When my boys were very young, I experienced something I had never experienced before – a panic attack! Now I had always been kind of a worrier, and felt anxious now and then, but this was not normal anxiety. It was pure terror and I couldn’t tell my husband or anyone else what was making me afraid. I just didn’t know. What I did know is that I wanted it to stop, but it continued off and on for the next five years.
I went to a trusted counselor and I saw my doctor for help in calming my agitated nervous system, but the real healing of my emotions came from God’s Word. I clung to my Bible and read it every day. I wrote down verses that spoke to my situation and claimed them as if they were written just for me. I wrote them on sheets of paper and carried them around with me until they became tattered with use. I learned some techniques that helped me get control of my anxiety and panic and put an acronym to it so I could remember my plan in a second. I called my plan S.T.O.P. and it has kept me panic free for the past 30 years.
After talking to many people about their anxiety and panic, I made a recording of my insights and plan on cassettes and passed them out to people who needed them. Yes, that is what you did in the early 90’s. There were no podcasts then. CD’s were pretty new too. But recently, I felt that God was urging me to put this plan into a small book that people could carry with them in a purse or put in a desk or glove box. In the summer of 2018, I published Antidote for Anxiety on Lulu.com.
It had been so many years since I had experienced a panic attack, but writing the book reminded me of what it had been like all those years ago. And then something happened that tested me to the core. On June 29th, 2018, my handsome and strong 36 year old son, Ben, who was a devoted husband and father of three small children, died at his desk at work of an enlarged heart that we did not know he had. His heart took its last beat here on earth and then he was gone to be with God forever.
I cannot tell you how this agonized our family and his. It was so sudden. We were in shock. Our only comfort came with the realization that Ben was a strong man of God and we knew we would see him again one day. There were lots of tears, and still are sometimes, but one thing was missing. I did not have an anxiety or panic attack through all the funeral preparations, the viewing, and the funeral. Even now, 4 months later, If I even began to feel a little bit anxious, I immediately put my plan into action to stop it. I tell you this because it really works for me and it can work for you if you are ready to let God have control of the anxiety and panic in your life. God is the ultimate healer of our emotions. You can always trust Him. Why not start today? You can get a copy of my book Antidote for Anxiety from Lulu.com and begin pulling the plug on panic and anxiety in your life.
Mary T. Wilkinson is a wife, mother, and grandmother but most of all a follower of Jesus.