I am a bit nervous to write this post, as I know it will leave me feeling completely vulnerable before all of you. But I know that there is a greater purpose in me sharing my heart with you, maybe the words and my story will resonate with some of you and encourage you that you to are not alone in this. Sorry in advance if this gets a bit much, or morbid, but I know I need to get this off my chest.

Phew! Okay, deep breath, here I go!

“I am a raging sea trapped inside of a tear drop”

The last few months have been absolutely crazy, in every sense of the word. I feel like I have been riding out the roughest of storms, and it seems like it’s never ending. I know that with everything that has been going on, my mind and my heart haven’t really been friends of late. So, there is a definite disconnect, which in turn triggers off my anxiety and panic attacks. Subconsciously my anxiety builds without me even realizing it at times, as I switch on to autopilot mode as a means of going forward and staying afloat. Which in turns increases my stress levels and my anxiety stays trapped in my body and then pours out when I least expect it to. And when it does, I feel overwhelmed , and ensnared by it. Almost as if it’s crushing me under its breath.Dealing with anxiety

I hate anxiety! I hate that it sneakily traps you, lies to you, leaves you feeling overwhelmed , mentally and emotionally exhausted , fearful, weak, lonely, and feeling not quite like yourself. My anxiety levels have been at its absolute worst this past year, and it’s been an ongoing unrelenting battle. I just want to be done with it. But, I know I need to work through it, process it, go through all of my anxious thoughts and do something practical as a means of sifting it out of my system.

Anxiety has a way of sneaking in during busy seasons, when we feel tired, stressed and just caught up trying to juggle family-life-work. Then just like a seed, it roots itself in our minds and in our hearts and causes us to feel fearful, doubtful, and hopeless.

For me I know my anxiety builds up before big deadlines, and before productions. Normally, I bounce back and sort myself out. But this year has been different, the last few months have been nuts and I haven’t had a chance to bounce back. I have been going, going , going, going , going and going. But, that “going” can only go so far until it all catches up with you, and you know you need to sift through it all and pick up all the pieces again.

I have had a few break downs in the last month or so, that have left me feeling very helpless and alone. I have been trying to hide behind a smiling face, when in actual fact I have felt completely numb. I think I hide things like this from others, because I never want to feel like a burden or like I am being a “Debbie Downer.” But I guess in the last two weeks the mask fell off, which was an emotional and mental relief of sorts. That’s the thing with the unveiling, unmasking process, you somehow feel this relief when you lay bare with all of your mess. Beauty begins to arise out of our brokenness.

“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails”

I have always said to myself for as long as I first encountered anxiety, that I would not let anxiety define me as a person going forward. I am hell bent on overcoming it, and working through it rather than letting it control my every move and thought. I don’t want my son growing up feeling and sensing anxiety in our home, nor do I want him growing up anxious fearing the worst at every turn. Every time my anxiety creeps up on me, and starts to consume me, I know I need to take a step back, and process it logically and then outwork it practically. Not always easy. Yet, I am committed to riding it out until it is completely out of my system. I do not want anxiety to stop me from living a big and bold life, nor do I want it to steal from me emotionally or mentally, nor do I want it to negatively impact my family.Malakai and Cass

I had to address a new fear that rooted itself in the back of my heart, and that was the fear of Malakai having another seizure and the fear of something bad happening to him that I could not control. When I first saw Malakai have his seizure to holding him while he was unconscious, I couldn’t help but fear the worse. As I was calling out his name in those moments and he wasn’t responding, I kept thinking ; “What if he doesn’t come back Cass?” I let those fearful thoughts stay hidden in my heart and kept a brave face and kept on going.

We moved Malakai back into our room, as a means of monitoring him in his sleep incase he had another seizure. Which meant I wasn’t sleeping because I would wake up with every little movement or moan from Malakai. I would wake up during the night feeling fearful and anxious. I didn’t realize this had become a thing until recently.

My body started giving up on me, all the stress was manifesting through my body and I found myself constantly sick and tired. Which in turn made me feel emotionally unstable, like I couldn’t hold it all together and I all I could do was cry most days. Then some days I wouldn’t even recognize who I was anymore, I felt so lost , confused and overwhelmed.

That’s when I knew that I had to break in order to rebuild. In the breaking I had to really question and seek those fearful anxious thoughts that were consuming me and I knew I had to address it. It’s never easy or comfortable sitting with your broken self knowing you have to face fears that feel very real to you. But I decided long ago that I would be an overcomer, a warrior no matter the season or circumstance and rise. I want my courage, my honesty, my faith in God to always speak loud and clear .Malakai and Mom

“The waves and wind still know His name”

In the darkest of storms and seasons, one thing will always remain true for me and that is that God is my anchor. He holds me, He guides me, He lovingly walks me through the toughest of trials, and He leads me to victory. Every day is a new day, every day is a chance to take steps closer towards overcoming this, and that is what I intend on doing. Every fearful anxious thought I fight back with faith. My faith and hope in God will never waver. If anything it encourages me to be courageous and to fight every day until I get my breakthrough in this area. I find great comfort in truly knowing that in my brokenness and weakness I can be strong in God. I can lean into Him, I can rest in Him, I can let Him birth something new inside of my heart, something beautiful.

This wasn’t easy to write, as I didn’t want it to sound like “shame poor Cass”. But I knew through writing it out and by me being open, real, honest about it all that it would not only help me find healing and restoration but that it would encourage others who are going through similar seasons. I find that as a writer, as an encourager, that with me pouring my heart out with all sincerity that our hope would rise together as we walk through this victoriously!

That is my hope, that is my prayer for all of us going through similar seasons.sunsets

6 Comments

  1. Leigh August 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Gorgeous one, your words are so beautifully honest and transparent. I feel you on everything you have have expressed here. I deal with heightened anxiety on all levels. Sometimes its controlled but it always comes around eventually. Its hard to get through those times, but we learn to trust God and read our situations better. Mine attacks were brought on by two highjacking and then my body went into shock. Since then i haven’t been able to process things properly when things get intense, hard, complicated or even a little hectic. I go though stages of being fine, then BAM it creeps up on you like a snake. Thank you for your honesty and just being so lovely. You need to remember that you can rely on others – you don’t always have to be the one holding everybody else shit together 🙂 But i love you even more for your openness and eagerness to share. Im so inspired by you xxxx

    Reply
  2. Ayesha August 8, 2016 at 6:46 am

    It takes courage to open up and actually put into words your emotions. More so when it requires defining something which makes you vulnerable. My circumstances are not the same, but very similar. I have a child with special needs and it feels like you have pretty much taken a peek into my heart and mind, putting into words what I’ve struggled to express and explain. Thank you for this. And together with hope we will rise victoriously.

    Reply
  3. Jamie Lee August 8, 2016 at 7:54 am

    You are so brave ❤️ To be brave doesn’t mean that there is no fear, but that you choose to go forward anyway! You are inspirational ?

    Reply
  4. Margaret August 8, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Beautifully written.
    ‘No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.’ – Romans 8:37
    I also suffered from anxiety, including depression and toxic thinking. I read ‘Switch on your Brain’ by Dr. Caroline Leaf and I do the brain detox that is included in this book every day. Science and the Word of God changed my life.
    Hope this finds you well.

    Reply
  5. Kathy Stewart August 10, 2016 at 8:54 am

    I am very proud of you. You know what to do, and the first step is acknowledgement. Confront it.
    Realise it has no place, no purpose, and no rights in your life.
    Fight back with the Word of God, and apply very practical behaviours in order to bring this totally irrational phobia to a manageable, non victorious, non-entity in your life.
    Yes, there will be waves of anxiety trying to sweep you away. They don’t entirely give up trying to gain the upper hand.
    You become very smart at recognising them sneaking up on you, but you will be armed with greater strength. With active steps to follow, and The Word to be claimed out loud!
    Anxiety will never define you – you have exposed this ugly beast, and now it will have no choice but to hide away in fear of YOU and our God.
    (Says the proud Victor of a been there, slain it lifelong badge. And tattoo. This is why I have a dragon tattoo. It’s a symbol for me to remember that I am a dragonslayer, and warrior princess, a daughter of a King. A Saviour who is with us when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. We fear no evil, because He is WITH us all the time. Even when we do not feel it, believe me, God is right next to us.
    And Cassan: enjoy the relaxing green pasture periods too, and the quiet waters.. There is a reason for them.
    God is restoring your soul.
    Embrace the quiet times. The quiet season.
    A time for everything, and everything in its time.
    You are fearfully and wonderfully made, daughter of The King!

    Reply
  6. Kim August 24, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Hi Cass, thanks for making yourself vulnerable and writing this – in speaking out, it helps a bit to make the burden just a little lighter. I suffer from anxiety as well to the point where I’ve described it as “living a half life”. Like you, I’m hellbent on no longer allowing anxiety and social anxiety to steer my life. I’m not sure what you’ve tried to facilitate your healing from anxiety, but if it may help you Id like to share with you what I’ve been doing and what I’ve been finding helpful; perhaps it may benefit you or someone else reading this? It’s been a very long and confusing road but I’m finally starting to make sense of it and move forward, which is exciting!
    I’ve been seeing a therapist but have also found help in supportive friendships with others who understand or suffer from anxiety, have been practicing basic mindfulness and breathing techniques through meditation and prayer – I use an app called Headspace and it teaches the basics of being present and calming the mind which I’ve found to be incredibly helpful most of the time. I’ve also got a practical workbook called Rewire your anxious brain where it very simply teaches the pathways of anxiety, one is cortical and the other originates in the amygdala. There are practical little exercises to do as you work through the book and the knowledge gained has helped me to tackle anxiety with more peace due to understanding. Exercise has also helped me to a degree. Lastly, I journal when I become too overwhelmed to think straight and that helps immensely. The best work for me though has come from seeing a clinical psychologist on a weekly basis, having that support network and prayer and meditation (being mindful). I understand however that the worst anxiety comes from those external factors we can’t control and so my heart goes out to you and I keep you in my prayers with regards to your son – a very scary experience indeed and as I understand he will need to go for further imaging at a later stage? I pray the Lord wraps you and your family up in His love and comfort and fills you with such inner peace regarding all of this and that you will draw ever closer to Him and move into a deeper understanding of Him and His Love.
    I want to commend you again on writing this.
    Firstly, not for second did I feel it was heavy – too many people suffer from anxiety or depressive mood disorders to some degree and I appreciate you being open as I am sure so many can benefit from seeing this really is a thing. For many.
    Secondly, by speaking up whether here or to friends never makes you a Debbie Downer 😀 I felt that way too but since I’ve opened up to friends, friendships have grown so much stronger and I’ve never felt as loved, understood and supported as I do now. And I laugh so much more now that I feel unburdened by my burden yet none of my friends felt burdened when I’ve had a breakdown. It’s been the most freeing thing to be open and I feel light and happy.
    Cass, thank you xx with your determination and faith you will work through this. Keep on sharing here and with your friends. I appreciate your openness immensely!

    Reply

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