Social Anxiety in a Pandemic

I walked into the grocery store with a bare face. I felt everyone staring at me as I searched for other maskless people to make sure I wasn’t the only one. I was surprised at the relief I felt to be rid of my mask, but also self-conscious after being required to wear one for over a year. 

Being fully vaccinated and the mask mandate lifted, I am no longer required to wear a mask in most places. Freedom. There is nothing political in my viewpoint about masks. This is about my social anxiety disorder.

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Anxiety Triggers

I’m in it. My chest is caving in on my lungs. My head is spinning. Every time I close my eyes I see the gruesome sight and then my mind rushes into a fury of terror. My blood rushes hot through my body. My breathing becomes rapid. Then chills run down my arms like lizards running across sidewalks on a muggy Florida afternoon. It’s summer and I’m sitting here with a sweater on.

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What is a “Sunday Christian”?

In my testimony I use the term “Sunday Christians” when talking about my childhood. When my mom read that, she didn’t know what to think about it. Was this a negative thing? We ended up having a good discussion on how we grew up and evolved as a family in our spiritual growth. Do I think being a “Sunday Christian” is bad? No, I do not. Here’s how I see it.

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Created for Community

Jesus lived in community. He surrounded himself with the twelve disciples and many others, such as Lazerus, Mary and Martha, and Mary Magdalene, just to name a few that come to mind. Sure, he was their rabbi, their leader. But he needed them, too. They assisted him in his ministry (Luke 9:1-6). They gathered with him for the last supper (Luke 22:14). They were with him in the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed in distress (Matthew 36-38).

Jesus lived in community because God made us for community. He made us to bear one another’s burdens – to support one another in our trials and to restore each other when we falter (Galatians 6:1-10). He made us to serve Him through loving and supporting our neighbors (Matthew 22:37-40).

Part of loving one another is by walking alongside each other through the good times and bad. We need to surround ourselves with like minded individuals in order to walk this out.

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When Christian Leaders Sin

The church we used to attend has been through a lot. Several years ago there was a scandal after a pastor admitted to having an affair with another staff member. It was a difficult thing for this large church to navigate. It was plastered all over the news. A few months later that pastor committed suicide which, as you can imagine, made things worse. This is not the first time something like this has happened in a church and, sadly, it won’t be the last.

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The Medication Paradox

“Boing, boing, boing!” rings the alarm on my phone. 

“Mom, it’s time to take your meds!” my four-year-old exclaims.

That specific ringtone chosen as my medication reminder has forever ingrained in our minds the utter importance of my taking my medication. On time. Because we all know what happens if I don’t. 

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I Have Overcome

My legs were wobbling as I walked towards my vendor table. Due to the event my schedule was different that day and I had time between dropping my son off at school and my work event. I decided to go for a walk. The walk turned into a run. It had been a decade since I last went for a run. Why now?

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Self Image: Body, Mind & Spirit

Lithium. The most prescribed medication for Bipolar Disorder and yet it seemed to make things worse. My moods were still out of control. I was mean. I was severely lethargic to the point that I shouldn’t have been driving, but I was manic, so I did anyway. I gained weight and developed cystic acne. Why is a drug that is supposed to make me well again making me feel worse?

Then there’s my deeply scarred abdomen. I couldn’t think any worse about myself. And I pleaded the expected, “Why God?” And He was silent. Or at least I thought.

My body had failed me.
My mind had failed me.
My spirit had failed me.

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The Storm Within My Mind

The rains come down from heaven and
Purify my soul
But a storm builds within my mind and has
Nowhere to go

Encased in heavy armor that leaks but
Won’t give in
My encapsulated mind is entangled
With confusion

My mind battles against the Savior that
Lives within my soul

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Survival Mode

I walked down the stairs carrying my sleepy 21 month old son. My foot hit the tile at the bottom and all the synapses in my body rushed to compute what was happening. The cold wet puddle of water surrounding me triggered a moment of panic. I set my son on the couch and ran back upstairs for an armful of towels. I called my in-laws again. My mother-in-law came right over. The plumber was called. 

It was the Monday after Thanksgiving, 2018. I had just proudly served my first Thanksgiving dinner. I was living my dream as a stay-at-home mom while nannying. It was a good arrangement. My good friend and her husband lived 5 minutes away. He worked at our shop and I babysat the kids. My life was finally going in a good direction after my near death postpartum experience the year before. Things do get better. You will get through this. 

Oh my was I wrong.

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