So I have an anxiety disorder and needless to say it is disrupting my faith-life. First of all I don’t know what to do about the disorder bc my parents don’t think I should see a doctor bc they don’t want me on medication. But I get these anxiety attacks so to speak in which I start crying uncontrollably and I just feel hopeless and helpless and it eventually leads to me doubting God. I wonder why when I call out to him in these times I still feel so alone and I ask Him to give me an answer and I hear nothing. I am tired of living this way and I have so many unanswered questions now about my faith that I did not have before. I have prayed and prayed but I just can’t seem to figure out what to do. Where do I turn?
How old are you? I presume you are still living at home?
I think it would be helpful to address the anxiety disorder first. I know how it can take over you mind and pevent you from focussing on God. [EDITED. See note below.]
Are you attending mass regularly, (during the week, too?) going to confession, praying before the Blessed Sacrament? There is great peace in these articles of our faith - pursue them. How about reading? There are so many wonderful books out there that will help uplift your faith. You need to occupy your mind during your anxiety attacks, distract yourself with something good and valuable, like reading or exercise. Long walks, communing with nature, etc.
God is not some vending machine, where we push a button and out comes what we ask for. We have to cooperate with His plan for our lives, and go where He leads us. And oftentimes we have to go out of our way to reach out to him and put ourself in a place where He can talk to us, step out in faith. Keep making an effort, your progress may be slow, but you will get there. And, most importantly, when you suffer during your attacks, be sure to offer up your suffering for the salvation of souls. Sometimes it is His will that we suffer and bear our crosses for the sake of others - try to get to that place where you willingly endure your sufferings for His sake. Your suffering does have meaning - that is actually one of the main lessons of Christianity - follow in His footsteps. You have a lot of company, most of it very good company. Seek out your fellow Christians, you need companionship. .
I am still living at home and I’m 16.
I do attend mass regularly. I would love to attend mass during the week but my schedule does not permit it and I can’t drive yet. I also try and go to confession regularly. Unfortunately I don’t get to visit the Blessed Sacrament quite often but I am trying to make an effort to get there.
Thank you for the list of natural remedies. My parents did want to get me some and so I will go to a health store with the list you gave me.
You mentioned books. Do you know any good Christian books I can read?
I just finished reading “Left to Tell” by Imaculee Ilibagiza, about her suviving the Rwandan Holocaust huddled in a bathroom for 3 months with seven women. Ohh, so powerful, you can’t imagine! If you think you’re suffering, try what she went through. I highly recommend it, could hardly put it down. Another good one I read recently is “The Promise: God’s Purpose and Plan for when Life Hurts” by Fr. Jonathan Morris. Mother Angelica’s biography by Raymond Arroyo is also very good. It’s called “Mother Angelica”. The next one Im going to read is “Spirituall Progress” by Fr. THomas D. Williams.
Finally, if you can find them, everyone should read the five volumes of “Poem of the Man God”, by Maria Valtorta. Some people say that you shouldn’t read them because they were on the banned book list at some point, but my understanding is that they were only on there for a while because they were initially published without crediting the author, and once they re-published them with the author identified, the Vatiacan took them off the list. Some of it can be a little hard to get through, because she tends to go off on these little rapturous soliloquies from time to time, but the story is phenomenal and ever so gripping. Maria Valtorta was a bedridden invalid who claimed that Jesus would come to her and show her his life story and asked her to write it all down. It fills in all the details left out of the gospels, and brings out His humanity, as well as the personalities of all the Apostles and other characters we’ve come to know. You feel like you’re right there with them, in the Holy Land, feeling their pain and angst, and laughing along with them in their adventures. I saw absolutely nothing that contradicted the Gospels. As a matter of fact, it filled in and explained so much, it brought the entirety of the Gospels to life and made it so much more meaningful. I especially loved Peter’s personality. He had quite the sense of humor, and was a rather curmudgeonly old soul. And the account of the crucifixion everyone should read for Lent.
Sorry to run on, but I love to read and hope you find some of these books as uplifting as I did. Just go to Amazon and browse their religious section. The reviews people write are very helpful in choosing a book.
There are some who have strong issues with Valtorta’s writings. There is a good site that addresses most of these concerns with links to supporting documentation. The site is dedicated to author / Shroud Researcher Brendan Whiting (past away from Leukemia in January 2009) who received criticism for supporting Valtorta’s writings (Jesus told Valtorta that the Shroud was authentic) which he said was his motivating force for proving the 1988 14th Century Radio Carbon date erroneous, which he managed to do convincingly in his 2006 book: “The Shroud Story”.
Several of Whiting’s colleagues turned on him for referencing Valtorta, one even writing condemnations and giving reproving speeches, even while he was dying of Leukemia. Shortly after his death, the main players in the Shroud community started coming to the conclusion that Whiting was actually right.
The main site is:
The parts addressing Valtorta’s writings are a few paragraphs in on the Critics page.
Catholic Weekly on Whiting: