Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorder in the United States. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 40 million Americans over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety — roughly 18 percent of the nation’s population. Of those 40 million people, 15 million suffering from social anxiety disorder, 14.8 million suffering from major depressive disorder, and 7.7 million affected by post-traumatic stress disorder.
I am one of those sufferers. I have battled anxiety for many years and it continued to worsen as I got older, became a mother, and suffered multiple miscarriages. As a mother you want the absolute best for your child. To shield them from hurt and sadness. Protect them from the evils of this world. If only I could keep her in a protective bubble then everything would be perfect! But, I can’t. When N was a baby I remember laying in bed at night wondering if she was still breathing. SIDS was such a fear of mine that I didn’t sleep for almost a year. I was overly obsessed with breast feeding and pumping because I worried if something happened to me she wouldn’t get the nutrients she needed. I had an entire deep freezer full of milk.
Anxiety is crippling, debilitating, all-consuming. I tried yoga, various types of medications, and essential oils. I upped my physical activity, changed my diet, just about everything that has been suggested to me by various types of people. Friends, family, therapist, doctors. None of these things seemed to help or make a difference. There was only one other thing I was doing. Praying about it. Reading my bible and continuing to build my relationship with the Lord. The closer I got to him, the more peace I received. He tells us multiple times in the Bible not to fear or have anxiety. I would repeat some of these verses over and over in my head.
Cast all your anxiety on him for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Proverbs 12:25
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
He promises never to leave us or forsake us. He will go ahead of us and prepare the way. About a month back I went to my church’s Women’s Conference. One of the women spoke about anxiety and fear. It was as if she was taking the words right out of my mouth. “What if something happens to my child? What if I get that dreaded diagnosis? What if I lose my job? What if I’m never able to have another child.” Then she said to change your “what if’s” to “even if”. Even if something happens to my child, God is still good. Even if I get that dreaded diagnosis, God is the ultimate healer. Even if I lose my job, God will still provide. Even if I can’t have another child, God will give me peace. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me. More than any medication, diet change, ANYTHING else that I’ve tried. I continue to pray for his peace and understanding. For him to take away my fears and worries. And guess what? He has. I’m in a ten times better place now than I have been in years. All because I know he is looking out for me. I know he has a plan for everything, even if I can’t see it right now. He will go ahead of me and make my path straight.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8