I don’t like labels as much as the next person… the things that will define you as a person. I’m not going to stick on a label and say, “this is who I am”, and claim this over my life forever, especially if it’s a negative thing. BUT I do think labels have their time and place. When you are feeling so misunderstood because you seem to have it all together and are doing lots of good, but inside you are struggling, constantly overwhelmed, and falling apart – you need a label. Not so you can pity yourself or wallow in whatever the label may mean, but so that you can find answers. Learn how to cope. Help others understand. And know EXACTLY how to pray about it.
For me right now, that label is High-Functioning Anxiety. It’s something I learned about quite a while back and diagnosed myself with, kind of jokingly and didn’t give it much thought beyond that because at the time I was managing it well. It didn’t affect me too much then – I just noticed a pattern of similarities between my life and the list I had read. Now I’m reaching for that label. Not to stick it on my shirt and proclaim it about myself, but so that I can take a look at it and figure it out, be open about it, learn how I can manage it, pray about it, and overcome it.
It is so hard for me to admit that I struggle with anxiety. Not because I’m ashamed of it or because I think that it is a sin. No. It’s hard for me to admit that it’s a thing for me because I know that it is so much worse for other people, and in comparison, my anxiety seems like not such a big deal. From the outside, I look like I have it all together. For the most part – I am still tackling things, making progress in areas, and acheiving success in areas of my life. So to admit that I have anxiety, most people would look at me, roll their eyes, and say “No, you don’t.” And I would feel like a fool. That’s why the “High-functioning” part of the label makes such a difference and clarifies it for me.
Here are some steps I am taking to deal with my “Label”, but I think it might could work for many other labels of things you may be dealing with as well:
1. Do not wallow in self-pity. I’ll tell you there are days where my emotions are all out of whack, the lies in my head are louder than anything else, and I want to feel sorry for myself and curl up and hide. Author Jon Bloom writes, “Self-pity is a feeder sin, encouraging us to comfort our own poor selves with all manner of sinful indulgences like gossip, slander, gluttony, substance abuse, pornography, and binge entertainment, just to name a few.” Gosh, yes. How many times have I reached for the sweets and wanted to binge on Netflix when the days are hard? Recognize your feelings of self-pity, and ask God for help. Repent to God for the sin of your self-pity. Repent to those your self-pity has affected, often those closest to you.
2. Cling to and pray scriptures.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
A Sound Mind. Oh, how I want and crave this.
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27
“Your peace, Lord, I need your unshakeable peace. I receive your peace now.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for wellfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
I recognize that Satan has a very different plan for me and that he is working hard to debilitate me with this anxiety and cause me to hold it over myself so that I feel that I cannot move foward… forward towards the life that God has planned for me and my calling. So I’m choosing now to fight against the enemy, using my spiritual armor and my weapons… I’m taking my life back.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. John 10:27-29
“Yes, you are, Lord – greater than all. Thank you for holding me, for keeping me safe, and not letting any harmful thing get to me. Thank you for your protection over me. Help me to listen and hear Your Voice louder, louder than all the lies and voices of destruction in my head. Help me to follow You and not lose my way.”
3. Take a Mental Health Day. Sometimes we need to plan breaks for ourselves to recharge, refocus, and refresh. I did that last week, and it was amazing! It’s something I will definitely be planning to do more often now.
4. Get some help.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8
“Give me direction. Show me what action steps to take. If it is to seek counsel and get help, Lord, I will do it.”
Don’t keep it to yourself and continue to struggle. Be open about it with someone. Tell someone who will pray with you and help you find the help you need – a small group leader, your pastor, a Christian counselor or someone who will have the tools to help you cope and move past it.
Articles to Explain High-Functioning Anxiety:
*Please keep in mind that I didn’t write these so they may not use the same language that I would use, and they are not written from a Christian perspective.
Living with High Functioning and Hidden Anxiety
7 Signs Someone Has High-Functioning Anxiety
Loving Someone with High-Functioning Anxiety
More Scriptures for When I am Fealing Anxious:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19
I prayed to the Lord and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all of his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, whic his here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you – you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear?”. For the Pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly father know that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28-30
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13