Anxiety? You Are Not Alone

Written by: Nicole Beachum

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5

When I was five years old I passed out. I can vividly recall hearing my mother scream my dad’s name over and over again – in complete panic. We left my uncle’s house and rushed to the hospital, getting pulled over by the cops for speeding on the way. Ultimately, the doctors sent me home without any answers.

Everything in life continued “normally” until I was 11. Again, I fainted while my mom was putting earrings in my ears. The paramedics came to our house and checked my blood sugar, among other vitals. This episode led to a variety of doctor visits and tests, including a CAT scan. Again, no answers.

Fortunately, that was the last time I fainted; however, my life drastically changed. I would be taking a shower and would accidentally knock the shampoo into the floor – and my mom would rush in, totally freaking out. As a child, I didn’t understand what was happening, but her fear and panic coupled with my fear of passing out again led to severe anxiety.

From the time I was 11 until 16, I was absolutely miserable. Every single day at school (especially during lunch time in a crowded, loud cafeteria) my heart would race, my palms would sweat, and the room would spin. It was terrifying.

To tell you that I was miserable at this point of my life is honestly an understatement. I did not come from a Christian household. I did not know the Lord. My parents had a horrible relationship. Furthermore, I told no one about my anxiety – not a soul. At 11 I was suffering alone and felt utterly hopeless – a reality that stayed with me until many years later.

By the time I was 15, my parents were divorced. A year later they were both remarried – and being an only child I was left alone to deal with the heartache and brokenness that comes from divorced and then quickly blended families.

There were many times in the span of those five, unbelievably long years where I honestly did not want to live anymore. I was miserable, alone, and hopeless.

One night when I was 16, I hit my knees and called out to a God I did not even know. I begged for Him to save me. I committed my life to Christ in complete and total desperation. In this way, my testimony is simple – God came in and saved my life.

Slowly, but surely my anxiety decreased. It definitely did not completely go away. I went off to college and for the first time in my life I was well enough to get involved. I joined social clubs, the Student Government Association, and leadership organizations all throughout campus. I also started attending church my freshmen year of college – it was a life-changing experience. Anxiety was still there, but it was far less severe than before turning my life over to Christ.

In 2008, I was in graduate school and the anxiety started to become more severe again. Note, this was not due to sin or not walking close to God. I would be walking across campus and would slowly, but surely feel like I was walking sideways. It would also occur sometimes in class, and when I tried to go to football games and other loud places with my friends.

I felt led to go see my general practitioner and he lovingly told me that it was chemical – and that a small dose of antidepressants would help. He was right. Since 2008 I have been on antidepressants. The anxiety? It’s 99.99% gone.

Now, this is when I feel obligated to clarify that I think there is one English word for two very different things. There’s anxiety in which we are not trusting the Lord and are unnecessarily worrisome. Medication will not and should not be used for this type of anxiety. Then, there’s clinical anxiety that needs medication.

I thank the Lord that someone had the wisdom to explain this to me – a believer who loved me and loved our Lord.

Looking back over my life I would have never said this when I was in the midst of suffering with extreme anxiety. Today, however, I am so thankful that the Lord made anxiety part of my story. More than drawing me closer to God and introducing me to my Savior, anxiety kept me out of trouble when I was growing up. It provided me with a resource to help encourage others who are struggling with chemical anxiety. It made me the person I am today.

Anxiety is part of my story – something I did not understand at the time, but God used it for the Kingdom and for His glory. It also allows me to have confidence in other difficult trials in my life.

Right now we are in the process of possibly losing our foster daughter, which has been in our care since she left the hospital. Am I sad? Sure. Is it hard? Absolutely. But I know God is there, I can trust Him, and He is in control.

The first verse I memorized is still close to my heart to this day:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5

Sisters, my sincere prayer is that if you are struggling with anxiety or depression that you know you are not alone. That you reach out and allow your church community to encourage and help support you – pointing you to Christ. Most importantly, I pray that you turn to God – you can trust Him… even if you don’t understand the “why” just yet. You are loved. You are not alone.


AnxietyIron City Church