate to my own feelings, has tremendously helped me. For me, my sister is a huge blessing in that regard. Admitting to each other we are both scared and walking anyway has been the biggest reliever of that internal tension.
  4. Anxiety isn’t always dramatic. I’ve had friends who suffer with more severe forms of anxiety, and for the longest time, that was the lens in which I viewed anxiousness. I’ve never experienced those reactions myself and so for a good period of time I though my reactions weren’t significant enough to be categorized as anxiety. I thought I just had to pull myself up by my bootstraps and deal with it. But that’s not true. Although I may not need a prescription to deal with my anxiety, it can still be crippling and needs to be addressed.
  5. Sometimes walking through the anxiety is the only way out. Even now, I feel traces of anxiety writing this post. However I’ve experienced that the only way to overcome it is to walk straight through. Push past the fear. Confront it then walk through it. It may mean starting by putting $5 towards that student loan. It may mean seeking counseling or professional help. I know for me it means both those things and choosing to trust the God I serve.
  6. I like to be a low-maintenance friend, employee, daughter, sister, and person in general. Facing my anxiety has forced me to be ok with requiring more from the people around me. Its ok to need the people around you.

I don’t have much else to say; anxiety sucks. I can’t give much advice on how to overcome anxiety. I only can share what I’ve experienced and am currently experiencing. But if it means anything to you, dear reader, who may be feeling the same,  just know, I’m right here with you.

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