Life Lately // Anxiety

Anxiety @themerrythoughtSometimes I wonder about all the miracles that God has performed. Why we don’t hear of more of them.. Why they aren’t passed down through families like other stories are.. Recently, after a conversation with my brother, I got to thinking; perhaps it’s because we just don’t share them. We won’t openly admit our faults and struggles and when we experience healing from them, we don’t share it because that means we’d also have to share those things that we once struggled with.

After that conversation, I felt convicted. I needed to share. I’ve experienced God’s healing and I rarely talk publicly about it. But I should be shouting from the rooftops. Because I have a real Savior that is working in real ways.

So here I am. Shouting.Anxiety @themerrythoughtI started experiencing major anxiety problems when I was about 17 years old. Throughout college and the years following, I was having panic attacks regularly. I would be going about a normal day and I’d find myself consumed by anxiety. I’d get trapped in my thoughts and I’d quickly spin into a pit of panic.

It consumed me. My body. My mind.

I remember always begging, “No, no, please no.” as I would feel the panic starting. My heart would begin to race and I would search desperately for an escape from the situation. I would be sitting in a room filled with friends and the feeling of emptiness and panic would creep in. I wanted to run away or puke or scream. I would feel completely separate from whatever was going around me. People’s voices were distant, I would try to talk and it sounded like I was echoing into nothing. I remember standing up and leaving in the middle of conversations because I just could not function. There were times that I couldn’t even convince myself that what I was experiencing was real. If I was alone, the panic came on much quicker and more violently. My body’s reactions were much more severe and the sickness, heart racing, dizziness would last a lot longer.

Eventually, I was so afraid of the panic that I just avoided everything. Certain places, people, conversations… a lot of things I once enjoyed were things I now dreaded. My daily plans were controlled by my need to avoid certain situations. I was always searching for pointless things to keep my mind busy so that there was no time for panic. I would lie awake for hours each night watching tv shows until my body fell asleep because the thought of having to lie in bed with just my thoughts for the 3 minutes it would take to fall asleep was simply horrifying.

And so I lived my life tip-toeing around my anxiety for a few years. I shared my struggles with only a few people. I honestly didn’t even realize what was happening while it was going on. I had heard panic attacks mentioned, I’m sure, but I never really knew what they were. I thought that I was the only person in the world that was experiencing these things.

I read so many stories of those struggling with anxiety disorders after I realized what I had been struggling with all those years and I just sobbed. My body had felt those things and I understood the helplessness of being stuck in that terrifying, lonely place.

Four years ago today, I made the decision to get baptized. I was in the process of making some big spiritual changes after living an unfulfilling life, far from God, for a few years leading up to that point. The day the baptism was scheduled that year just happened to be the anniversary of my mom’s death. I desperately wanted to make a declaration of my faith in a public way where people would hold me accountable to the promises I made in front of them but I also wanted to commit that day back to God. It was a day I struggled with for years, I was angry and spent too much time feeling sorry for myself. And that wasn’t a fulfilling life and it definitely wasn’t the life that God wanted for me.

I didn’t go into my baptism looking for healing from anxiety. But I do know that when I came up from the water I was free. I went from having panic attacks every single day to having none. None. I just want God to receive glory for the incredible work he has done in my life. So today I’m sharing it with you. So we can be confident in the power and grace of our sweet Savior.

If you are currently struggling with anxiety, my heart aches for you. Sadly, I can’t say that healing will be as simple as getting baptized. But I hope that you find hope and encouragement in this story and and above all, know that you are dearly loved by your Creator whether we receive healing today, next year, or if he helps us work through this for all of our years.

xo. Caitlin

18 comments
  • Christine KonickiTuesday, July 8, 2014 - 8:00 pm

    God is so amazingly beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.ReplyCancel

  • OliviaTuesday, July 8, 2014 - 8:27 pm

    Anxiety is something I know all too well.
    Started as a teenager and got worse after I had children. I almost passed out in a public place with my 2 year old, the people around me ended up calling a squad. My heart racing was getting out of control. My arms would go numb and then I knew it was getting worse, soon I wouldn’t be able to breath… I thought I was dying, I had no idea it was anxiety. After many tests, scans and wearing a heart monitor… the nurses and my doctor finally figured it out, and for that I am grateful. I recently accepted that I may be on medication for the rest of my life to control it, and the stigma around prescription drugs was hard for me to swallow (no pun intended.)

    I am happy you are free of the burden of anxiety. I hope that day comes for me, and it doesn’t… I have found my solution with a few pills.

    And I agree… people should share miracles more often than not.

    With that said, when I was pregnant with my second something scary happened when I was pushing and I thought for sure my unborn son was going to die. I prayed for God to let my son live, I prayed so hard and passionately and full of fear in my head… after it was all said and done he was perfectly fine. After all those tears (and me almost passing out from panic and the nurses telling me to breath!). Maybe that was my miracle? God doesn’t exactly point it out and say… “yea that was me, you’re welcome.” lolReplyCancel

  • CourtneyTuesday, July 8, 2014 - 8:43 pm

    Wow Caitlin! Thanks SO much for sharing this.

    God is good and I am so glad you are now free from anxiety!

    -CourtneyReplyCancel

  • AshleyTuesday, July 8, 2014 - 8:52 pm

    Caitlin – I also have had experiences with anxiety. It’s such an interesting (that’s the nice word for petrifying) feeling/emotion – how quickly it just comes on and then leaves without warning… I’m glad you found healing! <3 I agree that it's so important to share. So many people have anxiety and it's comforting to know that no one has to fight it alone.ReplyCancel

  • GeorgiaTuesday, July 8, 2014 - 10:42 pm

    that was such an awesome post. I’ve learned about anxiety and panic disorder for my med school training and your description could have been from a text book. I’m glad I got to read about it’s effects on the individual, on the mind and body and soul. Your perspective really humanized the experience for me.

    I wish more people shared their thoughts on God and prayer and miracles. Sometimes I feel like the last believer on earth the way people around me speak in these times. Thank you for sharing your miracle.ReplyCancel

  • ashleykirnanTuesday, July 8, 2014 - 11:05 pm

    Oh Caitlin, I could have written those first few paragraphs myself – everything, from not wanting to spend a moment alone with my thoughts (even as I was drifting off to sleep) to thinking I was the only one in the world experiencing those thoughts. Thank you for being so brave and for sharing. xoxoxoReplyCancel

  • Brooke of A Colorful ChaosTuesday, July 8, 2014 - 11:36 pm

    This post is wonderful! I’ve noticed that I struggle with anxiety more the older that I get. Now that I have my own family and more responsibility, I definitely feel pressure and anxiety because I have more to lose! I’m thankful for your honesty; I love reading real posts like this. Praying that God blessed you for boldly sharing your miracle!ReplyCancel

  • JocelynTuesday, July 8, 2014 - 11:56 pm

    Caitlin,

    Many blessings to you and thanks for your beautiful and touching story. We’d all do well to share our pains and sorrows with one another. Bringing them to the light- letting them air-out so to speak 🙂 I know my unexpected appreciation for someone that I don’t even know (that person being you!) is one of the tear drops that fill the ocean. Thank you for watering my soul. I’m very humbled to have stumbled upon your site. (didn’t mean to rhyme! LOL Love me…)

    Much love, girlfriend. <3ReplyCancel

  • LizzyWednesday, July 9, 2014 - 12:59 am

    I can so relate to this…I’ve struggled with anxiety & depression since I was 12 yrs old and just this past year have really started opening up & talking about it. I’ve bounced around from churches & doctors but it took me moving away from home & everyone I knew to be able to hear His voice over my internal battle. I still struggle evey day with it, but I’ve managed to connect with so many others who also suffer from it, and for that I praise Him. If I can even show them a glimpse of His glory through my life, then I will rejoice in my suffering. ReplyCancel

  • angalmondWednesday, July 9, 2014 - 3:19 am

    Bless you, Caitlin, for your honesty in sharing your story. I know God will use this to bless others, and may He continue to bless you too. love , Angela xxReplyCancel

  • MarielleWednesday, July 9, 2014 - 4:13 am

    I think it is so important that we speak up about our struggles as bloggers. We can use our hardships to share experiences and help others overcome similar situations. You are brave for taking such a vulnerable position and I admire you for that. God is good and he is using you to shine his light onto this world. Someone who is very dear to me struggles with an anxiety disorder. I know how difficult it is for her to feel ‘the odd one out’ sometimes. I believe it is a good thing that more and more people are opening up about this and making it a topic we can openly discuss.ReplyCancel

  • JenniWednesday, July 9, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    Caitlin, Thank you so much for sharing- it is so brave to open up about not only your personal life but your spiritual life as well! God is SO good and it is awesome that you have been healed. I love hearing stories of modern day miracles and while some may not view them as such, I believe that God works in such marvelous ways! While my anxiety has never got to an extreme debilitating state, I’ve struggled with it for years. Lately mine has come in the form of fears over my health, but God’s been patiently teaching me how to trust in him once again and not live in fear by listening to the doubtful, negative voices that fill my head daily. I’ve seen some small (or great, depending on how you look at it!) miracles in the past few weeks as I had to have a medical procedure done, yet felt completely peaceful about it and totally protected. I know that can only come from our Father. We have someone so strong and so mighty watching out for us!ReplyCancel

  • dyllieWednesday, July 9, 2014 - 7:33 pm

    it is refreshing that you opened up and shared your struggles, because I find that it helps me have the confidence to share more. Celebrating with you and the freedom Jesus has given you! xoReplyCancel

  • Samantha HeatherThursday, July 10, 2014 - 7:54 pm

    I was never an anxious person growing up. I used to be so confident.

    Used to be.

    Anxiety hit me so hard a couple of years ago. It came from nowhere and shocked my mind and my body so rapidly that I didn’t have time to register it. It hurt, it hurt everything in my life and it made me the sickest I’ve ever been. The sad thing was that noone really understood. Noone around me knew what anxiety was or what it can be like. They would say things like “just get over it”, “you’re life’s not that bad”, “think happy thoughts” and as you would know, those phrases mean nothing to a person suffering from mental illness. Because it is an illness; happy thoughts don’t cure cancer just like happy thoughts can’t cure depression or anxiety.

    One thing can though – God. He saved me like he saved you. He rose me up, he hugged me tight and he made sure the evil of my illness didn’t kill me. God indeed is good. He is the best and without him, I honestly don’t think I would be here writing this comment to you.

    Thank you for your testimony. Thank you for sharing. As Christians, that is what we are called to do and I hope more people will adopt this idea of sharing into their lives. It is so important and so encouraging. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Pat schwabFriday, July 11, 2014 - 12:44 am

    Glad you feel better. My mom’s husband has had panic attacks where the paramedics thought he was having a heart attack and my friend suffered for years and finally has it under control. So glad you now can enjoy life.ReplyCancel

  • Makenzie MitchellFriday, July 11, 2014 - 11:43 pm

    YES! the testimony of Jesus is so good and needed, how often I forget to share and think on the wonder of the cross and the grace of our Savior. I too have felt the need to share the power of God in our lives and testify of work in our lives. Love this.

    Kenzie
    http://www.thewanderyears.coReplyCancel

  • fictionalfibersFriday, July 11, 2014 - 11:53 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing that! It was very moving!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer AdamsThursday, July 17, 2014 - 12:19 pm

    You have a beautiful heart, Caitlin, and it is evident that God has used even your struggles for good and for His glory. The comments above testify to how your honesty and humility can shower compassion and understanding on others who are in pain. Thanks for sharing 🙂ReplyCancel

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