AND MOVIES ARE BASED ON THEM. BUT THE
BIBLE SAYS WE DON'T HAVE TO LIVE IN FEAR.
Devotions for those with Anxiety Disorders is an easy-to-read devotional. The mind, body, and spirit are the core of the human being. When one is affected the other two can also be affected. Healing can take place in all three areas. Traditionally, therapy has only focused on the mind in treating disorders. In the 1990's, we focused heavily on the affects long term stress can have on the body.
Today, we have begun to focus on the spiritual side of a person's life in the treatment of disorders. This book takes it one step further and focuses on not just the spiritual side, but the religious side. It is based on a Christian concept and it will help to alleviate symptoms while working with the mind and body through the reading of the devotions. Along with the scriptures, practical advice about living with anxiety and living life fully with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, and depression is included.
Whether a therapist, family member, or a person with an anxiety disorder, the devotions contained in Devotions for those with Anxiety
Disorders will provide a welcome relief from daily struggles.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.25(d)|
About the Author
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Devotions for Those with Anxiety Disorders, Including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
By Jazz Garrett
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Jazz Garrett
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTaking Stock
In the beginning I felt that God wasn't with me at the time I needed him; otherwise the events leading to my anxiety wouldn't have happened. The verse above is what Jesus asked God on the cross, so in his human form he had doubts. It took me about six months to forgive myself for not trusting that the Lord was with me. I, now, easily relate to those suffering with anxiety.
I am a counselor and an anxiety sufferer and this has made me research methodologies that were not previously used in the counseling field. By my research and understanding how religion plays a major part in treatment I know that God had not forsaken me. The problem was my not focusing on him as part of my treatment. If you have anger at God due to a past event or circumstances in your life, complete the following intervention and maybe you, too, will see that it was a blessing and the response you had at the time may have saved your life. You also may realize the responses or symptoms you have now may seem excessive, but they can lessen.
Since anxiety tends to be pervasive and interferes with one's life, it is important to know when you are at your best and to make the most of those times. I find that early mornings are best for me, so I plan any outings in the morning. That is also when I do Yoga, prayer, and meditation. I also pray as I do household chores, drive, or am waiting for an appointment. I meditate again in the evening.
Write down the things that are better in your life due to your anxiety. I will start the exercise with some of mine to give you examples. Since I can't always cook, I find great pleasure (and so does my husband) when I can prepare a meal and we eat together in enjoyment and thankfulness to God. I have found that my interactions with my family during my good times are always positive, so I never forget to tell them I love them. I have better communication with my husband because I can talk about what is going on with me. I have developed the ability to "step outside myself" and listen more effectively and empathetically to those who come to me with a problem. I have a closer relationship with God and find comfort in my prayer and reading the bible.
During a time of high anxiety it is difficult to find anything positive and life seems fearful. Take it slow. It may take you several days to find something positive. Keep a journal close at hand as ideas may come up through the day or night. You may want to ask those who are going through this with you; what their favorite things about you are when you are having a good hour/ hours or day.
I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you and will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you - the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:1-8
Day and night, even when you sleep, God does not. He continues to watch over you and sometimes, as described in the poem "Footprints in the Sand", he carries you, which is why you see only one set of foot prints.
Do you ever feel as if a panic attack won't stop or a flashback or fear, or maybe an obsession, no matter how many times you use a compulsion (an event to lessen the obsession). But they eventually do. There is a reprieve; it may be brief, but there is a time you can just breathe. That reprieve comes from God. He will never give us more than we can handle and he knows our limits even when we do not. It is a comfort to me to know that someone (God), who has more control than I do, is watching over me.
Panic attacks can be frightening. I have had only one which I went to the hospital because of difficulty breathing and pain shooting through my chest. I have been able to control my panic attacks through breathing techniques which I list below for an exercise to lessen the effects.
Breathing is a natural event, but during times of high anxiety just finding your breath is a difficult task. You will need to try different variations to see what works for you.
1. Stand up, pulling your shoulders away from your ears, breathe in through your nose, counting to three. Then breathe out through your nose to a count of three. 2. If you are uncomfortable standing, try sitting upright. Bring your shoulders away from your ears and breathe in through your nose for a count of three, then out again through your nose for a count of three. 3. Continue to complete the rounds of in and out breathing, raising your chest while softening your abdomen. Breathing through your nose with your mouth closed is the most effective. Try to work your way up to a count of six, with a pause between your in breath and your out breath. 4. Never hesitate to seek medical attention if can't control your breathing.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his names sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:1-4
Fears. Books are written about them, and movies are based on them. But the Bible says we don't have to live in fear. "I will fear no evil", the psalmist wrote. Isaiah 43:5 states "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." The Lord is there to listen to your fears and to comfort you. He is concerned about you because he made you in his likeness. He made green pastures for you to lie down on. You can always turn to God if no one is present with you to talk to; talking does help.
I have extreme fears of being trapped and being killed. A large number of persons with anxiety also have co-morbid or co-occurring substance abuse issues which I will talk about later.
I am alone a lot which means that I turn to God a lot. I also don't leave my house a lot because of those fears; so since early mornings are best for me, I go the store or post office in the morning. Some people can't leave their house at all, and the next exercise addresses that. Remember, nothing worth having comes easy, so this exercise may take you months to accomplish.
1. If you have a back door, go outside and walk around the yard and just notice the grass, flowers, rocks; whatever is in your backyard. All of that was made for your enjoyment. 2. Sit and breathe in the freshness of outside, or walk around your yard for some added exercise. 3. If you are unable to go outside, try unlocking the door and leaving it that way for an hour. The next time open your back door a crack and leave it. Each day try to open it further and maybe stand in the door way looking at all there is to see in your yard. 4. Get out into the yard and walk. It is good exercise, and it increases the release of endorphins and adrenalin which makes us feel better.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. Psalm 3:5
This scripture says it all you lie down to sleep and wake again. You may awaken during the night with nightmares, but the Lord sustains you. You will get up and he will help you face another day.
I have difficulty sleeping due to anxiety and nightmares. I have learned some tips to help me fall asleep, and I have a plan if I awaken with a nightmare. To help myself fall asleep, I burn a candle or I use oils in the bedroom about two hours before I go to bed, then I blow them out before I go to bed for safety. The sense of smell is the strongest sense; by lying down and breathing deeply the scent will help calm you.
I also use this time to meditate. I close my eyes and relax my body in the bed, as best as I can. In other words I make myself as comfortable as possible. As negative thoughts come into my mind, I imagine a cloud slowly moving it away. Sometimes I have to do this several times to come to stillness. I concentrate on my breathing until it is regular and soft, then I focus on the stillness. This takes practice.
For nightmares, I have a plan. I say aloud. "This is a dream," then try to go back to sleep using meditation. If that doesn't work I get up, turn on the kitchen light, and make a cup of hot tea. The warmth makes me sleepy, and the light eases my anxiety.
Make a plan for yourself in case you have nightmares so that you will know what your routine will be. This makes it easier to return to sleep. You also want to write about the nightmare in a journal and then share the experience with the person you have chosen to be your confidant.
Imagery rehearsal also is effective in dealing with nightmares and sleep disorders. Write down your nightmare and reform it; practice the new, reformed nightmare in your head. Your therapist can go over this technique with you, as it takes several weeks and steps.
To help you fall asleep, you can try Melatonin which is a natural sleep aid found in health stores. In addition avoid drinking caffeine past 3PM, and eat early between 5 and 6PM.
Try the following relaxation exercise to help you go to sleep;
1. Lie on your bed in a comfortable position with your hands about a foot from your sides. Feel the bed supporting your entire body. Hold each position for about thirty seconds, then relax. 2. Squeeze your eye lids shut, hold, then open them wide. 3. Purse your lips together, then open your mouth wide. 4. Pull your shoulders up to your ears, then pull them away from your ears. 5. Clinch your fists, then spread your fingers wide. 6. Pull in your abdomen, then push it up. Next tilt your pelvis forward then, tilt it back into the bed. 7. Tighten you thighs and calves and release. End by bending your toes into your foot, then spreading your toes wide and relax. 8. Seek medical attention if you are unable to fall or stay asleep.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9
External Safe Place
I seek something to hold onto in a time of trouble. It is a relief to know that God is my stronghold and I can turn to him for anything without worrying what I might say, do, or think. You are never alone even though you may feel lonely or alone during high anxiety times. God meets us where we are at and never leaves our sides, his arms cradles us. Romans 3:23-24 says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Freely we are saved through God's grace and are welcomed to him.
To help alleviate my anxiety I have an external safe place. I set up a corner in my house that has "God things", a candle, as he is my light, rosaries (my grandfather was catholic), a prayer box where I place pieces of paper I have written special prayer requests, a crucifix, the Bible, and coins of saints. I go to this place when I am having trouble and I hold onto a rock from the Euphrates River, a coin or a rosary and pray with all my heart.
The trouble with anxiety is that it manifests itself in so many symptoms, shakiness, nausea, muscle tension, flashbacks, panic attacks, accelerated heart rate, pain in the chest, headaches, sweating, avoidance, fear and more. The important thing is to have a safe place in your house where you can go when anxiety sets in. Set it up with what makes you happy and calm and use it.
You may have family pictures, scenery pictures, or a favorite book.
1. Set up a corner or a room with things, and pictures that bring you joy. 2. Have a portable CD player in your safe place to listen to guided imagery (a tape or book that uses imagery to guide you in relaxation), relaxation CD's, or music that soothes you. 3. Include something of yours that is sacred to you and hold it or rub it, carry it around with you when you are having a bad time. You are grounding yourself in the present by focusing on what is in your hand instead of on your anxiety. 4. Let your family know where your safe place is and to let you be until you are ready to leave it.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer, my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. Psalm 18:2-3
I like this scripture because it reminds me that I was saved from my enemies. I am alive. That doesn't mean that I am the same person as I was before. I have changed and now am living with PTSD and Depression.
Fears or events may have changed you also, but you are still a child of God that he saved from enemies. God gave us all free will and some use it for good and others for bad. But if we have life, we can learn and use skills to thrive in this new life.
One of my symptoms is hyper vigilance; meaning that I may feel fear and threats when none exist. I am overly aware of my surroundings, and my body is in a fight, flight or freeze mode. This causes difficulties on outings and muscle tension. My life now is focused on living life to its fullest with my anxieties. In the beginning of my depression and PTSD I would say I just wanted to be me again, but now I realize I am me with changes due to life experiences.
I really came to appreciate my husband because he lives with this, too, through me. He had to have been given to me by God because he never falters like I do.
You too may struggle with hyper-vigilance. The Lord is your stronghold and he will deliver you. Be aware of your environment looking around at the normalcy and repeating "I am safe". Do what you can to help others and let others help you. Ask someone to go with you and become comfortable having the nearness of your confidant. Take time to breathe, do not be in a hurry and pace yourself. Accept yourself as a whole, complete person deserving of happiness. The less stress you have the better it is for your anxiety disorder.
You family may want you back to who you were. Help them understand the new you. Give them books to read about what to expect about your specific disorder or have them learn from the Internet, as it is a great resource. I recommend families be included in the treatment process. If your anxiety stemmed from childhood, you may gain a better understanding of why you are the way you are.
Praise the Lord for the good times and fill those times with what makes you happy. Make the most of your gift of life, even though it is different now.
How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7
Life is priceless. You can't replace it, you can't trade it in, and you can't get another one. The same is said about the unfailing love of Christ: it can't be replaced; it is and will be forever more. From the moment of your conception you were under God's wings. He said, he knew you before you were born (Jer. 1:5). It is a blessing to know that God's love does not fail and whatever our condition we are made in his image.
I sometimes think I am not enough because of my anxiety disorder. I mentioned before that I spend a great deal of time alone, which isn't good for the mind, so I have to have a good routine to keep me from the depths of depression. The thoughts we tell ourselves say a lot about our condition and where we are with it. If the thoughts are constantly negative and focused on "cannots," that doesn't leave room for the "cans".
Depression is a common co-morbid condition. It takes away our desire to do anything including taking care and nurturing ourselves. Depression can also keep you from talking to other people. To cope with my depression, I use a routine to make sure that all that I can do I am doing. Buy some easy meals for the bad days, lay out clothes for the next day the night before, talk to someone every day, and follow complete rules of hygiene.
These tips will help you cope with the bad days:
1. Make yourself a routine if you do not already have one. 2. Try to eat regularly and include foods that offer good nutrition. Do not snack often in front of the television. 3. Add a hygiene routine. Wash your face twice a day and get dressed. 4. Exercise regularly, even if it is only walking around your backyard, or doing gardening or household chores. 5. Do something you enjoy and that makes you feel good. Use all your "cans" each day. 6. If you have excessive worries or fears, write out your nighttime routine and take it around with you to make sure you haven't missed anything. This way you won't go to bed wondering if you forgot to lock the doors.
Excerpted from Devotions for Those with Anxiety Disorders, Including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by Jazz Garrett Copyright © 2010 by Jazz Garrett. Excerpted by permission.
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