Dealing with phobia&anxiety - prayer request


#1

Does anyone else here struggle with a legitimate (diagnosed) phobia and/or anxiety disorder? I am a (relatively ;)) normal person, but I have a phobia of vomiting (others, myself, anybody) that can send me into a tailspin of obsessive thoughts and panic attacks. When at it’s worst, it leaves me a weeping, useless heap of jelly, with my loved ones powerless and perplexed about how to help me. I take an anit-depressant/anti-anxiety medication, which helps me to cope a bit better, but I know the problem will never leave unil I successfully address it spiritually. I’ve gone to therapy (EMDR therapy, specifically, which is another thread altogether) and prayed and prayed and prayed about it, and also asked God to heal me of this. At this time of year, with flu bugs running amuck, I struggle with this the most. Flu season started early in these parts this year; my husband and one of my daughters have already had a stomach bug already. Anyway, I just wanted to know if anyone else out there struggles with a phobia or anxiety, and how they deal with it spiritually. In theory, abundant faith should cure any anxiety, right? At some point, some people do need help, though. Any input and/or prayers would be most appreciated!


#2

Dear Mummybee,
I was always a pinacle of strength, or so I thought. I traveled abroad alone; before I married I worked and supported myself and lived alone. All of a sudden two years ago I started having panic attacks. At first I thought I was dying and having heart attacks. I even went to the emergency room a couple of times.

They kept getting worse and more frequent. I started not sleeping and and being unable to eat. Finally I saw a psychiatrist who prescribed Zoloft. She also prescribed something else short-term, but I don’t remember what it was now since I don’t need to take it. I haven’t had a panic attack since.

I feel much better now, but I have gained a lot of weight from Zoloft. What is the therapy you are talking about? I would like to get off of this drug, but I don’t want to get panic attacks again because they were so terrible.

I don’t know about spiritually being able to get rid of panic and anxiety. I can see how having total trust in God and no fear about the future might help, but research has shown that panic and anxiety are also a genetic predisposition. It runs in families and women are much more likely to get it than men. If it is really a disease, than maybe only specific therapies and drugs can help.

Best wishes to you with your struggle. I can really empathize.


#3

I suffered from social anxiety, which really made a train wreck out of my life for a while. Eventually I recieved serious therapy (Cognitive-behavioral), and was able to achieve a somewhat better level of functioning.

But I discovered over several years that my anxiety would lessen significantly whenever I said the rosary regularly, and that I would relapse whenever I stopped saying it. I have been saying a rosary everyday for about a year now, and I have since been able to start college and live more independantly.

By the way - in cognitive-behavioral therapy, you work on correcting fallacious thoughts (such as "If I talk to someone, I will say something stupid) and replacing them with more accurate thoughts (“I might say something stupid, but nobody would really care anyway.”). In the behavioral part, you start to expose yourself to anxiety producing situations (like going to a movie or talking on the phone) so that you kind of start to build up a tolerance for the anxiety-producing situation.

Hope this helps
St3746


#4

I’ve heard of so many more people suffering from anxiety and depression. Why is that so? I know we have a few counselors on this forum, could you help us understand it all better? Thanks!


#5

Well, in my case, it’s triggered by a phobia. However, I did suffer from depression as a teenager, but it was the direct result of my father’s death (my mother had died when I was five, so I was ‘officially’ an orphan, hence the issues). My phobia is directly tied to an event I experienced while my father was dying. Even knowing that doesn’t solve the problem. Somehow, I had this notion for years that if I could trace it back to the source, once I faced it, I would be magically cured. Not so at all.

Anyway, imho, depression and anxiety (which is an extreme form of fear) both come from a fear of powerlessness. If that theory is correct, then an unshakable faith in God should solve it all. I can’t say that my faith is unshakable (I am a sinner, after all), so I can’t prove my theory.

On my way home last night, after witnessing a phobia trigger, as I prayed the rosary, it occurred to me that Mary, as she watched Jesus endure His passion, experienced the ultimate powerlessness. She had to rely on faith to make it through. She had to rely on such faith throughout her life. I wish I had one ounce of her faith.


#6

Mummybee, my psychiatrist says anybody who suffers panic and anxiety is also depressed–that they are intertwined. This was a shock to me because I didn’t realize that I was depressed.

I feel that having children and worrying about them–especially my son who had severed asthma and would turn blue and have to go to the hospital maybe triggered my anxiety. I also think the death of my mother whom I miss dearly, but still it makes no sense for me to be depressed. I am so blessed and have wonderful children and husband.

I am not sure if faith is enough if you really have depression.


#7

I completely agree that it comes from a feeling of powerlessness… I used to have panic attacks starting when I was a teenager (my sister died, there we alot of family problems after that). My sister died of cancer, she was sick for 2 years and made alot of friends w/cancer . Only 2 of those friends lived, some died before her most after her death. I went to many funerals of children and teenagers by the time I was 14.

I had a fear of dying, not just at that moment but ever. I would start thinking one day I’m going to wake up and be old, and my life will almost over. I also was born with heart problems so that made death even more real.

At around 17/ 18 years it was at it’s worse, my best friend and husband(boyfriend at the time) knew.but I never told my parents. They would never had understood. “You’re young, what do you have to worry about?” is what I would have got. I would hyperventilate, feel my heart pound, by body would tingle, my hands would shake. I learned to distract myself when I felt one coming on.

There’s something very unusual that made them stop. I went to a new cardiologist as an adult. (for a second opinion about having more children.) She explain my heart problems in detail. She I would probably live until I was at least 40 after that they didn’t know because I’m in the 1st generation of children that survived childhood with my condition.

You’d have thought that would have freaked me out. Instead that “black hole” of the unknown was gone. I guess it took away that powerless feeling away. The unknown was gone. Ofcourse I hope and pray that I will get a transplant that will extend my life so some day I will see my daughter get married, and hold my grandchildren. I think I’ve only had a couple times well I felt a mild panic coming on since then (about 6 years), and then I would pray.

My faith has deepened over these years as well, I’m sure that has helped as well. I couldn’t take those anxiety meds with my condition anyway, so I’m lucky.

I will keep you in my prayers.:gopray:


#8

Yes, I have dealt with anxiety. I took medication for it. The medication worked, but it was not without side effects. For instance I gained weight, I could not enjoy sex at all, and when I weaned off it I had dizziness and little shock like “ticks”.


#9

Mummybee,
I spent my whole life with a fear of vomiting (phobia), fear of fear, fear of people, fear of being alone, and many others too numerous to mention. Germs were a biggy w/ me too.

I have sought every kind of help possible… anywhere from support groups, psychological therapy, spiritual help, different kinds of medications, herbs…you name it and guess what… I have a genetic predisposition to anxiety and phobias, which usually result from anxiety to begin with…vicious circle. That said, I have had some “inner healings” and ”physical healings” from this most horrible condition. At one point in my life I literally could not go out of my home!

Today, I function at 85% and that’s pretty darned good from near 0…I attribute this to the Grace of God…

Though I still have some anxiety and probably always will…it keeps me humble…

I have found that trying to have a deeper prayer life, praying the Rosary frequently and “offering it up” have helped me tremendously. Hope this helps you.
God Bless,
Annunciata :slight_smile:


#10

All of you,
Those are some heavy crosses to bear.

I think a daily Rosary would add such grace to everyone’s life. I want my desire to do that to overcome my laziness.

I do think that faith can overcome all. God’s ability to work in our lives is only limited by us. But don’t be so quick to assume that a heavy cross left unlifted is due to our not having enough faith.

I read a book by Thomas Green, S.J.: Weeds Among the Wheat

One of the things it brought home to me was that of course it is inevitable that we have weaknesses and strengths, graces and burdens. But some of our weeds and some or our burdens God chooses to leave in place; to wait for our final purification.

And, like many have quoted (and I regretfully forget the original source): If everything was easy, we wouldn’t need faith.

Peace.


#11

[quote=shannon e]…
I read a book by Thomas Green, S.J.: Weeds Among the Wheat

One of the things it brought home to me was that of course it is inevitable that we have weaknesses and strengths, graces and burdens. But some of our weeds and some or our burdens God chooses to leave in place; to wait for our final purification.

And, like many have quoted (and I regretfully forget the original source): If everything was easy, we wouldn’t need faith.
.
[/quote]

Thanks Shannon…I heard about this book but didn’t know who the author was…thanks so much for posting and for your kind words.
God Bless,
Annunciata:)


#12

I also have anxiety disorder. It is helpful to view it from a spiritual perspective, to pray always and see it as a cross to be carried. But the problem is also physical and medication is usually needed to really control it. My life has been so much better, so much more normal once I found the right drug for anxiety. Also what has helped is that I finally accepted that this is a part of who I am, and I will always be like this to some extent. Everyone has their quirks, and this is mine. But this wouldn’t have been possible without the medication which turned my anxiety from a major cripple to an annoying habit. Hang in there and good luck!


#13

Hi,
I have Post traumatic stress disorder – related to a loss situation. It doesn’t always affect me in major ways. My most common problem is insomnia related to grief/stress. I couldn’t sleep a wink last night – insomnia or sleep disorders are a major symptom – and didn’t have a clue until I realized it was from writing Christmas cards.

I have been kind of thinking this holiday has been easier than usual. We did add a new son, Malachi, who is 4.5 yrs old to our family just before Thanksgiving and he is helping us to be busy in a good way and praying a lot more than usual :smiley:

I pray before the Blessed Sacrament. I love to pray the Rosary with a group of people at church. I am part of a Familia mother’s team and the support of these women is awesome. I also make frequent use of the Sacrament of Penance for the grace and spiritual guidance.

Then of course, I come here and post when I can.


#14

Thank you all for your supportive words. Knowing that you all are real people fighting the good fight along with me reminds me that it can indeed be done. I have returned to my previous habit of saying the rosary daily, as you all suggested. I know things will get better. Please continue to pray for me, and I will keep you all in my prayers, too. Thank you. :slight_smile:


#15

Oh yes, and for those of you who were curious about the EMDR therapy, here are some links. If anyone out there has used it or knows about it, I’d love to hear from you. I was only in it for a brief time.

emdr.com/

thoughtenergy.com/te/Howitworks.htm

Let’s all keep praying for each other! :gopray:

-mummybee


#16

[quote=Mummybee]Oh yes, and for those of you who were curious about the EMDR therapy, here are some links. If anyone out there has used it or knows about it, I’d love to hear from you. I was only in it for a brief time.

emdr.com/

thoughtenergy.com/te/Howitworks.htm

Let’s all keep praying for each other! :gopray:

-mummybee
[/quote]

Did you feel that EMDR was helpful?


#17

[quote=Annunciata]Did you feel that EMDR was helpful?
[/quote]

To be honest, I didn’t stick with it long enough to decide. I didn’t have a problem with the therapy, it was the therapist who sort of got on my nerves. He assured me that I would be only a short course of treatments before I was cured. I’m not sure how long that would have been, but I stuck with it for about 2 or 3 months. The problem is that spring came, I was getting over the fear a little (flu season was waning) and I wasn’t getting much feedback from him. I don’t know, but maybe that is part of the way the therapy is structured. IT’s supposed to be the best kind of treatment for post traumatic stress disorder, which is another name for what i have. I have a friend who went to EMDR for about a year, then re-located to another state and didn’t seek out a new therapist. She swore by it, and thought it was fantastic.


#18

[quote=Mummybee]Well, in my case, it’s triggered by a phobia. However, I did suffer from depression as a teenager, but it was the direct result of my father’s death (my mother had died when I was five, so I was ‘officially’ an orphan, hence the issues). My phobia is directly tied to an event I experienced while my father was dying. Even knowing that doesn’t solve the problem. Somehow, I had this notion for years that if I could trace it back to the source, once I faced it, I would be magically cured. Not so at all.
[/quote]

Whenever we endure trauma, we are wounded. It will show up in various ways, situational depression, phobias, addictions … etc. It’s good you are willing to face this. You were hurt when your mothered died, then when your dad died. BTW, I am so sorry for your loss.

Especially at such crucial times in your development. You really needed them.

I think your on the right track, except for the magic cureall. You should spend some time working and praying to know yourself and be known by God deeper. He can heal all wounds, and if your phobia is a symptom, then it makes sense that if you treat the cause the symptom will no longer be.

You said you keep thinking about the Blessd Mother during the crucifixion. Perhaps you are being called to meditate on this aspect of her life for a reason?


#19

Ana,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful insights and suggestions. What’s funny is that although I dealt with this phobia ever since I was a teenager, it didn’t become a debilitating problem until I had kids. It jarred yet another fear: the fear of being unable to care for them, and unintentionally abandoning them. As you can tell, that is cldearly related to the orphan issue. As you point out, there is plenty here for me to address. I will continue to meditate on Our Lady’s suffering. I’ve finally allowed myself to accept her as the mother i never had before, and I fling myself in to her arms.

Thank you again so much. The supportive feedback of kind souls such as yourself here at these boards gives me such joy and peace. Thanks so much.

:blessyou:


#20

I’m sorry for everyone who deals with phobias, panic and anxiety disorders…

I went to the hospital by ambulance one night…thought I was dying for sure. It is sooo embarassing. I was sewing and felt a huge feeling of unpleasantness well up in me and glunk!! My heart thudded sickingly and wam! It started beating so fast, I felt faint, turned white as a sheet and wanted to pass out. My kids were screaming, my parents called the ambulance and I’m running around saying, Ok I’ll need an aspirin…I ran and got one then I hurried to a flat hard surface and laid down while instructing my Mom on CPR…and ran and got my lipstick??? I can laugh about it all now but at the time I thought I was really gonna die!! I made the EMS lady even hold my hand. I’m sure her eyes were rolling so far back into her head!
I’ve had several since, knowing that they must be panic attacks. My Doc said I wasn’t the type to get them so he ordered all these tests and while in the flat coffin like MRI I had another one and they showed no sign of heart problems…
So, I try and exercise because I do have a T4-T3 conversion problem=Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome and I realized the cold weather makes me more suseptible to the attacks…
I have 5HTP over the counter at Wal-mart to raise my feel good chemicals…
I take True Calm by NOW (found at a health food store) which are a combo of crucial amino acids especially Taurine, GABA and others that calm you greatly.All natural is the way I chose to go.
I avoid chinese food (msg), and other freezer foods with it in there, and artificial sweetners and caffeine and alcohol.
At least I haven’t had a panic attack in over two months now. I do not miss them. The last one happened while driving with my sister and all our kids. She and I joke around so much-I told her I was having one and felt like getting out of the van-except she had a slight problem with me doing so since I was the one driving and we were at a stop light on a highway through town and no place to pull over. She helpfully suggested, “Maybe I should punch you. Would that help?” I bust out laughing and she hit me in on the side of my thigh muscle. She had to keep me laughing by wacking me until we got to our destination.
The reason I tell this is to share the fact that distraction and laughing seems to help me overcome them before they get out of hand.
Good luck to all on these problems.


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