Dealing with anxiety and depression
Mental Health

On being anxious and how to deal with it

3 min read

Originally, I had planned to sit down on Wednesday to write a post about my recent trip to London and give some tips for some low-budget activities and my favourite spots to visit. However, instead of thinking about all the fun and beautiful things about London, I was glued to my news app reading about the terrible tragedy that was unfolding at the Grenfell tower. In case the news did not reach where you are – a London tower block caught fire early Wednesday morning and the fire spread rapidly, trapping the people living in the higher up floors. At this point, there are still many people unaccounted for.

Too much empathy?

I am a very empathetic person and very sensitive. I never managed to watch the whole of titanic and I am unable to read reports about human trafficking. I just cannot take it. So, it really did not do me well watching eye witness reports about the fire and reading through person profiles of those who are still missing. My mind just spiralled downwards and I started feeling extremely depressed and anxious. I could not stop imagining what it must have felt like to be on the 17th floor with your children and loved ones. Or standing outside that building seeing friends and family die in front of you, unable to help.

It got to the point where I was near a panic attack and so I took a bath and tried to breathe deeply but the thing is – normally when I get anxious I can tell myself: “It really is not that bad. You can get through this.” But in this case – the suffering of those people is probably worse than I can imagine. I cannot ‘breathe it away’. I cannot rationalise it.

So, I called my husband and he prayed for me on the phone and reminded me that in all the suffering in the world God is still sovereign. I might not understand why things like this happen but He is good. Events like this do not change this truth, do not change the hope in which I live.

I want to be vulnerable and open with you

I know that normally I try to keep things more positive around here – I want to inspire and uplift you guys not pull you down. But I also want to be real. I want to share with you that I struggle and what I do to deal with the days that I cannot function because my mind is working against me.

Miraculously, I was able to fall asleep and get through the night without any nightmares. I woke up the next morning feeling calmer and slightly more upbeat. The thing is, every day is a new battle. Praying with my husband that night helped me so much but every day is a new challenge and new prayers are necessary. So again, I turn to God. I pray for the victims. I thank him for His goodness and the hope He gives.

And I want to turn to you guys. I am trying to figure out what a good balance is in terms of being informed what is happening in our world. I do not want to cut myself off and ignore the suffering of people around the globe but equally, I am of no use when I get so downtrodden and anxious that I can barely function. What do you guys do? I would appreciate any tips and insight from you guys’ experience.

For now, I will leave you with this quote by Timothy Keller:

“While other worldviews lead us to sit in the midst of life’s joys, foreseeing the coming sorrows, Christianity empowers its people to sit in the midst of this world’s sorrows, tasting the coming joy.” – Timothy Keller in Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

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  • Reply Sona Jain 19 June 2017 at 10:29 am

    I always try to meditate or do breathing exercises. It really helps to de-stress and become calmer. But sometimes you just cant help. 🙁

  • Reply freya farrington 19 June 2017 at 11:55 am

    Thank you or sharing! THE MORE PEOPLE TALK ABOUT ANXIETY, THE MORE IT HEALS. I found my best coping mechanism is to talk about it and just be frank and open especially with those you love so that if and when you do feel a slight attack coming, you can warn those around you how you are feeling

    • Reply Britta 20 June 2017 at 8:02 am

      Yes, you are right. It is not easy to talk about these things but it is so helpful!

  • Reply Amalia 19 June 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing, this a subject a lot of people don’t talk about it but I believe the more we talk about it, the better we can handle it!

    • Reply Britta 20 June 2017 at 8:01 am

      That is very true!

  • Reply Sheila Joy 19 June 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing this and being open and honest, Britta! The world we live in can be very overwhelming at times. I try to focus on the good in my life and practice gratitude every day, along with meditation.

    • Reply Britta 20 June 2017 at 8:01 am

      Thanks for your nice words, Sheila! ?

  • Reply MELANIE EDJOURIAN 19 June 2017 at 9:21 pm

    It was an awful thing to happen and I got very upset over it too. I think sometimes just talking about these things that make you anxious can help though.

    • Reply Britta 19 June 2017 at 10:21 pm

      So true, sharing makes such a difference.

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus 19 June 2017 at 10:57 pm

    It was so awful to hear that so many innocent deaths could have been prevented if their pleas were heard. It truly saddens me and breaks my heart that this is still happening in our modern society x

  • Reply Jana Carrero 20 June 2017 at 12:26 am

    Thank you for sharing your story with us! I know what you mean about wanting to uplift and inspire, while also wanting to be real. It’s totally ok to open up and ask for help! I def recommend the Headspace app for mindfulness exercise. Very low-key easy meditation for all levels that’s relaxing, calming, and super helpful.

  • Reply Nicole Anderson 20 June 2017 at 1:39 am

    In the face of so much tragedy that occurs in the world, it is sometimes hard not to be personally affected through the empathy you feel. We are only human after all. All we can do is to express our feelings and listen and support one another and of course turn to the faith you believe in. It is great that you are good at sharing as this is part of overcoming such significant and terrible events.

  • Reply chei 20 June 2017 at 8:21 am

    Thank you for this article. I have this anxiety disorder, so I think next time I would be talking about it and hope to feel better.

  • Reply Rhian Westbury 20 June 2017 at 10:12 am

    I find a relaxing bath and having an early night do help with my anxieties but it’s tough at the moment with so many horrific things going on in the world x

  • Reply Samantha Carraro 20 June 2017 at 5:14 pm

    I always think it’s a great thing sharing posts on anxiety, health, bullying and other personal problems because there might be people with the same problems but without the courage to share their story and seek comfort in other people. So thank you for sharing! I’ve dealt with anxiety only a couple of times but I found that painting, reading, watching a movie or something else that relaxes me and distracts my mind from my problems really helps.

  • Reply Angela Milnes 20 June 2017 at 11:13 pm

    praying can really help especially when you feel stressed and anxious. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Reply Elizabeth O 21 June 2017 at 12:21 am

    Britta, like you, I was deeply disturbed by what happened. I was born in Kensington, London and grew up knowing the area quite well. I shut down. I cried a lot. I was angry and then I prayed. We need to heal ourselves too and if that means cutting back on the news, do so. I do until I’m pulled in to another horrific story… It all saddens me and I guess we must allow ourselves to grieve the way we know best; there is no right or wrong way. I can’t even write about it as the pain and anger are too deep. <3

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