Did you know that 12 million women in the United States are struggling with anxiety?
In our population of males and females, 18.1% struggle with it, but only 36.9% get treatment.
Of those diagnosed, half of them will also battle depression.
This is a huge deal because both of these mental health conditions affect the quality of life, relationships, health, and joy.
Our society is made up of many defeated, discouraged men and women walking around. These individuals also extend into the church, where many times, they aren’t given much help either.
Living with Anxiety as a Mom
How many of these are mothers, trying to take care of themselves while simultaneously caring for little ones?
This is a hard and life-consuming road; I can say this because I’ve been there.
From my journal in April of 2015,
I am frustrated with my anxiety and dizziness. I’ve endured this for so long. I want to live in a way that I’m confident in myself. I want to be able to do the things I enjoy: being out and about, driving and attending church and other functions. So much of life has been taken from me. The ease of life is gone.
You’ve given me these five kids and I need the ability to care for them, drive them and take them places.
Trying to run this race,
Putting Weight in the Lies I Believed
My thoughts were focused on these lies:
You’re the only mom dealing with this.
You’re a bad mom.
You’ll never be better.
The guilt and shame surrounding this trial were almost unbearable. Many days I thought it would be better if I wasn’t here. I didn’t think I’d ever be rid of the pain and suffering
Friend, if you’re right here in the middle of this, I want to offer you some encouragement!
God Can Use Your Anxiety
- God can use these conditions to draw you closer to Him (Hebrews 4:16).
- He is in control, you aren’t battling this alone and this (Joshua 1:9).
- God will use even this if you let Him (Philippians 1:6).
- You are not the lies you’ve been listening to. You are worthy, loved and so significant that God sent His son for you (John 3:16).
- God uses our sorrow over this situation to bring us to humble ourselves before Him (2 Corinthians 7:10).
- God makes us victors (Romans 8:37-39).
- We can endure and persevere through this (Philippians 4:13).
How Can We Thrive as Anxious Moms
Making daily time in God’s word a permanent addition to our days.
We can’t flow from the Well if we aren’t receiving His nourishing Words. Even if we feel like, in our current time, we aren’t making any progress in faith, and it feels like it’s going in one ear and out the other, His word works deep within making changes and transformation when we don’t think it’s doing anything.God’s words help us combat lies and mistruths fed to us by the enemy. The Truth also gives us a perspective shift during our suffering.
This is often a neglected activity as mothers, but it’s vitally important especially when we’re dealing with anxiety/depression. This includes getting rest, exercising, and doing things we enjoy. Taking time for ourselves isn’t selfish, but rather makes us better moms able to handle the calling God has appointed us to.
Ask for help when we need it.
God didn’t make us super moms, He made us reliant on others. We can’t be a mom in a vacuum, and in certain seasons, we need an extra hand. This could include getting a babysitter, swapping childcare with a friend, eating quick meals, or even hiring a housecleaner for a period of time.
Seeking out professional help for therapy or medication.
I know this is a “hot button” issue among Christians where “if we have faith we shouldn’t need this,” but unless you’ve walked in the shoes of mental illness, please don’t be so quick to judge. Only the person suffering knows their breaking point. God has given us the blessing of psychology and medication, and if this enables us to enjoy and thrive in life, by all means, it’s a gift from our Father.
Taking medication during the most intense periods doesn’t mean you aren’t faith-filled, nor does it mean you will be on the medication for life. God wants us to fulfill our purpose and calling, and if it means getting extra help to keep us motivated, then let’s view it as a gift. We wouldn’t withhold medication from a diabetic.
Manage your anxiety.
Some of the things I’ve found the most helpful in managing my own anxiety journey are journal prompts, specific anxiety-based workbooks, and Bible verse cards. Getting my thoughts and feelings on paper helps ease the anxiety and filling myself with God’s word always brings a peace I can’t explain. This peace is longer-lasting than anything else I’ve tried.
Getting yourself into a small group, church, or among friends.
This one can be hard when all you want to do is stay within the confines of your home, but being with other believers is life-giving and gives a needed distraction.
In order to thrive in motherhood when you’re dealing with mental illness requires intentionality. God is working on us, but we need to do some of the work ourselves.
When we view our struggle as something God will use, it gives us the extra push to keep going even in the hardest moments.
(1 John 5:4, NLT).
4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
Here are some links to my Biblically-based anxiety resources or products to help manage and live victoriously with anxiety.