All posts by SerenityHunter

Anxiety and the Vanishing Fireflies

Fireflies by VivzMindDo you remember the magic of catching fireflies as a child? Memories of catching them came back a few nights ago as I was walking Hunter and the fireflies were just rising from the ground.  It was beautiful, but also sad as it occurred to me that my anxiety robbed me of some of the magic in recent years.

How?  Many years ago I noticed a few fireflies slipped into my apartment.  Being curious, I took a closer look at one of them and began to notice details about their bodies, the markings on their legs, segmentation of their body. At that moment they magic began to fade and I started looking at the firefly as just another dirty bug. The thought of catching one – not so appealing anymore.

Oh, they are still beautiful to watch from afar but the desire to touch them was gone – just another bug.  Why? Because I looked too closely and the wonder of this incredible creature slipped away.

It’s much the same in our daily lives. Sometimes we look a bit too closely at the world around us rather than taking things at face value and as a result cause needless worry or loss of joy. For example:

  1. We hear an ambiguous – perhaps innocent – comment from a co-worker, friend or family member and begin to study it for any hidden meaning, often generating needless worry for ourselves.
  2. We attend a brilliant magic show and begin to puzzle out how certain tricks were done. It’s fun at first as we speculate but once the secret has been discovered the magic is lost.

While the second example is common, it’s the first that can eat away at us. Those of us prone to anxiety regularly deal with situations (real or imagined) that may or may not lead to problems down the road. In an effort to prepare for the worst we imagine scenario after scenario and how we might react to each. Someone once told me it was my way of trying to feel as if I were in control.

In most cases the situation warrants only a cursory glance and a few thoughts about next steps – nothing more.  Could something go wrong? Sure, but to avoid needless anxiety we need to 1) not look so closely as to tie ourselves up in knots and 2) have faith – in God, ourselves, our friends and family – that when action is needed we can rise to the occasion to meet it.

So as you go about your routine this week, try to enjoy the moments as they happen and don’t puzzle over them too much.

Fireflies by CrushedSilence

Top Image Credit: VivzMind

Lower Image Credit: CrushedSilence

Facing the Little Red-Haired Girl of Your Dreams

So often we are own own worst enemy when it comes to anxiety. We worry so much about what could go wrong that we take a tiny, little problem – maybe not even a problem, just a situation – and blow it up into an international crisis without ever considering that things might go our way. In doing so, we delay, delay, delay.

Charlie Brown - tied up in knots over the LIttle Red-Haired Girl

And you know what happens then? It gets even worse. More time has passed, more anxiety has built-up and now the guilt over our inaction is beginning to kick in. The guilt begins to pull us down, and then we get depressed. Our energy is sapped and now, even if we do gather the courage to act, we no longer have the will to do so.

This happens to everyone occasionally and that’s okay. However, we we begin seeing it happen day after day, week after week, then it becomes a real problem.

So what should we do? As little as possible – literally.

Take a teeny, tiny step in the right direction so you can gather a little bit of courage and then take another tiny step, then another. Soon the momentum begins to build, and your view of the situation shifts as it becomes more manageable.

Charlie Brown could have done so many little things to break the ice:

  • A quick walk-by with a friendly nod one day
  • Maybe a little “Good Morning” the next day
  • A question about homework on the third day

So today take a tiny step forward to face your own Little Red Haired-Girl and let us know how it went. You won’t regret it.

Gathering Your Fellowship Unto Battle

Members of The Fellowship of the RingLady Galadriel was only partially right when she spoke, “You are a Ring-bearer, Frodo. To bear a Ring of Power is to be alone … This task was appointed to you, and if you do not find a way, no one will.”

Yes, it was Frodo’s destiny to destroy the ring of power and in that sense he was alone, a burden that nearly destroyed him. However, he was anything but alone. He wielded a power greater than any ring. This power arose from Fellowship of the Ring, a mismatched collection of allies bound by a common goal – the defense of Middle Earth.

So it is in our struggles with anxiety and depression. The burden is ultimately ours and achieving success – however defined – rests on our shoulders alone. No one can do it for us, yet we needn’t struggle alone if we gather together our own Fellowship.

Imagine for a moment that you are Frodo and seeking eight others to complete your Fellowship. Your companions might resemble those of Middle Earth:

Gandalf -The wisest of elders who understands – more than any other – the true burden of what you carry with you and mourns in the knowledge that though you may succeed, it will not be without personal loss

Aragorn -The reluctant combatant, perhaps a skeptic of your condition, who nonetheless rises to fight by your side while conquering his own demons

Legolas – The skilled, but occasionally aloof professional – likely a doctor – who targets many of your foes

Boromir – A passionate and loyal fighter for your cause, but occasionally impatient and too quick to act

Gimli – Emotional and short-tempered, this friend will kick you in the butt when you need it most

Merry & Pippin – A couple good souls with whom to kick back, enjoy good food, and drink while forgetting about your troubles

Samwise Gamgee – The friend who – without hesitation – would take up your burden and sacrifice himself in order to save you

Have you gathered your Fellowship? What are you waiting on? Perhaps a Ring Wraith or Arwen?

Image Credit: Used with permission of Neldorwen