Today’s question comes from Gloria:
Mary did you ever suffer from anxiety? I am having a very difficult time with it. I get very frustrated when anyone mentions being raped. I was and I am trying to get past it. I was at work tonight and someone was watching the news and that’s all I heard about for about 15minutes. I was getting so mad. I don’t know what to do anymore besides trying to use my coping skills. Healing does not seem to be happening for me. I feel stuck. I pray for help but i can’t get past this phase. I don’t know if you have any answers but if you do can you help me. Thank you.
Gloria, I did talk about this question on Monday’s podcast, so be sure to check that out here.
Also, I wrote a book about this called Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing After Sexual Abuse. Click here to find out more.
In addition, my overall answer is yes. I have suffered from anxiety. Recently I took the train to the airport, which left me alone in a train station for twelve minutes. As I sat there, I felt my worry overtake me. I created all sorts of awful scenarios in my mind, how bad guys would nab me, rape me, and leave me on the tracks. I had to tell myself to please calm down or I would stay in that state too long.
So part of the answer is to logically tell yourself the truth. In this moment, as you were watching TV, you were safe. No harm was going to happen to you. So you can calmly tell yourself you don’t need to panic.
This is probably too simplistic an answer, as some folks suffer from anxiety disorders and may need medicine or therapy to move beyond it. Also remember that healing happens over time, not all at once, and that if you experience anxiety or a trigger, it doesn’t mean you haven’t yet healed. It simply means there’s another layer of healing that needs to happen.
I think we often take triggers as true evidence that we aren’t actually healed, and we will never be whole. [Tweet “We often take triggers as true evidence that we aren’t healed & won’t be whole. https://www.marydemuth.com/suffer-anxiety/ ”]
Not true. Take some time to look back over your life. Write down the specific ways you have healed. Thank God for the healing you have experienced. Dare to believe He will continue that healing in His specific time (that doesn’t always match our timeframe).
You will move beyond this, eventually. I would imagine your closest friends have seen some amazing improvement. Rest your thoughts in those good places, and remind yourself of the truth that Jesus understands trauma and violation. He can come alongside you when you are anxious.
I hope that helps.
Mind if I pray for you?
Jesus, I pray for Gloria that You would help her see how far she actually has come in terms of healing. Move throughout her heart and fears to bring deep, wide peace. Give her hope. Help her to tell herself the truth, that she is worthy, that You are with her. For those who are reading this who despair they will ever heal, I pray right now that You would show just a snapshot (or even a movie!) of what You have done and what You will do. For those who are anxious, remind them of Your peace-filled scriptures to calm nerves. I trust You to shepherd all these who struggle. Amen.