by: Embrace Church
Mental health is a serious issue. While some people deal with anxiety in a way described in this blog, others will need more intervention to help them deal with what they are experiencing. If you or a loved are dealing with a mental illness, we encourage you to find professional help along with being in a faith community. In the Emporia area, you can visit www.crosswinds.org to take self-assessments on anxiety, depression, PTSD, or bipolar disorder and schedule an appointment with a provider. There is no shame or weakness in getting help.
If you or a loved are considering suicide, please seek immediate help. In Emporia, you can contact Beacon For Hope at https://www.hopelinks.org. Nationally, you can seek help by calling the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Around 450 million people currently suffer from some type of mental health disorder, making these disorders among the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide (World Health Organization, October 2018).
I’m the daughter of an anxious mom. Although I didn’t know it at the time, my mom exhibited many of the characteristics of anxiety including excessive worry, agitation and irritability, panic attacks, and irrational fears. Anxiety is the number one mental illness in America (National Alliance on Mental Illness, July 2018).
Growing up, if my curfew was 12 midnight and I wasn’t home at 12:01 am, mom was on the road searching ditches and ravines for my wrecked car and body. Vacations? Yeah, we went on vacations. My brother and I begged for years to go to Disneyworld and we finally did, but not until I was 19 and my brother was 17. My mom later told me that it was because she was terrified that we would be abducted from the park as small children. I can remember hearing my mom gasping in her closet on more than one occasion as she breathed into a paper bag mid panic attack. Mom finally visited the doctor and got some help, which was a blessing.
As a young mother, I started to have fears immediately for my children. I remember crawling out of bed screaming in the middle of the night in the first few days of my daughter’s young life. I was convinced in my dream that I had buried her under a stack of folded laundry beside my bed. When my son was 5 we traveled to the state basketball tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas to support the Burlington Wildcats. He needed to use the bathroom so I walked him there and waited outside. Somehow we got turned around and I missed him exiting. He was lost in a sea of people! That situation ended up with me, down on the state basketball court, asking them to make an announcement for him to find me on the court. Crazy, right? I know...These irrational fears continued-I couldn’t control them; my husband could rarely “talk me down” when these fears took over. I was constantly worrying; envisioning the worst possible outcome of nearly every situation. It put a strain on my relationships with my husband, friends, and my children.
I remember the first time I allowed my son to go to an out of town birthday party for a friend. I was a complete basketcase. I even went so far as to put emergency contact information in his shoe in the event he became separated from the group. Guess What? He survived and had the time of his life! It was a couple of days later that I was tidying up and picked up his shoes to find them damp. “Why are your shoes wet, Bud? “ “'We went to the river before the birthday party and I was wading in the shallows and got them wet. Sorry mom, but I threw that soggy piece of paper you put in my shoe away!” What? Of course, you did son!
It was shortly after this that some dear friends invited us to their church. My family immediately connected with this church family and the rest is history. From Lamont to Burlington, then New Strawn, now Embrace Emporia; my journey of faith and walk with HIM continues to change my life. What I’ve noticed is this; as my complete trust and confidence in HIM grows, my fear and anxiety lessen. The support I’ve received from my faith families has been amazing. Are my worry and anxiety gone? Absolutely not! However, knowing that God is in control and has HIS hands on everything in my life gives me such comfort.
The Lord knows our questions and he knows our fears. I will always worry-I’m certain of that. It’s in my genes. When I am most anxious, I will turn to HIM.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. - Psalm 56:3
For the Kingdom and City