As a Christian I tried to overcome this constant anxiety through singing praise and worship songs. When I sang I felt peaceful, but the nervous sensation rarely ever went away. I prayed and prayed that God would take away my restlessness and anxiety. I asked others to pray for me as well. I read Scripture and memorized Bible verses pertaining to anxiety. But despite everything I did, the anxiety would not go away. I knew that as a Christian this was not the way God wanted me to live.
In the Fall of 2015 my anxiety was so severe that the doctor ordered me to take a one month break. During this time all I could do was rest, read, and pray. A few weeks into the break I was sitting on the patio when I suddenly noticed that I felt peaceful. Even the restlessness had disappeared. In that moment of clarity I realized that a large part of my anxiety was due to stress. Looking back, I was totally blind to my crazy lifestyle. I was working long hours, finishing a Masters degree, and doing lots of volunteering. My schedule had practically no down time. Even the weekends were busy with many activities.
The anxiety center has coined a term for the type of anxiety and restlessness I experienced: Stress Response Hyperstimulation (http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-blog/10-signs-body-becoming-overly-stressed/). Other people might call this Burnout – when you’ve basically “burned out” your health due to constant stress and busyness.
Consequently I began to create breathing space in my overly scheduled life. I made it a priority to spend a few nights a week at home instead of volunteering or studying. I incorporated a Sabbath day, which is a complete day of rest into my week. It took almost a year for me to fully recover but today as long as I continue to balance my life with work and rest the severe anxiety that I used to experience is gone.
If you are suffering from unrelenting anxiety, like I was, there is hope for you! Even though there are many different factors that contribute to anxiety, Stress Response Hyperstimulation may be a factor that is affecting you more than you realized.
My Journey with Burnout
In the Spring of 2015 I began to experience constant anxiety and restlessness from the moment I woke up to the moment I fell asleep. It was the same type of anxiety I would get before writing a tough final exam. My stomach hurt all the time. My jaw ached from being clenched tight. Sometimes I even looked like Commissioner Dreyfus from the Pink Panther movies as my left eye twitched uncontrollably.
My constant anxiety and inability to relax made absolutely no sense to me.