Problem with anxiety. Advice?


This is actually hard for me to write, because generally I don’t like to air my flaws. I was hoping maybe someone else here has experience with this and can give some advice.
My problem is I am riddled with anxiety. I have been my whole life. In my childhood, my mother was so unstable. She was on drugs, was very immoral, and we lived regulary with her different boyfriends that she met at the “dance club” where she worked. The state would take us away and put us with our father for awhile, which was great, but she always got us back by cleaning up for a while.
After college I became a paramedic, which only excerbated my problems. After three years, I got into a much better profession before marrying my husband and staying at home. I have two children thus far, a two year old and a five month old.
At night I can’t sleep. I am plagued by fears of being robbed and murdered. Two nights ago my son opned our bedroom door in the middle of the night, I bolted awake, convinced we were about to be killed, and screamed. I didn’t mean to, it was so automatic.
I see things in my imagination before they even happen. My son slipping out the door, running into the road, being hit, I running after him and picking up his limp body and screaming. I immediately squash these thoughts and try not to entertain them. If my husband is late from work, it isn’t due to traffic or a delay at work, it is because he was involved in a horrific car accident.
In fact,before we married, I told him I could not and woud not accept him swimming in ocean water or ever riding a motorcycle, as the mechinism of injury was too devasting. I don’t think, considering what I have seen, that I am being unreasonable. These things do happen. I am not too special as to it won’t be my family making national news for tragedy.
I try to surrender what I can to dear Christ on the Cross. But I am tired. I have not slept through the night in years. I am afraid this frequent release of adrenaline will have cardiovascular effects. I don’t know what to do about it. This anxiety is the result of years of psychological trauma, not psychogenic in itself. Would medication help? Is this abnormal?
I hope I covered everything. Sorry for the long post. I tried to nutshell it while maintaining the integrity of the situation.



Wendy-Kay, I have struggled with anxiety for years, since childhood, so I can relate to your post. My heart goes out to you since I know how debilitating it can be. I am not a professional, just a fellow-sufferer, so I won’t know the best thing for you. I can only tell you what has worked for me.

One thing is, getting so deep into your faith that no matter what happens in this world, you are at peace and assured that it is our eternal life that will bring us freedom and happiness. Also, you are suffering, and this suffering can be offered up as a sacrifice to God. There is much to be learned about suffering in our faith, and it is good to become familiar with the teachings.

I did use meds for awhile but for me personally it only led to more problems. I felt better, but my family missed me being me. It was kind of a numbing effect. But for you, it might be different. It is certainly something you could look into.

I have had some severe anxiety attacks and at the very worst part I have pleaded for God to help me. He always has.

Some practical things that help, finding some works of charity or mercy that you can do for someone else. Also doing some kind of creative activity helps tremendously. Scrapbooking, some sort of handiwork like knitting or sewing, these things could give you some relief, as they occupy your mind, and help to make your thoughts go in a good direction. There are books that can teach you how to do so many things. It seems like a simple notion, doing crafts, but think about it, as these things have helped me so much over the years.

Joining a Catholic scripture study could be a big help, too. You can learn so much about your faith and in turn be given so much hope. I know with a baby this could be difficult, maybe you could host a small group at your house? Contact your parish and see what is available and if they could help you design a study at your home with a few other women who have young children.

Read the Beatitudes over and over again. Look into their meaning. Who does Jesus say is going to be blessed? The ones who don’t ever suffer? The ones who have no problems?

God bless you and your family. I will be praying especially for you, and hope that you will soon have enough peace in your heart for a good night’s sleep. I know that many of us here will be praying for you.


I don’t know if I can help, but I come from an abuse/neglect childhood myself, and have had severe anxiety/PTSD trouble from it. Therapy can help…only so much. And medication can help…only a little as spot treatment, and it’s often overprescribed.

Mostly, you need friends, time, more living, time, and friends. There’s no cure, except the cure we all eventually get from living too long. :stuck_out_tongue: But in the meanwhile, we help each other the best we can.


Try taking a daily vitamin that include a 100% daily ration of Iodine. I read that it is used by your thyroid to regulate basically everything else in your body. Lose your worries in prayer.


Hi Wendy-Kay. Prayers for you. I have always struggled with mild anxiety, so I feel for you. I’ve been able to manage mine with self-talk, if that makes sense. Do you think any of your anxiety could possibly be magnified by post partum depression? I ask because I thought I read once that one of the symptoms of PPD was irrational fears, specifically seeing your children getting hurt. I’m far from an expert, but it may be something you want to bring up with your doctor. It’s a horrible thing to be kept up at night with worries, I’ve experienced that. I think you really should talk to your dr., maybe help is closer than you think.


Well it sounds like you have taken the first step - identified the problem. I think this can be fixed, but I think you need help! But I guess you probably know that.

A counselor would be good, but finding a good one is a project. Start with finding one who deals with anxiety.

I also suggest looking into healing ministries, one that heals the inner child.

I did this myself last summer, and it really worked! I have not shared this with many people at all. I did this because I just knew it needed to be done, and I was driven by an inner feeling of unrest until I went ahead and looked into it and made plans.

[Because this post is slightly too long, I will finish it in the next post]


[continued from previous post]

It started because I had recurring issues of anxiety and sadness that did not make sense, and I could not think these feelings away. Years ago I had read John and Paula Sanfords Healing the Inner Spirit and Transformation of the Inner Man. At the time, it was such a revelation, and I knew that someday I wanted to do this.

That was years ago. Now I had just finalized a divorce and was starting life anew as a single mother. I wanted all impediments out of my way to being the best person I could be for this huge task, and had been working on doing that.

Then at the beginning of the summer we had a family reunion, and although I was so glad to be with so many people I love, my enjoyment of them and our togetherness was dampened by a sudden coinciding surfacing of negative and anxious feelings. I was frustrated with myself for not being able to be fully and freely in the moment, as it was such a rare thing for us all to get together. That was the catalyst, that and other things in my life that made it seem as if God was pointing me in the direction of inner healing.

So I searched around on the internet. I think I found the Sanford’s website, and called there for recommendations of those trained in their healing. I had also looked first for strictly Catholic ones. They exist, but they were on the other side of the country. Also I wanted to go directly to the Sanfords, but they also are on the other side of the country. But the next best thing for me was finding, through them, a healing prayer counselor center in Canada, not too far from me, and they had one Catholic counselor they hooked me with.

I went and spent two days healing past memories. Then with a team of others, we spent a half a day healing my past generations.

I did a lot of thinking beforehand of whether or not I should do this, trying to intellectually discern if this was theologically correct. I could not find a solid yes’s or no’s to my question, and decided to just go with my intuition and inner direction, and so I forged on with the plans. I felt I was being urged on by God.

Money was tight but I felt this was important. I hunted around on the internet for a retreat place to stay at, to save money. I was able to find (nearby the city where the healing ministry was) a retreat community with miles of walking trails a tiny one-person place called “The Hermitage”. I was able to stay at for only about $30 a night! (I cooked my own meals in the kitchenette). So it was cheap, perfectly charming, and private! Here it is, isn’t it cute:

(see also the drawing in previous post)

So I set a date for later that summer when my son was to be away. It was really a fine adventure for me (I had never taken a trip by myself). The healing was thorough and exhausting. If I had planned better I would have booked a longer stay at my little hermitage a few more days so I could relax afterward. But it was too late to extend the stay by the time I realized I wanted that, so I had to get on the road and into traffic.

The fruit of it has been a strange lack of negative emotions around my family. My childhood wasn’t bad, or traumatic. In fact I have always considered it very stable. But there was some emotional neglect and invalidation. And the kind of attachment parenting I did with my son is not at all what my parents did with me. I was bottlefed and left alone a lot in my crib or playpen. Also my mother always said she had her hands full when we were all young and close in age and couldn’t give us the attention we needed. Things aren’t perfect for most of us growing up, and I have always accepted that my parents did the best they could and have been grateful for the stabilty they offered. But the inner child in me was hurt when my needs weren’t met, and I do believe that was the source of sadness and anxiety I would feel around my parents and brothers.

Now those feelings are gone, and its strange, because I had grown to just expect to inexplictedly feel that way around my family. I feel such a feedom to have that sadness and anxiety gone, and it feels as if I am in fresh clear water. I do not think any intellectuallizing or reasoniong could have done that. It was the healing prayers.

So I share that as an alternative to traditional counseling, which I have never found to be that effective. I’m sure it is for some.

I do know that when you have the anxiety problems you are encountering, you should not go it alone; there are those who understand and can help. If you are determined to get to the root of the problem, you will.


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