Doubt and despair have so much in common. Where doubt produces fear, despair extinguishes hope. Self-doubt paves the way to depression with whispers: “You knew you couldn’t do it,” “You’ll never amount to anything” and “You’re a failure, you know.”
My faith is a counterbalance to the negatives going on in my head, and without it I might easily succumb.
Still, I need strategies to fight back against the darkness. Usually these amount to replacing the negative thoughts with positive, and reminding myself what God says that challenges the statements rolling around in my head.
Recently, I tried something new which might seem to contradict this approach. Rather than fight my anxiety straight on, I let it have it’s say and exposed it to the light of day.
Here is what I did.
I wrote at the top of a page in a notebook, “Things I am anxious about today,” then began a point form list of my worries and fears. Filling the page was easy. Afterwards, I sat back and looked at my assembled terrors and found that they looked less threatening. I felt a little lighter for the experience.
One of the things I discovered was that a number of my anxieties were contradictory. For instance, I wrote both “I am afraid that we won’t sell the house,” and “I’m afraid that we will sell the house.” I had myself covered either way. No matter what happened, I would be anxious about it!
By revealing the absurdity of my fears, I felt better able to deal with them. It all seems less serious somehow.
I thought at the time I might write in my “Anxiety Notebook” every day, or every week perhaps, but so far I haven’t felt the need to go back, and it has been about seven days or so. I imagine that I will feel the need to uncover my fears again before long though, so I am keeping that notebook handy.
Maybe something like that would help you too.