Keeping a journal has definitely helped me in coping with anxiety. One of my favorite things to do is to draw a big line down the middle of the page.
On the left side of the page, I let my fears and anxiety do the talking. I write down all my worries and feelings about a dreaded situation.
Then I say a prayer.
On the right side of the page, I answer my fear and anxiety the way I think God would talk to a little child.
This brings me great relief, and can really help me get a better perspective on how I can approach a situation. Here is one of my journal entries word for word from 5 years ago. I had recently moved to a new house and my anxiety was at full tilt:
I was just invited to a neighbor’s house across the street next week for bagels and coffee. I was and am freaked. I don’t know what I’ll say. I’m scared I’ll have a panic attack. I haven’t done anything like this socially in years. Maybe I won’t even go. It just brings out my low self esteem issues: I don’t have any friends and I don’t know how to relate. I see my next door neighbor, she is so friendly and outgoing. Why can’t I be like that???
This get together is not even a big deal and yet I’m obsessing over it. I’m scared. I think I’ll be exposed as having no friends and being weird.
I feel ashamed that I’m so shy and my life is without any social aspects outside of work. I feels like I’d have a panic attack. And what if the other girls were all snotty and sizing me up?
I feel like a big, awkward loner. I wish very much I were more outgoing. I wish I could shine on the outside like I used to feel years ago.
I used to feel pretty, confident and sociable. That’s before I had panic disorder and then needed alcohol.
My husband said to just make an excuse. But I know I can’t or I’ll feel like the biggest failure. I don’t know what to do. Lord, I don’t know what to do. Please help me. Love, Jill
My Answer on the Right Side of the Page:
My Dearest Jill,
This will come to pass and you will survive it whether you go or not. I am with you always. Maybe the others there will be friendly and like you after all. I can tell that if you go, you’ll be very proud of yourself no matter what.
And it is so incidental. You are obsessing over such a little thing. Fear and faith cannot exist at the same time. So why don’t you let Me take care of you?
If you go, I will hold your hand the entire time. If you don’t go, you can let me comfort you. If you feel ok by then, you won’t even be feeling this way. Relax the best you can and enjoy your weekend. You deserve peace.
You are not any of the negative things you said. This is distorted thinking. You are a powerful, competent woman. You are smart and friendly and you are not ‘less than’ anyone, ever, not even someone who ‘appears’ to have it all together.
You were invited and it’s not a big deal. YOU are a big deal. Please try not to worry. I will take care of you. I love you. Love, God
~~~~ My Next Journal Entry~~~~
I WENT to the party!! I stayed 1 and 1/2 hours – actually closer to 2 hours. I had a fine time. I was fine. The hostess has a lot of friends and they all seem nice except for one girl. But I did it! Thank you God! I did fine! I am very proud and happy. And grateful! Love, Jill
Keeping a journal – getting your thoughts out on paper – can be tremendously helpful in coping with anxiety and dreaded situations. It definitely works for me!
The next time you are fearing a panic provoking event, jot all your thoughts down, get all your fears and frustrations out. Or write a letter to God like mine above, and see what happens. This will definitely help you in coping with anxiety.
I wish you peace,