Topics dealing with mental health, grief, relationships and the sole reliance on trusting God.
All articles are written by Debra Pasquella.
Fear Is a Liar
Anxiety is a tricky animal, and comes in all species, whether it's through headaches, chest pain, rapid heart rate or hyperventilation, etc. It can come on suddenly, or in a torturous gradual incline. No matter what the symptom is, many people can develop what's called "health anxiety" (the non-PC term is hypochondria.) Some may develop agoraphobia---an avoidance of places like big supermarkets, crowds, or in some extreme cases, to even step foot out of their own home. If you think about what anxiety is, it's pretty silly, isn't it? I mean, what are we 'fearing?' What are we so afraid of? It literally doesn't make sense at all. And maybe I've watched too many court shows, but as Judge Judy would say, "If it doesn't make sense, then it's a LIE."
Fear Is a liar.
Zach Williams wrote a song called, "Fear Is a Liar." If you can't view the video below, please click here to view this on Youtube.
"Fear, he is a liar. He will take your breath, stop you in your steps. Fear he is a liar. He will rob your rest, steal your happiness. Cast your fear in the fire 'cause fear....he is a liar."
Why do we keep believing these lies? Everything we conjure up in our minds such as, "I'm gonna die of a heart attack," or when you're standing in a long line at the supermarket and think, "I'm gonna pass out if I don't get out of here!" Thing is, the things we think that will happen to us, usually don't. It's not to say to ignore health issues, but if you suffer with anxiety, to remember that fact, as well as to determine ways to know that you are safe. People like us, we have a frig'd up 'fight or flight' adrenaline rush, so we freak out as if things are actually happen, and there's nothing happening.
So if you have anxiety, especially health anxiety or agoraphobia, here are some things that have really helped me bring reality into the situation.
Think You're Having a Heart Attack?
If you are having chest pain and think you need to go to the ER, wait for a moment. Determine if it really is a heart attack first. An EMT explained to me that if you move your arms around, or twist your body around, where it recreates the pain in your chest, then it is muscle/skeletal only. It is not of any concern. Take some ibuprofen. Some people suffer from what's called "costochondritis" which is a really painful and scary symptom to have. Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage in the rib cage. The condition usually affects the cartilage where the upper ribs attach to the breastbone, or sternum, an area known as the costosternal joint or costosternal junction. Chest pain caused by costochondritis can range from mild to severe. There's also what's called "referred pain." This pain that stems from your chest, collar bone or shoulder can radiate down your arms, and if it happens to be the left arm, just know that the pain you are feeling is muscle skeletal. But if it is a dull, heavy pain in the middle of your chest that does not go away with movement or any method you use, then seek out medical attention. I know women can get different and subtle symptoms, like heartburn and a pain in the middle of the back or sore arms, but these things are so fleeting and rare, that it can mess with your head. If you're that concerned, have a full work up done, and when they tell you that your heart is strong and healthy, then know that your heartburn is from the burrito you had last night and the pain in your back is from being slumped over your computer for 8+ hours.
Are You Afraid to Get Out of the House or Go Shopping at the Grocery Store?
This advice was given to me by a seminar speaker regarding anxiety. Where do you think the most "dangerous" place to be is? What place will hide the fact that you need medical attention if you can reach out for it? ...Your own home. Now, I'm not trying to freak people out about staying home alone, but it's a fact that you are much safer out there in the world than you are in your own home. If you are in the grocery store and need medical attention, people will call for help in an instant. If you're in traffic and need help, pull over. You have people all around you. So, we should adapt to this mindset that it's much safer in a grocery store than it is at home. This is what helped me when I had a case of agoraphobia. Another helpful thing was CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.) I was taught to drive down my road and back home again. If nothing bad happened, then drive a little further. Go to the gas station and get a few dollars worth of gas just to challenge yourself. Play some of your favorite music while you're driving too. Always know, you can always turn around and go back. Keep telling yourself that. Visualize yourself succeeding and enjoying your time out there in the world. Even if you're like me, work from home and a bit of a homebody, you won't have fear to make it out to the store if you need to. You won't decline innovations to parties because you feel "unsafe." It changed my life.
Advice From Someone Who Also Still Suffers With Anxiety is the Best Advice
Why? Because it comes from a genuine empathetic heart. It comes from trial and error. It comes from someone who can truly understand what you're going through, instead of flipping through some psychology text book. It's like an AA director who never touched alcohol in their life. They can't understand as well as somebody who has been there. I've gotten so much advice regarding my anxiety and how to cope with the symptoms. I remember being rushed to the ER, and after the tests were completed, my nurse said to me, "I get them all the time too. Even though focusing on your breathing and trying to ground yourself is all well and fine, try distraction too. Start cooking or doing one of your hobbies you enjoy. Make yourself busy so that your mind forgets the negative chatter." It truly works most of the time, but when the panic attack is really bad, I have to sit and start grounding myself, using meditative soothing music or guided meditations from a Youtube video. Nonetheless, distraction is another great way to forget about the lies going on in your mind.
My Go-To Remedy: GOD
When I wake up with a heart rate of 150 bpm and I can't seem to catch a breath, I turn to God. I talk to Him about everything. Prayer and meditation has been a great tool to beat the agony of anxiety, depression and especially grief. Studies show that those who had faith in God were more likely to recover from losing a loved one than those who had little to no faith. The same goes with anxiety. As soon as I start praying, maybe saying a few biblical passages aloud, the atmosphere changes. When it seems like it's not working, don't give up. That's what the devil wants you to do. "Oh it's not working so I'm gonna just skip this step." Don't. Give it another chance. Calm your mind, take a deep breath and if all you can say is, "JESUS"---all of the heavens can hear you. I truly believe this. And there are going to be times when you just don't have it in you to pray, that's when the Holy Spirit intercedes. In Romans 8:26, it states, "And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words."
How beautiful is that?
Keep in mind that God sees our suffering, and He will help you if you have faith---if you *believe* it even before you pray for it. Don't think our God isn't a God of testing. He will test your faith, so be ready for it.
"Be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold---and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." ---1 Peter 1:6-7
I also want to thank some of my new readers for reaching out and letting me know how much my articles have helped them. This is why I write. I want you to know that you're not alone. If you ever need to reach out, please do not hesitate to contact me. My contact form is on the right side of this blog. I also can be reached at any of my social media sites: Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
I hope you feel better. Let's make today a GOOD day!