Now I Understand Anxiety

In Inspiration by Kristen Dalton Wolfe8 Comments

I used to think you could control anxiety through your thoughts. I used to think anxiety was worry. I thought anxiety only happened in your head. 

But now I understand it is not simply something you can control through an affirmation or a deep breath. 

Have you ever noticed that the Lord has a way of giving you compassion for the very thing that you judge or dismiss? At least that’s what He seems to do in my life. I sure hate it in the moment, but man is it better to be able to relate to others and understand their pain.

In June, I started experiencing waves of lightheadedness and dizzyness through the day. My sisters have experienced vertigo, so I naturally thought it was now my turn. But it wasn’t that. These waves happened for a week straight. On a Saturday, at the grocery store, it came on incredibly strong. I had to go sit out in the car. It scared me. I told Kris I wanted to go to the hospital because something wasn’t right. But then, I felt fine the rest of the day.

That next Tuesday, I decided to be brave and run some errands with my then 11 month old, Aurora. We were walking around GAP and I noticed I wasn’t feeling like myself. I felt lightheaded and hot, but I disregarded it and pressed on. Then, we pulled into our last stop to get some office supplies. As I was taking Aurora out of her carseat, I suddenly felt that feeling you get right before you are going to pass out. I saw black and white flashes and thought, “I’m going to drop my baby! What is she going to do if i pass out?” I quickly put Aurora back in her car seat.

I thought, “We are so close. I just have to make it home.” Then I noticed my left hand tingling and my arm lost sensation. It went up into my face. Aurora was crying and it felt like the car was closing in on me. I sat there waiting to turn left at the stop light and thought I was going to bust out of my skin. I thought I was having a stroke.

Miraculously, we made it home. I carried Aurora inside and collapsed on the floor. I gave her water and a bottle while I laid down shaking. I looked at my phone and our sitter had randomly texted me asking if she should come earlier. She was only 5 minutes away. None of my emergency contacts were available. I usually have too much pride to ask for help, but I felt like I was dying and knew I needed to get to the hospital. But I didn’t want to call an ambulance.

I called my friend, Spencer to ask if she could take me to the ER. Thankfully, she was minutes away. We rushed in and they admitted me right away on a stroke code. Suddenly a team of 8 nurses and a doctor surrounded me. It was incredibly frigthtening.

When all was said and done, I thankfully found out I didn’t have a stroke. I may have experienced a panic attack. 

“A panic attack???” I thought. I’d never had one. Don’t you have to be scared in order to have a panic attack?

My eyes opened in a new way after two months. I discovered panic attacks can come on with no warning. The culmination of sleepless nights as a new mother, a big “to do” list and the underlying pressure of my book release took its toll. I tried to do so much and hold it all together, but finally my body hit a breaking point. It sent off an alarm that day that I needed to chill out and figure out a new way of accomplishing my calling.

These symptoms have been scary and frustrating. They come on mid conversation or suddenly, while at a stop light. For a while, I closed myself off from social situations. At Aurora’s birthday, I was jittery and lightheaded  the whole time. In conversations, I felt like I could pass out. This was not me at all. I had to uber everywhere for a while and completely scale back on my work load which was annoying because who has time to relax?!

Interestingly, this all happens as I’m preparing for my book to launch. My book that I’ve worked on for three years! Have you noticed more opposition as you move closer to your purpose?

The word I got in prayer and reading the Word was, “Continue in your work. But continue from a place of rest.”

I’ve found myself asking the question, “How do I balance stewardship and rest?” 

I’m such an achiever, a go-getter. I don’t want to be lazy. But God has been teaching me a new way. And in the meantime, I had to scale back from writing articles, She is More emails, etc. and start learning to be present in moments with Aurora rather than having a two track mind.

I’m feeling much more like myself again. But I wanted to be honest and share with you all where I’ve been. Mompreneur life aka work-from-home-mom life is tough. But that’s a whole another article within itself.

So now I understand anxiety. I understand triggers. And I also have noticed that our society seems to breed it. It takes courage to decide not to be dictated my expectations and pressures. Every day, I try to choose peace over pressure.


  1. I needed this thank you. I love how you said we can still achieve our purpose but from a place of rest.

    1. Darling. You are truly a daughter of God. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. This same experience happened to me a year ago. It took me a while to get better and recently I’ve been back in shape, but now that I’m better I realized that slowly I’ve been pushing myself to the limit again. Then just these past few days I’ve been starting to feel exhausted, I started to feel those same warning signs. I was starting to forget the lesson I learned. Ive been having all of the same thoughts that you expressed. And now I can see.
      Yes God dose have a deferent plan for His daughters and His sons. He is saying
      “No dear this is the way.”
      Thank you sister for helping me on my journey. We are all together helping each other in spirit.
      God bless you .
      Love ~Emily

  2. Thank you for sharing this. Praying for peace for you, your family comes first but you need your own time too.

  3. As I read this at 3am suffering from major anxiety I truly find some
    Peace knowing that I’m closer to my calling. Seems like your anxiety is different than mine. I also started meds for anxiety about a month and a half ago. They are terrible !!! Please say a prayer for me. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Your story posted today is another reminder how life and our bodies are so very fragile.
    So glad you are feeling better and are on top of things now.
    Simplicity in life is best.
    You take care.

  5. Thank you for sharing your experience. As a grad student, I am consumed by expectations and deadlines, and the underlying stress that goes with trying to meet them. I have already learned through experience that stress and anxiety lead to an increased number of migraines for me. Your words on learning how to adjust one’s expectations for oneself and to slow down in the midst of the crazy are empowering and true. You can’t be your effective self unless you effectively take care of yourself.

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I saw you on Home & Family and could tell almost immediately that you are a fellow believer! Your words made the host tear up and me too. I am also a new mom and I often get light-headed too. I thought it might be dehydration but drinking more water didn’t help, and I never considered it could be anxiety, which makes sense. I will try to rest more!

  7. I agree! It really takes courage not to be dictated by pressures. Thanks for sharing your story and good luck on your journey! 🙂

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