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Friday, April 04, 2008
Prayer and Advice Needed
I recently heard about this need -

One of our readers is married to someone who has been having panic and
anxiety attacks for the past several weeks. This person's spouse is not
interested in seeking professional treatment for it at the moment, and
our member doesn't know what do any longer.

Do you have any advice?

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posted by Julie at 12:41 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


8 Comments:


  • At 4/04/2008 01:57:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    I would suggest that the person first put the air mask on herself and focus on what she/he needs to do to feel centered, grounded and able to feel/think/act with clarity. It is possible taking a few hours or days away from the spouse and/or kids may be necessary to do this. It is a worthwhile investment!

    In a clear frame of mind, I'd suggest being open to God and following what/where intuition leads.

    David Burns has a great self-help book on panic/anxiety that the spouse may find helpful if he is open to working on issues independently but doesn't want to get involved with a professional. Another excellent book that I have found life-transforming with my own struggles with anxiety is A New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose. It is coming from more of a spiritual than a religious angle, but the ideas about awareness and non-identification with thoughts/feelings/ego as the key to discovering one's true self and peace could be understood as accurate and life-giving even if one holds an evangelical view.

    Good luck and wishing peace for both of you!

     
  • At 4/04/2008 02:20:00 PM, Anonymous sonja

    I second the David Burns suggestion. As well as the suggestion to take some time out for yourself. You may need to do this regularly. Put it on the calendar. Think of this in terms of putting on an oxygen mask in an airplane ... they always have adults do this first before struggling with children who may be scared. This way at least the adult will have oxygen and only the child will pass out from the lack thereof.

    Another great bit of help for me was doing the morning pages from The Artists Way ... when I'm good about doing those, they are extremely helpful for processing and keeping me grounded.

     
  • At 4/04/2008 02:47:00 PM, OpenID tglips

    I concur with the above two suggestions and will add one more. Tell your friend to not work harder at fixing the problem than the one who has it. It just turns into a enabling/codependent mess.

     
  • At 4/05/2008 08:08:00 AM, Blogger Nancy

    I support the above three comments. There really is nothing your friend can do outside of take care of their own self. In fact, even if the spouse does not care to read Eckart Tolle's book that Jemila suggested, the friend might benefit.

    If the spouse understands that what they are experiencing is a panic attack and that they are not dying/going crazy, that can be half the battle. The attributions one can make about the symptoms exacerbates the symptoms. Relaxation/meditation techniques will be helpful in dealing with the anxiety and panic as well.

     
  • At 4/05/2008 06:22:00 PM, Blogger Rev. Vaughn W. Thurston-Cox

    The single thing (s)he cannot do is ignore this. Barring the sudden removal of whatever is causing this stress, the attacks will simply get worse. Even if her/his circumstances changed, the attacks can continue for some time. These might be some practical steps:

    1. (S)he should learn to recognize when (s)he is experiencing an attack. Just that knowledge can allow some people to bring themselves back down.

    2. Invest in yourself. Anxiety attacks can be triggered by low seratonin (spelling?) levels (Caused by stress.). Activities we enjoy and refresh us raises those hormones naturally.

    3. Following number two: Find what works and repeat it. Often we engage in self-destructive behavior but never question it. We should be self-aware about what makes our life work and repeat it.

    4. Identify the source of the stress and work creatively to address the problem/frustration. Eventually we have to stop treating the symptoms and treat the problem. Problems don't always identify themselves easily. Try journaling or talking through things with a confidential person. Once you have done so, address the problem creatively.

    Hope this helps. As pastors both my wife and I have experienced these attacks not always understanding what was going on. We're better equipped now to deal with them.

     
  • At 4/06/2008 09:47:00 AM, Blogger Kristie B

    I've battled panic attacks in the past. One book that my physician recommended to me was "Mind Over Mood: Change how you feel by changing the way you think." The title sounded kind of fruity to me at first, but basically this can be used as a do-it-yourself Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). That said, it takes serious commitment to really hunker down and work through it - it's not a quick fix by any stretch, but ultimately it proved to be an enormous help in my recovery (which was eventually complete, so there is certainly hope!).

    Obviously CBT alone isn't the answer. Prayer and the love and support of a community should never be underestimated when it comes to these things. All of these elements came together and contributed to my healing - most of which was accomplished without prescription drugs and with just a little help from a professional.

    My heart and prayers are with this person.

     
  • At 4/07/2008 05:18:00 PM, Blogger Amie

    In addition to the wisdom shared by these kind hearts, I think that it is important for the friend (or even the friend of the friend) to be clear on the difference between their need for their spouse (or friend's spouse) to recover, and the spouse's need to recover. The only needs that we can truly meet are our own.

    Amie :-)

     
  • At 4/08/2008 07:28:00 PM, Blogger One Voice of Many

    I have been struggling with general anxiety for a few years now. It comes and goes but the past couple of years, and even the past few weeks, has been worse. I'm reading "From Panic to Power" by Lucinda Bassett. Anyone have any input regarding her approach?

     

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