In many ways, anxiety has served me well. It’s the energetic fuel in my tank. In my professional life, anxious energy drove me to do research for my undergrad thesis, complete my doctorate, and write a few books. At home, it keeps my house clean and gets my kids’ parties planned.
But as anyone who has felt the weight of anxiety knows, it has a dark side. Even at its best, it’s a bit like an annoying gnat—irritating and noticeable even if it doesn’t affect my life too much. At its worst, anxiety feels like being swarmed by locusts in one of the Old Testament plagues. It gets heavy and scary and overwhelming.
Several months ago I crashed. Everything about the day seemed typical. With a few final words of instruction to the babysitter, I jumped in the car, glanced at my phone to check the time, then let out a frustrated sigh because I was running behind. I turned on some quiet hymns and took a deep breath, waiting for my racing heart to slow down. But ...1