Anxiety, Fear, Grief, Words of Endurance

Worry Gone Too Far

Worry weighs us down;
a cheerful word picks us up.

You all have to know by now how much I love the Word of God. One of the many reasons is that it has been my guiding light on my darkest paths.

By your words I can see where I’m going;
they throw a beam of light on my dark path.

That beam of light guided me on one of my darkest paths – the path of anxiety and panic attacks.

The Bible warns us not to worry because it will affect us physically. Anxiety is the physical implication of worry – the physical side effect of worry. Anxiety is worry grown up and fully developed. In fact, if worry were the common cold – anxiety would be pneumonia!

The word anxiety literally means “to press tight, to strangle, to be weighted down with griefs.” I can say an “Amen” to that – anxiety certainly weighed me down. There are many ways that the human body is weighed down by anxiety. For me it was panic attacks – a racing heart, chest pain, hyperventilation and deep sweats. My thoughts were consumed with irrational fears and terror. And my immune system was severely suppressed – I caught every virus that came my way. My body – weighed down by the anxiety – could not fight back – it was exhausted by the anxiety.

A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. PROVERBS 17:22 (THE MESSAGE)

Everyone, at one time or another, experiences anxiety in its mild forms. Mild symptoms of anxiety pass with no lasting effects but in its more extreme forms, anxiety can be debilitating as it was for me. When anxiety is severe enough to disrupt a person’s lifestyle, it is called an anxiety disorder. The most common anxiety disorders described below can vary in severity from mildly disruptive to totally incapacitating.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Exaggerated worry and tension over everyday events and decisions.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PSTD) – Frightening and intrusive memories that result from trauma such as an accident, assault, surviving a disaster, etc. Symptoms can include nightmares, depression, withdrawal, emotional numbness and feelings of helplessness.

  • Phobias – Extreme, irrational fear of social settings, objects or situations.

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Intrusive, unwanted and repetitive thoughts or rituals performed out of a feeling of urgent need.

  • Panic Disorder – Episodes of extreme fear and dread, called panic attacks, that strike unexpectedly and repeatedly for no apparent reason.

  • I share these with you because you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder or you may know someone who is. Let me say there is no shame here if you are experiencing anxiety – it is a common path shared by many of us on the journey of life. The good news is that all of these disorders are fixable with the appropriate treatment and you can look forward to a time when anxiety will no longer dominate your life.

    I can testify to that! Thank you Lord!
    So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy.

    On the journey with you,
    Jan Dravecky