Don’t worry, be happy.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 

-Matthew 6:34 New International Version (NIV)

I found myself relying on this verse a lot recently. These days I am constantly stressed and anxious, and I have touched on it here.  It is interesting how much about myself I am realising the older I get. Everything I am experiencing now I was experiencing years back but did not realise at the time. For one, it took me a while to realise I was dealing with loneliness, or indeed that loneliness was something that one could “suffer” from. Now my new revelation is anxiety. A few years ago, while I understood being anxious, I did not truly understand anxiety as a disorder, and I might even have chuckled at the suggestion that anxiety was a real serious condition. I had moments back at university when I would wake up in the middle of the night, worried about an exam I had. But I never thought that it was a disorder, same way I never thought too deeply about loneliness.

I have just come off a couple months of intense stress and pressure which tested me to the max and led me to think this was more than just being anxious.  I googled anxiety symptoms and there is in fact a generalised anxiety disorder with symptoms that completely fit my profile. The heart palpitations, constant restlessness, fatigue, trouble sleeping for more than 6 hours (even on the weekends!) and the persistent feeling of unease as though there is something I have forgotten to do. As usual I just attributed these to stress, and perhaps cancer (everything is a carcinogen) but not anxiety because that is not a real thing. A friend of mine had gotten a doctor’s note for anxiety which gave her extra time in our exams, and suggested I do the same. I was going to but ended up not going, partly due to laziness, but mostly due to me feeling like a fraud-I don’t really have anxiety and the doctor will know that I am just doing it to get extra time in my exams. Then one day I woke up yet again at 4am, my heart thumping hard, unable to fall back asleep and riddled with worry over the forthcoming exams, I realised “damn it, I really do have an anxiety disorder”.

I still haven’t seen a doctor, mainly because I cannot get an appointment on the NHS, and also because I have been trying to manage myself.  To be honest, I am not sure what the doctor can do for me, especially as I won’t take any drugs. The first step is realising there is a problem, and I do feel better knowing there is a name for it.

The stress is drastically reduced for now,  which has greatly improved my mental and physical state. I may have to revisit the stress briefly in a few weeks when exams results come out, but for now I am taking it slow and not letting life get to me. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that things are rarely as deep as they seem. Relax, take it easy.

I am a big fan of quotes; I love finding words that relate to my situation. They help greatly in soothing me and making me feel better. This is a common theme of this blog, and I often post my favourite quotes. During these past exams, rather than looking at quotes from writers, I decided to turn to the bible (I always get more religious in exam season). As with most people with dormant religiosity, I only call on God in times of stress. Even though I feel guilty about it (are you agnostic or not?), I have come to realise it is not the worst thing. People turn to different coping mechanisms; be it drugs, cigarettes, sex, alcohol, food, religion etc. In the aftermath of the exams, I turned to prayer and worship which made me feel incredibly better. I really should have done that sooner, and maybe that would have helped me manage my stress better. Full time religious people may not look too kindly on flip flop Christians who only remember God in bad times, and rightly so. However for people who have been raised in religious homes, it is difficult to fully discard of it even when we no longer truly believe. I do believe it is possible to have doubts about religion (and even God) and still get a lot of comfort from religion (and God). This probably deserves its own post, but I have experienced a seismic shift and I am thankful for it.

The bible is chock-full of inspiring quotes that I often overlook in favour of quotes from prose and poetry. Chapter 6 of the book of Mathew covers worry, and I found it quite helpful. In addition to the verse above, other bible verses that helped are:

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Mathew 6:27

“The pain you are feeling does not compare to the joy that is coming” Romans 8:18

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”- Mathew 11:28

“When you have done everything you can do, that’s when God will step in and do what you can’t do”.- 2 Corinthians 12:10

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11

 

One thought on “Don’t worry, be happy.

  1. Pingback: Still worry. | Gobbledygook

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