21 July 2012

Anxiety and Faith by Carrie Fancett Pagels


Panic attacks and anxiety appear to have a genetic component to them. So people who experience this shouldn’t beat themselves up over this phenomenon. We’re wired for fight or flight. So the anxious or panicky person freezes while someone else runs. 

Some fear (FEAR=false evidence appearing real) are man-made, though. With the imaginative writer-types and readers, a mental exposure to a frightening event can invoke the same physical responses tied to truly experiencing it. Which prompts one to wonder—do we really want to watch scary movies or read terrifying books when our hearts begin to pound harder, our breathing is affected, and our galvanic skin response and electrical system thinks we are under attack ourselves?  Some people are adrenalin junkies, but I diverge from my point—by allowing ourselves to entertain thoughts of situations we fear, we experience the same negative physical result on our bodies as if it had truly happened.  So, if today, you are borrowing trouble by worrying over something that may (or may not!) happen in the future, you are submitting yourself to the negative effects and not only failing to accomplish something but you are bringing bad stuff down on your body!

One promising treatment for anxiety and stress is neurobiofeedback (see EEG info's site.)  As an example, if you are hooked up to the neurobiofeedback machine watching a lovely video and think stressful thoughts, the screen will go black—triggering you to recognize what is happening.  In many instances, the person is not even aware of the thoughts racing through their head until the screen keeps blacking out, forcing them to maintain a relaxed state of mind free from distracting worrisome thoughts. 

I love my Joyce Meyer nightly devotional book.  One recent devotion urged the reader to cast their cares upon Jesus because He was in control anyway and mulling them over does no good and furthermore negates our belief that God is the one who is looking after us.  And He is!

We thank JAMIE CARIE again for appearing with us this past week and for sharing her heart and testimony in our interview.  Giveaways for this week will end at midnight today. Leave your email address to be entered.


  1. Carrie, I've battled anxiety and panic attacks and some OCD my entire life. And I'm finding out most authors do. I wonder if that's somehow connected to being creative? I'm still learning to cast my cares about our Lord and not worry.. but it's a process.

  2. Great post! I've never been one to watch scary movies or read frightening books but occasionally I do so despite my better judgement and I'm always messed up afterwards. I'll be horrified when I go to bed and have to switch every light in the house on (I know I'm a big baby =P). That's very interesting about the neurobiofeedback, I'll have to take a look at the site.


  3. The neurobiofeedback treatment is interesting. It would certainly bring a new level of awareness to the person.

  4. Wow, God did draw some people to read my post and comment, lol! Saturdays are often lonely!

    MARYLU--Blondes with blue eyes have the most anxiety per one study a long time ago. They think it has to do with recessive genes. The behavioral psychologists HOOTED when they heard that research a couple of decades back at a conference I attended. But in my clinical practice I found it to bear out as well.

    As far as the OCD--one cannot complete a project as huge as a book without having obsessive compulsive traits. A disorder, however, is one where the OC stuff upsets and disrupts your life. OC PERSONALITY however is where your OC stuff bugs everyone else, lol! So I would say persistence, perseverance, and OC traits do not an OCD or OC personality make. But it will get a book done!!!

  5. LIZ, I am going to address your and MARYLU's comments again. First of all someone who is super creative can imagine stuff vividly as can many readers, which is why they love reading! However, that same "gift" which is related to an ability to vividly experience something unreal, can contribute to panic attacks and anxiety. That is because the person can picture something awful as though it is real. Which is why I do not watch scary movies and stuff like that. I don't need to do that to my nervous system, lol!

  6. ANNE, the problem I see with neurobiofeedback right now is that too many people are now doing this treatment and I seriously doubt that they are properly trained. And if not, they could potentially bring on seizures, etc. in someone being treated. But in the hands of a well-trained person it is an amazing treatment.

  7. Carrie, you cannot imagine how much you helped me with your comments! I've wondered for years if I had some sort of mental disorder with my OCD tendencies and panic attacks. (I have the checking disorder where I have to check things mulitiple times!) But now that I know blondes with blue eyes are prone to it.. and that my OCD tendencies help me write my novels, I'm actually okay with it!! I'd rather have these problems and be able to write than be normal and not write! LOL
    And it makes sense that someone who can imagine things so vividly would be prone to panic attacks and anxiety. The other day I had a panic attack on a bus in Jamaica. It was one of those huge things, really tall and it wobbled when it drove down the street. I pictured the entire bus tipping over and everyone getting killed.. blood everywhere, etc.. It was so real in my mind it was as if it were really going to happen. So, I prayed and kept praying until it went away.
    Okay, now everyone on this blog knows I'm a nut case!! LOL
    But thanks for this post. :-) Hugs.

  8. No one reads on Saturdays, ML, so you are in luck, lol! It might help you to know that those psychologists who finish dissertations, which are research and a book combined, have to possess OC tendencies or they'll forever be ABD (All but dissertation!) ABSOLUTELY, ML-- love that situation you had--a writer can take the situation, magnify it, imagine it vividly, and physically experience which can result in panic. So just knowing that can hep you pray and self-talk, too. If you're with another writer, you can share it with them and then you can both squeal as you laugh about it. I have a writer friend in my neighborhood and she and I will take situations and talk about how our minds immediately jump to these wild thoughts. And then we are jumping up and down!

  9. Great idea, Carrie. I tried to tell my hubby about the bus but he just told me to put it out of my mind!! Yeah, right!! But another author would totally get it and we could laugh about it together. (Oh wait.. there goes a chicken across my desk!) Sorry about that.. LOL

  10. I think my panic attacks (besides having blonde hair and blue eyes:)), is more of a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) thing in my case, resulting from years of child abuse. I started having them in my 20s and I asked the doctor, "Why now, when the abuse has ended?" He said when I was going through the abuse I had to be strong to cope, but it stays in the subconscious mind, and stress as an adult will usually cause the panic attack prone person to start having them. In dreams at night, my mind would replay some of the abuse, b/c I would avoid thinking about it during the day and I would awaken with a full on panic atttack.

    MaryLu, I watched a program on tv about people that have panic attacks, and it said that alot of them are fun loving, have a great sense of humor, tend to be creative, but are usually perfectionists, and can be sensitive. So that describes me to a "T".

    Perfect love casts out fear, and God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and of a sound mind! Two scriptures to stand on!

    Thanks, CARRIE, for featuring this post, and MaryLu thanks for sharing! We love you and have all been through so much we would never judge you for what you have chosen to share here with us, and appreciate you so much for doing so.

  11. DIANA, thanks so much for sharing! You are such a blessing! One point you make is about facing the fears. Feel the fear and face it and deal with it anyway if it is something real, like abuse. Process it instead of repressing. Big hugs!

    MARYLU, a chicken? Cool! LOL!

  12. I just feel led by the Holy Spirit to pray right now if that's ok.

    Heavenly Father, we know that there are people reading this post that may never leave a comment, but are suffering with fear, anxiety, or panic attacks. We also know that it's Your will that we not live in fear of anyone or anything, or have irrational fears. Lord, I bind any foul spirit of fear that the enemy has tried to plague my friends here with, and command it to leave and never return! I loose that peace that passeth all understanding to rest and abide in each one from this day forth, in Jesus mighty name. No more unfounded fears, anxieties, or worries, but we cast all our cares on you for You care for us. Thank you, Lord, for CARRIE, MARYLU, and JAMIE, and continue to bless the works of their hands. And we thank you for the answers now, in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

  13. AMEN, Sister DIANA! And all of you who are great visualizers do this--picture all your cares wrapped up in a big heavy box and heave it into God's arms. He's fully capable of taking care of any and all of your burdens. And mine!

  14. I am doing that right now, CARRIE. It works, b/c I've done it before! Joyce Meyer once said that sometimes it takes awhile of doing all the right things to bring all the right results!

  15. Thank you for the great Post about Anxiety/Panic attacks, my Sister in Law suffers from them. I will let her read this Post because I think she can learn from it.
    Also Diana, thank you for the Prayer.
    God Bless you all

  16. INGRID, you are welcome, dear. This prayer is for your sis-in-law as well. :) And thank you for sharing CARRIE'S post with her.

  17. INGRID, I hope your SIL found the post and our dialogue helpful. DIANA has sent me some AMAZING prayers! One of them, when she prayed for double blessings, another person prayed the same, and another as if a Holy Spirit chain prayer had happened without us knowing. And I WAS BLESSED double!!! That was so cool!

  18. Fun loving, great sense of humor, creative, a perfectionist and highly sensitive. That's me! Amazing how much that fits.
    Thank you for that marvelous prayer, Diana. I read it out loud and add my Amen to it. I honestly believe that the closer we get to Jesus.. the less fear we have. Its just that often times the enemy tries his darndest to keep us from spending time with God and from growing in Him.

    I'm visualizing my cares all stuffed in a box and I'm leaving it at the throne. Thank you, Carrie.

    Ingrid, I'm lifting up a prayer for your SIL right now. :-)

  19. That does sound like you two, lol! Amen to what you said! Give that box the old heave ho with a pirate's mighty arm, ML! Many blessings.

    God touch all of us tonight and may we lay our burdens at Your capable feet. In Jesus's name, amen

  20. There are very concrete examples I could name in my family as well as myself who have suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, addictions, physical and emotional abuse, and negativism. These emotions are real. Frighteningly real. I appreciate what each of you has shared and I plan to copy this entire article and your shared comments and keep it in my notebook. Dianne, your prayer is so beautiful and thank you for expressing it. I feel so much more normal now that I know other women I look up to and respect are overcomers just as I am. It isn't easy to admit the shame we have felt and the guilt that goes with it. The best part is realizing that we have nothing to be guilty about. Thank you dear ladies. I love you.

    Friend in Christ,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  21. Thank you so much Carrie for this post! I've had two periods in my life where I've been crippled by panic attacks for several months. I live with the shadow of it returning every day. But I'm praying that now I'm more aware of my triggers, that my increased vigilance enables me to keep it at bay. I've decided I'd rather live with regular, very minor anxieties and recognise them as warnings, then go blissfully unaware for years only to be pulverised by overwhelming panic attacks again.

    Thank you to everyone here for sharing their experiences, it's always comforting when we know we're not the only ones suffering!

    And thank you DIANA for that wonderful prayer.

    Prayers and blessings to you all!

  22. You're so welcome, BARB...and HELEN, that prayer covers you, sweetie, and those "little" anxieties and panic attacks are gonna fall by the wayside in Jesus name.

    MaryLu, I'm so honored that the Spirit of the Lord would deal with me to share that prayer on CARRIE'S post, and that you would read it aloud and agree with me for the touch that you need.

    CARRIE, I don't mean to take your spot here, I just have such compassion for these ladies, having been there and done that! And still battling but OVERCOMING!

  23. Wow, I am humbled that God would use this post to minister to the needs of others. HELEN and BARB, please know that all of us here at OTT-WGH are fighting the good fight for the Lord every day. And we pray for our readers. The effectual prayer of the saints availeth much! Now I want to know if we can repost your comments for a future post, to minister to others. And I want to thank JAMIE for sharing about her experiences and MARYLU, too. I asked JAMIE to really pray about using this topic as a platform for her ministry to other women. And I am so appreciative that our DIANA is speaking out. Let's join hands and come against the enemy today. Blessings!

  24. TEDDY is our new weekly winner per random. org, since I did not have PAT COWAN's email addy. TEDDY, if you are an international winner you can pick ANY of JAMIE's books in email format. Otherwise you can pick in your choice of format and your choice of book. CONGRATS!

  25. Beautiful prayer Diana. My Sister suffers from panic attacks, anxiety, closed in spaces (like elevators), etc. She is on medication and has been for a lot of years. She has been through a lot in her adult life and some of this I'm sure stems from our childhood days. May I add that I am so proud of her. The pain that children suffer at the hands of grown adults just amazes me and still angers me. What right do they have?

    I don't suffer the way my sister does. Mine manifested itself in other behaviors. Both of us have come along way....it is by the Grace of God that we made it through these difficult times.

    Thank you for your post Carrie.


  26. Thank you, JUDY. Praying for you and your sister. We are overcomers daily through Him who loves us!

  27. CONGRATS to TEDDY for winning her choice of any one of Jamie's books!

  28. JUDY, you are welcome, and I am so glad DIANA and I could could encourage some folks this weekend! I was telling my hubby that one reason I post on Saturdays (which is the day no no looks at blogs) is because I figure whoever God needs to come read my posts will be there. And oftentimes the other members of the quartet and I just encourage each other--and that might be all we need to do. Blessings!

  29. Thanks Diana for your prayers. I really appreciate your kindness.

    Carrie,I felt lead to come to your blog to read what you had written. I didn't come to win a book, that wasn't why I left a comment. I forgot to add I wasn't entering.

    It is amazing what panic and anxiety attacks can do. Can you believe there was a period of 15 years where my sister never left her home? Praise God she has come along way. Just recently she weaned herself off of her meds. What a mistake she made. She didn't know that the one med she was taking was highly addictive and she should have taken 2+ years to get off of it. She really had me worried with what was going on with her body. I was scared for her. The withdrawal her body was going through oh my...she could have died from some of the complications she was experiencing. Prayers were answered and her doctor has gotten her back on the right track. Who would have known that these drugs were so dangerous?

    Thank you again for posting what God leads you to post. One never knows when a life will be touched. Life is full of hurts...but God is our ultimate healer!

  30. JUDY,I love it when we all follow God's leading. YES, some of those meds require a slow slow process to wean off of. Wow, glad she's okay now. God is so good! Blessings!

  31. Praise the Lord for how He brought you to Himself! I know it must have been SO hard, but thank you for sharing. God is so glorious to use even the "worst things" for good.

  32. CARRIE - yes, you may certainly repost my comments on another post :) I firmly believe that it's so much better to share our experiences so we can help, uplift and encourage and pray for one another.

    I didn't see Jamie's interview until after this post. But when I read it I was like, "Wow, that's how I felt!" Every morning I used to wake up and think, "Great. Another day." Praise God I'm past that phase now! And the more people pester you with, "What on earth is wrong with you?" the worse you feel.

    JUDY - praise God for you sister's progress! What a terrible time that must have been for her, and for you. God Bless!

  33. Thanks, HELEN, and I'll try to copy these to a file. So glad JAMIE's interview blessed you, too! Praise God his mercies are new every day!

  34. TEDDY chose Snow Angel as her book and it has been ordered for her! CONGRATS again, Teddy!


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