Please welcome today’s guest blogger, fellow author, Caris Snider. We met and became friends at a writer’s conference. I asked Caris to write a blog for me because she has struggled with an issue many of your children…or you yourself…have wrestled with—anxiety. I believe she has some invaluable insights to help us understand and tips to help cope.
Anxiety elephants. They are coming. . .
My breathing, labored.
Palms ringing in sweat.
The thoughts that filled my mind were jumbled. One on top of the other.
The pounding felt like elephants stomping on my chest.
I had no idea I was suffering an anxiety attack.
This is Real???
Can I take a moment and confess something? I thought anxiety and depression were not real. As
a ministry and worship leader, my consoling and prayers were not filled with the compassion of
Jesus for people who needed help. Responses they received from me went something like this:
“You need to pray harder.”
“You need to read your Bible more.”
“You need to trust God.”
“You need to suck it up, buttercup.”
My perspective shifted in 2011. Things appeared great. My husband and I were worship leaders.
I had a successful in-home business. The toddler of our dreams was living her best 2-year-old
No one knew the struggle inside my heart and mind. No one knew the pain and shame I was
hiding. No one knew the anxiety and depression crushing me. No one knew because I was
terrified of the rejection I might receive.
Have you kept your battle to yourself scared of what might happen if you reveal your secret?
Everything came to a screeching halt for me one day as I sat on our couch. This was a comfortable place I found myself in quite a bit.
Frozen in fear I imagined my heart beating out of my chest. While my daughter played gleefully I had an anxiety attack. Still in a place of denial after a quick visit to the doctor, I convinced everyone around me, “I’m fine”. This lie was my motto to live by for the next few weeks.
Shocked, we found out I was pregnant. Barely weighing 100 pounds, my doctor sat next to me with comfort in her eyes. She looked at me and said, “Caris, for the sake of this baby, you need to eat. I don’t care if you eat doughnuts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, just eat.”
Two things happened in that moment. . .my mama bear instincts kicked in. I couldn’t eat for
myself because of fear, anxiety, and panic consuming my life. BUT, I could eat for the baby.
Also, when a doctor tells you to eat doughnuts, you eat the doughnuts, right?!
I did eat a lot of doughnuts over a span of eight weeks. Hopping on the scale in excitement to see
the number go up six pounds was a victory. Soon, defeat would come lurking. I had a
miscarriage, and the bottom of the pit became my home.
The words consuming every fiber of my being were of the “less-than” genre:
I thought everyone would be better off without me and that I was a burden.
In this moment, I realized I could give up or look up.
I thank God every day He helped me look up and see the helpers.
My doctor, a counselor, church leadership, my family, and friends were there. The lie of rejection was snuffed out. I realized I was not alone in my struggle. God was not mad at me. He still had a great plan for my life.
5 Practical Steps to Restoration
One of the most important things I have realized is that anxiety and depression are real…very real. If you find yourself facing these foes you are not the only one. There are some practical steps you can take:
- Seeking Help from a counselor and doctor. This allowed me to get all the hurt I had been
hiding for years out so healing and a new way of thinking could begin.
- Journaling became an important part of my daily life. When anxious thoughts poured
in, I wrote them down. I took those anxious thoughts, ripped them up, and threw
them away. On a new sheet of paper, I wrote life-giving thoughts that God’s
Word said about me.
- Deep Breathing helped to get me out of an emotional place and back into cognitive
thinking. Our emotions are great, but we do not want them controlling our lives. Taking
deep breaths in and out calmed my brain and helped me think rationally instead of
staying in an irrational place.
- Talking to Friends instead of hiding became a new way of life. Galatians 6:2 tells us to
bear one another’s burdens. If I have a bad day, I text a friend or go grab coffee with someone. God wants us to talk to our tribe. We were never meant to do battle alone.
- Reading the Bible. I found myself Googling what the Bible said about sleep, fear, and
anxiety. Every search revealed powerful scriptures. God knew we were going to have trouble.
He gave us His Word so we would have light to shine in the darkness.
You Want Me to Write a Book, Lord?
In 2019, I published a 31 Day Devotional called Anxiety Elephants. We had no idea what 2020
would bring, but God did. He put people in my path who encouraged me to go for it and trust He
would give the words needed to offer encouragement, action steps, and a focus on Him when
anxiety attacks. If you find yourself facing anxiety, I believe you will find support
and guidance in this daily devotional. You can receive a FREE sample.
You Are Not Alone
I want you to know you are not alone. You may be on the other side of the pond like a friend of
mine in Ireland or you may be in a neighborhood in the states. Wherever you are anxiety is
real but something else is also real. . .HOPE.
If I can help you in any way, reach out to me at: carissnider.com
Caris is a Christian Communicator who shares the hope of God through speaking and leading worship. Her passion for the Lord comes through as she shares from her experiences of overcoming depression and anxiety. Her desire is to help women of all ages with their faith and mental health journey. She is a wife and mom of two who loves to travel when she has the time!