What Do You Do When You are Anxious or Frightened?
Mid-Breakdown, my family and I journeyed on a road trip to the mountains. It was such a beautiful time of year and I was excited to show my kids a really cool side of God’s creation. We decided that we would visit the falls, outside Banff, AB, and it would take a bit of a hike to get there. What I didn’t realize about the falls was that I would have to cross over a very narrow, unstable wood and rope bridge with 5 children to get to it. Three of them ages 7, 5 & 3 and still very unstable on their feet. I hate heights, but this was uber high, unstable and hanging over fast, ice-cold waters and sharp rocks. There were also 100’s of tourists there that day, so not only did I have to cross this ridiculously insane bridge, I had to share it with crowds of people.
This was a pure mix of anxiety, panic disorder, a major heights phobia, a desperate need to control my children’s safety, and a dash of Harm OCD where I obsessed over and over again about throwing myself off the bridge. This was a yummy delicious recipe for an absolutely humiliating, public meltdown.
I did not handle the bridge.
We did turn around half way and call off the trip.
I did yell and cry over the crowds of people to get my husband to turn back.
I did grip my children’s hands until they turned white, their jackets till they tilted back, and their stomachs till they couldn’t’ breathe.
I did lose my mind – in public – on a bridge – in the middle of the mountains.
What did I do in that moment I felt afraid?
I totally surrendered to it and caused a mountainous scene, it was amazing!!
How I handled fear and anxiety then has changed so much to how I handle it now. Oh I thank God for all that He has shown me.
We All Cross Bridges.
We will all experience fear and anxious situations in the future if not in 10 mins from now. Just today my daughter rushed home from work with hives covering her whole body. She’s anaphylactic to peanuts so the ER for allergy attacks is a common threat. A few days before I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through this month financially. It is just the nature of living. Around every corner is a potential reason to be afraid, or to be anxious about the future.
As much as we wish we could control those circumstances, some of us try to avoid fear through avoidance (duh) and minimal living. The truth is, we can’t run faster than fear, because we live in a world of uncertainty BUT we do have some control over how we respond to our fears.
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How To Cross A Bridge Without Panic
If I were to cross that bridge again. I would make sure I crossed it the safest way possible, but I would instantly tell myself that there is another side to this bridge, that I would not be on it forever. I would take deep breaths and not look down, or you know what, maybe I would look down and take in the beauty instead of the threats. I would ask God to keep me safe and then trust in Him that He heard me. I would feel the fear and perhaps brace the edge of the rope a little tightly, but try to keep my thoughts on the adventure, and on the wonder in my kids eyes.
It breaks my heart that on that day I passed my fear of heights onto my middle son, something I work hard at “unteaching” him, through my example.
That’s the risk of handling fear wrong, it always hurts others. So let’s work at it today.
Where to Begin
A great exercise for you to do is to think about how you usually respond to fear.
Do you avoid?
Do you try to control it and in doing so control others?
Do you have full-blown tantrums like I did?
How can you change your response to how you feel?
What can you do differently?
What can you say to yourself that is different?
I’m going to present some of these questions in the forum so you can join in and share.
Be fearless, you’ve totally got this!
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