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When My Self-Preservation Triggered an Anxiety Attack

So last week I had an anxiety attack. I'm not one to get these attacks often because I strive to approach life in a cool, calm and collected manner. I try to let a lot roll off of my shoulders. This time around I could not seem to get myself together. At work I couldn't focus and I couldn't stop crying. My eyes were bloodshot red and I was making myself physically sick. I had to leave early because I was barely productive.


I guess you're wondering what happened? Well, apparently it was something that I let build up. I didn't mean to, but sometimes you don't realize you have a big problem until it explodes in your face. That morning, my husband suggested that I develop the habit of making the bed every morning as it helps to start the day positively. Personally, I don't care for all that. As long as the bed and the comforter are there waiting for me when I'm ready to turn in for the night, I'm happy.


The surface reason for my anxiety attack was because lately my husband has been seeking and establishing new ways for us as a family to instill disciplines into our daily routines to increase our opportunities for success. We have toddlers now but the sooner they learn ... the better. All of that sounds great, right? And it is! So what's the problem?


To be honest, I'm not a very structured person. Yes, I'm mature, I'm responsible, I'm reliable. But if it's up to me, I'm more of a "go with the flow" type of person. I'm the type who would chill 4-5 hours straight but once that switch is flipped, I will work long hours into the middle of the night. I do have focus and passion, I just don't care to force it just because it's 8 am. If it starts at 1:30 am then let it come and I'll run with it until it wears off, no matter how long that takes.


At work I'm to clock in at a certain time, take my lunch break for a specified amount of time and clock out at a specific time. I hate it. I love my job, but I hate the restrictions. But we made an agreement: I follow their rules, they pay me for my time and work. So it's cool, whatever. However, when I get home - I see that as an opportunity to throw the restraints away and be free! I eat what I want, how I want and however long I want to! I go to bed when I want to, I chill when I want and grind when I want. Mostly all feelings based.


The reason why I didn't see this as a problem is because I'm mature enough to accept the consequences of my actions and non-actions. If I don't go to bed early enough and wake up too late to catch an epic sunrise with family or friends, then that's a consequence I have to be okay with. If I want to catch it the next time, then I'll go to bed earlier. I was perfectly fine with what happens as a result of my decisions.


So when my husband started suggesting all of these changes I was like "Whoa! So basically I follow rules at work and I have to come home and do it again? When can I just be me and enjoy life??" Now don't get me wrong, the path that he chose for us totally makes sense. But the big kid inside of me that made it this far in life is like, "Hold up now partner, I'm happy and comfortable. Don't mess this up for me!"


As these changes first started, I made efforts to comply. Mainly because I enjoy pleasing him and making his life easier. Secondly it's healthy for the children so they can understand that most of the time you have to do what you don't want to do to achieve the results that you desire. I get it, I promise I do. And if I'm being honest with myself, it's much harder to "do me" and produce fruit now that we have kids. They exhaust me and I couldn't grind in the middle of the night like I used to no matter how badly I wanted to. My energy is depleted and my focus is almost nonexistent.


The day I had my anxiety attack was the straw that broke the camel's back. Once he suggested making the bed every morning, I thought to myself, "I'm already trying to do these previous new things and now you're adding more to the list? WHEN WILL I EVER FIND TIME TO DO THINGS THE WAY THAT BRINGS ME HAPPINESS?" Between being a wife, a mother and a full time employee - I started to feel suffocated and trapped.


I didn't express this to my husband because I made a habit of bringing my concerns to God first. I know it's possible for me to cut people deeply and cripple them with my words and I never care to do that again, so I try to let the Holy Spirit change my perspective first. Most of the time I'm simply overreacting. I'd hate to say things I can't take back so I try to reel it in first to see if I do have a valid point worth bringing to the table. I didn't want to discourage him from making such positive moves.


That day I just couldn't get it together no matter how much I tried praying and listening to sermons. I started to feel weak and ultimately left work early. I linked up with my husband and ironically felt better in his presence. He was so sweet and caring - not yet knowing what truly caused this illness. After napping and eating I felt better, but I didn't feel ready to talk about this with him yet. So I prayed and meditated some more. I went to work the next day feeling like my old self. However, deep down I knew I had to bring this up with hubby because it was bound to happen again.


But God.


So like usual, at work, I started to listen to inspirational teaching. I came across a podcast (click the photo below for the link) by Tony Evans. The titles of the episodes related to taking back your spiritual authority. I thought they were about how to pray and declare what's yours. Nope - they were about submission. Wow, really? He even went as far as the roles of husbands and wives. If that wasn't God's way of encouraging me to settle in my husband's lead I don't know what was. Tony even mentioned that we had to die to self.


God then revealed to me the root cause of my anxiety. Logically, my husband's ways made sense. But because they were opposite of how I approached life, I feared that if I gave in to his ways, I'd lose myself. I feared becoming a Stepford Wife who didn't think for herself and who just said "yes, sir" til she died. I am full of ideas, spunk and vibrancy (depending on who I'm around, lol) and I worried that I'd lose it because I'm spending 24/7 doing what my masters tell me to do. Gotta please my husband, gotta keep the kids alive, gotta keep the paychecks coming. I thought my soul was slowly dying.


So God assured me that technically I am dying to self, but so that He can give me life. True life. I guess my ways just won't bring out the absolute best in me. I get comfortable easily. Once I find rest I tend to stay there. Blood, sweat and tears - for what? No thank you, I don't care to bleed, sweat or cry if I can avoid it. I'm good! But on the other hand I have the nerves to tell God that I want to fulfill my destiny. How could I if I refuse to change? If I refuse to grow? I don't know exactly how this will play out to fulfill my calling, but I do trust that it'll take discipline to get there.


So I am now dedicating more of my energy and efforts to serving; not as a mindless wife, but as a humble woman who understands that she has to sacrifice some of her old habits to become the best version of herself. And hubby was placed in my life to help show me the way - because Lord knows I wouldn't do this on my own or for any other person! I also carved out some time weekly to do something that brings me fulfillment so there's a healthy balance.


I'm excited about what blessings I will experience as a result of this.


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