Overcoming Fear and Anxiety
Susie O'Neal has a master's degree in psychology and was a psychology professor for nearly 10 years. She has helped many of her students who were dealing with anxiety and panic attacks get the help that they needed to live a healthy, normal life. She has now dedicated her life to spreading the truth of God's Word and to encourage others with the love of Jesus. She is the founder of Between the Gardens, LLC; an online evangelistic ministry. Between the Gardens posts a daily devotional on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Her weekly blog and faith-based merchandise store are found here on this website, susieoneal.co
When I first noticed I was having symptoms, I wasn't really sure what was happening. Strange things started occurring, especially during the night. I would be asleep and then I would suddenly awaken with a multitude of physical symptoms:
feeling like the walls were closing in
feeling like I had to get out of the room
feeling like I was going to die
When I wasn't having what I now know to be panic attacks, I would experience nervousness and dread almost all the time. Even when things were good and calm and life was not stressful, my mind and my body was betraying me. I had trouble sleeping; couldn't turn off my mind. My thoughts would race like horses going around the track and never reaching the finish line.
I had gone back to college when I was thirty-five to obtain my bachelor's and my master's degree. It wasn't long after I started back to school full-time that my symptoms began. I knew I was doing a lot; going to school full-time, taking care of everything at home, trying to be a loving wife, a good friend, keep my obligations at church, and be a mom to two daughters who were 8 and 5. Apparently, I wasn't doing as good of a job as I thought at managing all of it.
As things slowly began to unravel, and I could no longer keep what was happening to me a secret and I revealed to my husband what was going on. He didn't know much about anxiety and so he was sympathetic, but I felt like he believed it was an easy solution of mind -over- matter. "Just relax," he would say as he rubbed my shoulders. "I'll try and help out more around the house so you don't feel so stressed. You'll be ok." he added with a kiss on the forehead.
But, he didn't understand what I was going through. I'm not sure that anyone really understands unless they have lived it themselves. I finally got the courage to see my family doctor. It was then that I got an official diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. He prescribed me an anti-depressant and recommended that I see a psychologist for some cognitive behavioral therapy.
Both of which helped me tremendously.
As helpful as my doctor was in getting me on the right track to feeling more like myself again, the best thing that he did for me was to reassure me that I was not alone, that there were many people who were dealing with the same issues. And, most importantly, he told me that there was no reason for me to feel ashamed or embarrassed about my condition. I had a real chemical imbalance and needed medication and help to deal with it.
As wonderful as the medication and the therapy were, there was one more piece of the puzzle that I found helped me immensely and that was turning to the Word of God. For that to work, there were a few things that I needed to accept and change:
I had to believe that God's Word is true
I had to remember that He is a loving Father
I had to confess that I couldn't handle this problem on my own
I had to see Him as my Jehovah Rapha—the Lord Who Heals
I had to change my thought patterns
I had to change the way I spoke about myself and my situations
There are many scriptures in the Bible that deal with the subject of fear and anxiety. I am giving you seven of them; one for each day of the week. This is one of the strategies that I used when I was in the midst of the anxiety nightmare. I would pick a scripture and I would recite it every day, multiple times a day. I would highlight it in my Bible, I would write it down in my journal, and I would write it on sticky notes and put the sticky notes in places where I spent a lot of time—on my bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, in my car, as many places as I could.
Then, the next week, I would do the same thing for a different scripture. There was something about the constant repetition of speaking it, writing it down, and seeing it everywhere that made those verses come alive for me in a way they never had before. You can use any strategy that works for you.
I openly share my story because I know that there are people who are going through what I went through. You may be confused as to what is happening, or you may know what is happening but you don't know how to fix it. See a doctor, get medication, get therapy if you need it, and trust the Lord who loves you and cares for you.
He wants you to be healed.
7 Scriptures to Overcome Fear and Anxiety
Psalm 56:3: "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."
2 Timothy 1:7: "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
1 Peter 5:6-7: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Psalm 4:8: "In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."
Philippians 4: 6-7: " Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Isaiah 41:10: "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Joshua 1: 9: " Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go."
I pray you find peace in the holy Word of God. You are never alone.
All scriptures are from the English Standard Version
All photos are courtesy of Unsplash.com