- Jolting up in the night with blurred vision
- Chest pains
- Pain in the arm that felt like a heart attack
- Feeling constantly on edge
- Facial numbness
- Tingling in the limbs
When I found myself facing this barrage of symptoms, to put it bluntly, I was terrified and thought I was dying.
In the weeks that followed, I constantly felt the need to go to the A&E with every new symptom, fearing that something was wrong inside me.
It almost felt like I had come out of my body, and I didn’t recognise myself anymore.
Was it a brain tumour, was there something wrong with my nervous system, was it an autoimmune disease? Really, what was going on?
For a whole month, I saw different specialists and went for scans but they just couldn’t find the root cause. The symptoms multiplied and worsened.
Each time I came out of the doctor’s room without a diagnosis, I would feel relief of some sort but within a few days, something new would pop up and the cycle would begin again like a merry-go-round.
It completely disrupted my life: I could not go to work or meet anyone. Just stepping out of the house was difficult.
I was petrified of losing my job as I am the sole breadwinner in my home and am paying for the house. Both my parents have retired without much savings.
I didn’t know what was happening to me and I didn’t know how we would manage. Being a Sunday churchgoer, I knew God existed. I prayed but didn’t really understand.
God, to me, was distant, almost like someone I handed my request or wish list to.
I spent countless days and nights anticipating the worst. A word could trigger a sleepless night.
It came to a point where I was plain helpless, and it felt like no one else could do anything. I was at my wits’ end.
Every evening, sitting along my corridor looking at the sky, tears would stream down, and I would cry out to God: “I leave my life in your hands, Lord.”
Slowly, day by day, I surrendered pieces of my broken life to Him. My parents accompanied me through difficult nights and prayed with me.
We prayed for good doctors every day and after seeing many clinics, a doctor referred me to a psychiatrist.
I had to wait a couple of months but finally got an appointment. It almost felt like I had come out of my body, and I didn’t recognise myself anymore.
Finally, the diagnosis came: Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
Every time an anxiety attack hit, it traumatised me and I felt as though I was losing control. It was like I was trying to claw my way out of a hole that I was being sucked into.
After two visits, I was referred to a psychologist instead.
It took me about a year to learn and cope with what I was facing. However, I never stopped the conversation or dialogue with God — and our chats were no longer one-sided.
As I started sharing my story with people, I realised that anxiety isn’t that uncommon. Thank God I found others out there like me, which was something that gave me hope in my darkest hours.
So, I write and share this story with the same intention, and I write this story because it was inspired by God (this too, has another story but I’ll share that when God says I should!).
In all of life’s struggles, God never wastes an opportunity.
It was only when I started to trust Him and His plans that the anxiety lost its hold on me.
I was also blessed with an understanding boss who not only allowed me to take the time to heal but also prayed for me.
It is a constant battle but through therapy and learning about my condition, I can now identify when an attack is coming and take whatever measures are needed – including asking a group of friends to pray for me.
As I look back, I realised that it was when I felt most alone that God showed me His might, His glory and most of all — His Fatherly nature.
The road to recovery is not a walk in the park but it is most definitely not the end.
For me, God revealed parts of my life that needed healing, the parts that I kept so hidden away.
I believe that those were obstacles to the life and purpose He wanted me to live out.
God brought to my attention the importance of family and a spiritual community in Christ.
How absolutely crucial it is to surround yourself with people who lift you up (not just emotionally but prayerfully).
He also showed me that while it is important to have purpose, rest and stillness in Him are necessary.
I was never able to be still. But as I reflected and readjusted my priorities in life, understanding what is truly important, my mind and heart were able to find peace.
He is a God who provides and I am a living testimony. I’m still searching and seeking but I know that He’s got my back.
God’s peace for when you are anxious
A sweet friend of mine gave me a book that helped me through some tough nights. Here’s an excerpt taken from God’s Peace for When You Can’t Sleep by Christina Vinson that I’d like to leave you with:
“Sometimes anxiety relates to specific worries, but other times it rears its ugly head with no warning signs, no triggers, and no reason.
It’s okay; you are not alone. The Lord is available at all times.”
In Psalm 34, David experienced the Lord’s deliverance and he praised God afterward, saying “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
God can deliver you too. He knows what you need.
Breathe in and out slowly. Breathe in His promises and truths, and breathe out the fear and anxiety. Even as you drift to sleep, He will not leave.
The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
And with that, don’t stop praying!
- Which part of Mary’s story spoke to you? Why is that?
- What might God be saying to you through this article?
- Do you know someone who could use an encouraging word or helping hand this week? Be there for them.