(Warning all writers and English comp majors/graduates: The following entry is over-punctuated to the extreme. Read at your own risk.)
I was diagnosed over a year ago with Generalized Anxiety Disorder...G.A.D. (Or as I like to call it in my head - "E-GADS, am I stressed!!!") What does this diagnosis mean? Hmmmm, how to put it....
EVERYTHING IN LIFE STRESSES ME OUT!!!!!
(Okay, calmer now...)
Seriously, though, when the doctor was going through the list of my symptoms, he began questioning me about my family history.
"Is there anyone in your family who suffers from anxiety?"
"Is there a history of nervousness in either your mother's or father's side of the family?"
Excuse me, didn't you hear me mention that I'm Italian? Jeez...
"Do you look at small problems in life as things to lose it over?"
Does spilling a glass of milk on the carpet qualify? How about being 5 minutes late to church? When my kid forgets their lunch in the morning? Really? I'm not supposed to go nuts when these things happen? Oh, well, I guess the answer to your question is....
All of this time, I just thought everyone lived this way...honestly. That my being a Nervous Nellie (isn't that a better sounding title than "disorder"?) was a shared quality with all of humanity. To have my eyes opened to the fact that it is not a commonality was shocking.
Yesterday morning, my sister had a medical procedure and I was praying for her. The prayer went something like this: "God, thank You for holding my sister's hand during this procedure. Thank You for carrying her through it. Thank You for calming her nerves as she prepares to go in. Thank You for giving her the confidence and trust that she is in Your care and that You are in charge of this. Thank You for blessing her with good health." At the end of my prayer, I felt settled and peaceful...no nerves or anxiety whatsoever. Then I remembered back to the countless times I told someone, "I'll pray for you," only to go on my way and worry rather than pray. I had to chuckle to myself at the ridiculousness of the conversations there would have been if I had really been saying what I was doing:
"Cynthia, work is so stressful. I'm afraid that I'm going to lose my job."
..."Yikes, that sounds serious. I'll go home and worry for you!"
"Cynthia, my mom is going to have surgery next week."
..."Okay, I'll keep you and your family in my worries all week."
"Cynthia, my kid is really having a tough time at school."
..."Oh, I'm so sorry. I'll light a candle and make sure to worry for them throughout the day."
It sounds so silly when put this way - even comical. I think I'd like to write a comedy sketch about it. Essentially, however, all the years of my life, that's exactly what I was doing. And truly unbeknownst to me, I wasn't helping anybody. Not myself...not my family and friends...not those watching to see how a supposed "follower" would react. I was simply worrying...breaking out in hives...wringing my hands...and not trusting that through prayer, there would be peace. And through prayer, I would find help and solace for all of the lives I had the opportunity to touch.
Today, my 1st instinct is still to go into worry mode though the tendency becomes less pronounced with each passing day. But as soon as I talk myself off that mile-high ledge of angst, I step back and find God waiting for me, ever watchful and patient, ready to hear my prayers and help me and those around me with His blessed grace.
EGADS!!! Why didn't I figure this out sooner?!?