Addicted to Anxiety – With Kat Papadakis

I’m addicted to anxiety!

Guess what?  I believe we all are! 

We’re addicted to the false sense of productivity it gives us. It’s rapid, unpromising feeling of accomplishment without results.

Growing up, I rarely (if ever), heard the word “anxiety.” 

Perhaps there was a different word for it back then and now it’s used recklessly, jokingly and sometimes even unknowingly to describe our current state.  I’m fascinated how our minds can be both a breeding ground for creativity and in the same space be completely disturbing. 

We are so conditioned to “negative” that we just sit in our personal hell of unfiltered thoughts, which then turn into dictating emotions.  We’ve all heard the phrase “what’s the WORST that could happen?”. If you ask someone with my temperament that question,(Supine), we are going DEEP! 

However not too long along I stumbled across my friend Megan’s Instagram, and her bio read “what’s the BEST that could happen?” That outlook radically transformed my thought filtering process. 

What’s the BEST that could happen?

Why have we been taught to only focus on the bad? On the “what if’s” and “worst case scenarios” of life.  When have we ever stopped to think about why do I think the way I think?

One of the many “Bill-isms” I love is “take your thoughts captive”, (it’s really a “God-ism”.) But taking our thoughts captive requires relentless obedience. Either you serve your thoughts or your thoughts serve you. “As a man thinks or believes in his heart, so he is.”

There’s a part of our brain that’s responsible for emotional reactions, the fight or flight mode in our minds. The challenge is that it sometimes cannot distinguish between real threats and perceived threats. So often the things we’re most anxious about are things that haven’t even happened yet. Temperament has a lot to do with our reactions and responses as well. If we are not aware, as in the Melancholy for example, we start to “try and come up with answers to problems we don’t have yet, and probably won’t.”

Additionally, we are fixated on maintaining the image that we are FINE.—(Fouled up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional). There are many people with challenges who feel isolation is the best option, so that they don’t burden others, but isolation can be the quickest road to depression.  As if dealing with anxiety isn’t enough, we are balancing managing this false self to maintain our ego. “I can handle it.”

The sweep it under the rug method just won’t work long term— no matter how much we want it to.  Just because we’re wearing physical masks, doesn’t mean we need to wear emotional ones. (And for many, we were wearing masks long before there was a pandemic.) 

As we absorb our pain without healing, we then inflict that same hurt and translate it into different areas of our lives.  (Hurt people hurt people.) The best thing we can do is ask questions, challenge our negative thought processes to think outside of those perceived threats and gradually push them out. But taking your thoughts captive is crucial. In addition, unresolved internal issues fuel our inability to navigate this discipline effectively.

We all have challenges, but our challenges don’t have to have us. 

Philippians 4:8, NIV: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about these things.”

God never promised a life without struggles or suffering, but he did promise we wouldn’t have to face them alone. Connection with God and His Word, and accountability with others provides some of what we need to conquer our “tail wagging the dog” thinking patterns.  We have the power to change the narrative, align our minds and hearts with God, and to be the co-authors of our life experiences. We need not be victims of life’s circumstances.

Thanks Kat! Always appreciate your candor and insights.

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