Sincerity and Panic Attacks

I wrote this post last week, and I’m sad to say it’s true this week too.

Remember that post I wrote about being sincere? Well, I’d be lying if I told you I had a good day yesterday.

I’ve been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks for almost four years now. I don’t take medication for it, and most of the time, it’s under control. But lately it’s been tough. And yesterday I had at least two panic attacks.

Hi. My name is Sarah, and I’m a hypochondriac.

Seriously.

Pretty much any time I have a pain I don’t recognize, I freak out. And if someone I know gets diagnosed with something, I freak out. And if I read about a disease, I freak out. I can’t help it. It’s not something I can just “get over.”

I’ve even had to ban myself from looking at Web MD and the like. I can’t watch medical shows—real or fictional. I can’t even read about cancer prevention.

To someone who’s never experienced any kind of mental anguish, things like this can be easy to write off as “all in your head.” Sometimes, to some extent, that’s true. But it can also have very real consequences. It disrupts your life—zapping your energy, stealing your joy, and jarring your focus. Lots of people wrestle with anxiety and depression every day. And we’ll never know how many suicides are caused by depression each year. (My own family has experienced that tragedy.)

So why am I telling you all this?

Because I know there are other people out there suffering with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. And I also know there are people out there who just don’t buy it.

So this is my PSA: If you’re one of those people suffering through depression, anxiety, or something else—be encouraged. You’re not the only one. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And if you’re someone who doesn’t have any of these struggles, be grateful. And try to be understanding of those who do.

And if you’re like me and you find yourself buying into the lies of the enemy, stand on the truths of Scripture with me. Here are a few verses that have been carrying me through lately:

Even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You . . . Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. —Psalm 139:12, 23         

I have called you back from the ends of the earth so you can serve Me. For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. —Isaiah 41:9–10

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name: you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you . . . You are honored, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you . . . ” —Isaiah 43: 1–2, 4, 5

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. —Colossians 3:2–3

But when I am afraid, I put my trust in You. O God, I praise Your word. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? —Psalm 56:3–4

2 thoughts on “Sincerity and Panic Attacks

  1. Joanna

    Sarah, thank you for being so open and sharing your struggle. I know just how hard that is – I struggle greatly with anxiety. It can feel very lonely. I so appreciate your willingness to share! I believe that many more people than we realize suffer from similar things, but often are too afraid to say anything. Bless you!

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