The Ravaging Tornado of Anxiety


As fall rolls in, I am beginning to feel like myself again.

I’m about a month into my routine of therapy and medication. Panic still comes and goes, but not to the crippling level it did before. I am so thankful.

What kept my heart racing before? Oh, anything. Mainly death, the future, the past, family, social situations, church, religion, politics, the news, criticism, the Internet, a sink full of dishes. I’d tell myself to stop worrying so much and my heart would only beat faster. I’d beg my body to shut down at night, but the thoughts would never stop swirling.

If depression is like a fog, then anxiety is like a tightly wound tornado, ravaging everything in its sight.

Anxiety disorders are a nightmare, people. Some of you know what I’m talking about, and I am so sorry that you do. I get it. It took me roughly ten years to get help, and I pray you don’t wait so long.

Why did I wait so long? Because there were so many lies stopping me, lies I had internalized a very long time ago.

My friends, if you are struggling, I want to hear you out. I want to take long breaths with you, and encourage you to call a doctor, even if you think the world might collapse if you do. It won’t, I promise.

There are a things I won’t tell you anymore, too, things I both heard and said to others before, lies that blocked me from getting well for far too long.

I will never tell you to just relax.

I will never tell you that you need to trust God more.

I will never tell you that medicine is a crutch for an underlying problem.

I will never tell you that you are healed after praying for you.

I will never quote Jesus’ words at you–”Do not worry about anything”–as a prescription for your sickness.

I will never tell you that therapy is for the weak.

I will never tell you that therapy or medical intervention should be a short-term solution.

I will never tell you the root of your problem is spiritual.

I will never tell you that medicine dulls your spirit or alters your personality.

I will never make light of your illness.

What about you? Do you relate to the tornado imagery? If so, what were your roadblocks to getting help?


Getting Help

I’ve taken a break from blogging, as you may have noticed.

For the past month, I’ve been confronting my anxiety with counseling, medicine, deep breaths, and radical self-care. I am still writing, just not for the Internet right now.

A lot of people are talking about mental health right now in the aftermath of Robin Williams’ death.  It’s a conversation I’ve watched and grown from, as it speaks to me in my place of beginning recovery. [...] Continue Reading…

Hope and Friendship on the Slippery Slope

Photo by Ellwantstoholdyourhand via Flickr

“Remember the revivals?” my friend Dee asks me.

We are drinking iced coffee on a Sunday morning in the small town we met, the town of our fiery Pentecostal days. The last time I was at this coffee shop, I was a teenager, sipping a strawberry smoothie and listening to my youth pastor talk about how I need to Press In to God more consistently to see [...] Continue Reading…

That’s Good Enough For Today: Anxiety

Sometimes the anxiety comes and seizes me and I feel so small against it.

Something little will trigger it, a worry about the future, a regret of the past, a disappointment in the present – and out of nowhere I’m having to practice Lamaze breathing in the middle of Starbucks.

Once it descends, I can’t seem to shake it. I practice positive self-talk, exercise, smiling, talking through it, prayer, aromatherapy, and warm baths, all which offer [...] Continue Reading…

When Your Faith Doesn’t Move Mountains

The gypsy had a layer of skin where eyes normally should go. He also had stringy hair with yellow flakes falling out, and a dirty unbuttoned white shirt. His home was made of cardboard, and his kitchen was a fire pit. The least we could do was heal his eyes.

This was my second Teen Mania missions trip to Romania. We had pulled up in a charter bus to the gypsy encampment that morning to [...] Continue Reading…