The good news is I’ve been free of panic attacks for over 18 years now. I’m a 63 year old woman, and I suffered with panic attacks for approximately 20 years, and these were my prime years. During that time I had agoraphobia, (the fear of leaving my home alone) for about10 years.
Let me take you back to the beginning and tell my story of being consumed by fear, then turning by faith to God for the strength to be an overcomer.
My panic attacks started at work in 1969. I was working at my desk when all of a sudden my hands shook and my heart pounded. I was perspiring, and it was difficult to breathe. I thought for sure it was a heart attack. I was too young to have a heart attack and die! Talk about being scared! I was terrified!
The “spells” happened every once in awhile and became more frequent. They always left me exhausted and confused. What was happening to me? Was I losing it? My work began to suffer and finally I had to quit my job. I tried a couple more jobs but didn’t last as these “spells” took over my life. This scenario went on for years. I lost everything. My friends deserted me, I had to give up my home, and new car.
During that time I tried many things to get me through it. I saw doctors who couldn’t find anything physically wrong. They would throw tranquilizers at me. At the same time I found that drinking helped relieve the anxiety. After I’d go home from work because I’d had an attack, I’d drink beer, then feel relaxed and fall asleep. Turning to alcohol or drugs is not the answer to fear. It may help the anxiety for a short time, but in the long haul you will only end up with another bigger problem.
First, let me say I was not brought up in a church-going home. But, I was curious as to what the Bible was all about, so I began to read it. I really couldn’t understand very much and began to listen to a Christian radio station. Yes, the Lord slowly drew me to Him.
Finally, one day, as I listened to a gospel message I took the step of inviting Jesus into my life. Actually, I’d simply had it. I’d tried everything else, from doctors, astrology, fortune tellers, and alcohol. They had all turned out empty. Maybe there was something to this Christian thing. I prayed and asked the Lord Jesus to actually take the reins of my life over. I quite simply gave up and let Him have it all. Looking back that was the smartest move I ever made.
After that things slowly began to turn around. God showed me how he was trustworthy. I’d pray and He actually answered the prayers in such beautiful and wondrous ways. I began a daily Bible study and really learned what God wanted to say to me. Now the Bible made sense. The difference was that I had received the Holy Spirit when I became a child of God, and He opened my eyes of understanding. I began to grow. I learned things from the Bible and put them into practice in my life.
The Bible is full of good mental health. One of the best things I learned was that it is loaded with promises that God gave us. We can claim them and He actually stands by them. I’ve proved it over and over. I found scripture I could hang onto. One is II Timothy 1:7 (KJV) “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” What a wonderful scripture to find and claim for a weary, timid, fearful, person who felt like she was losing her mind.
Finally, I began to do things again. I took hold of God’s hand and He went with me everywhere. I began to drive, get groceries, bank, and shop again. It was a slow process for me but the Word did heal me.
I think the greatest lesson I learned was that we are to be one with God. We are to depend on Him and not on others. He will not let us down. He promises to go through our problems with us. He wants us to lean on Him.
Around 1994 I started a web site to help others with panic disorder. We provided information, email pen pals, chat rooms, message boards, an email support group, which is still running today, called PD-Overcomers. I wrote daily devotionals for a long time. I answered hundreds of emails from all over the world from people who suffer as I did. I found this is an universal problem, and touches lives of both men and women of all ages.
I also wrote and self-published two books: Panic Buster: Learn to Conquer Panic Attacks and Agoraphobia. That was a workbook. Then, I wrote Abolish Anxiety: Discover Peace in a Stressed-Out World, which was a 90-day devotional. (Abolish Anxiety is still available at this time as an e-book on my site.)
Back in high school I had a plan for my life and it was totally different. God had other plans for me and I can honestly say they were much better. I never dreamed I’d actually write books or do any of this. I followed God’s leading step by step and accomplished it.
Today, I continue to answer email and write articles for my Bible Blog.
You see, God did heal me and as a bonus gave me a wonderful ministry where I can actually reach out to the whole world with the good news of how God works wonders in our lives if we will simply surrender to him.
I pray in sharing my story with you, that you too will be an overcomer of panic attacks, fear, and anxiety, and follow the Lord where ever he leads you. If panic disorder is not your problem but you struggle in life with other things I want you to know that Jesus Christ is the answer for you too.
Click here to go to my Panic Disorder Support Home Page.
Click here for my article Come Let Us Reason, to see what God’s Word says about our condition and how we can get right with God.
If you have any questions about panic disorder or just want to share click here to EMAIL ME.