Anxiety Questions and Answers
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Anxiety, Panic, and Fear
We frequently receive emails and questions during Anxiety Coaching Sessions that are common among people dealing with overcoming anxiety and panic attacks. We've posted some of them here, and will update the page as we receive more questions.  So keep checking back for questions asked by visitors to the Overcomepanic.com site and readers of our overcoming anxiety resources. Angela will respond and answer the most frequently asked questions about overcoming anxiety, panic and fear. You can also use the form on the Anxiety and Panic Contact Us page to submit a question of your own, and if it is something that may benefit other Overcomepanic.com visitors, it just might end up here!
Question: What can help to restore our mind after shock and trauma? Is it just a matter of quoting the truth of God's word when fear tries to come in through intrusive thoughts?
Answer:
I do know that overcoming fearful thoughts takes time. It becomes such a habitual path that our minds go down and it can take some time to retrain them. Hebrews 9 and understanding how the blood of Christ cleanses us is truly helpful. Dr. I.V. Hilliard from Texas ( www.newlight.org ) says in his PTSD cd that cleansing is a process. Think of a stain in your laundry. Sometimes you really have to scrub it clean...it doesn't just come out all at once. You have to put laundry stain remover on it over and over. And God's word is cleansing like that. It washes us clean over and over and keeps getting us cleaner and cleaner until there is not even any "residue" of the former life or trauma.

Dr. Creflo Dollar ( www.creflodollarministries.org ) said on one of his programs that you don't fight thoughts with thoughts, you fight thoughts with words...specifically the word of God. Getting His word into our mouth is so important, and speaking it into the situation, confessing it over ourselves each day to affirm who we are in Christ, builds our faith and confidence in Him. I encourage you to come against those thoughts in the name of Jesus, forbid the spirit of fear to operate in your life, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with love, power and a sound mind and help you build and increase your faith.

It's important to know, too, that sometimes medication is necessary to help in this area. And we don't need to feel guilty or that we have a lack of faith if we need the assistance of doctors or medical science to help us overcome a traumatic incident.
Question: Has anyone else had the problem where you read about a fear that you don't have or never heard of, and then you fear that you will get that fear? 
Answer:
I remember when I used to watch a television program, like 48 hours or some other investigative show, and if they had a woman on there who hurt her children, then I was afraid I was going to do the same thing. Or if someone had bipolar disorder and stopped taking their medicine and ended up living on the street, then I was afraid I was going to do that too.
   
That's just fear trying to enter our lives again. It tries to get in through planting those little "seed thoughts."  Here is what I would suggest: When you sense that "fear seed" trying to plant itself, we know that we have the power to control our thoughts. And we know that we have the authority in the name of Jesus to tell that fearful thought to go. Fear is not inherently a bad thing...it tells us to run to safety when we are being chased, it keeps us from hurting ourselves. But when it gets out of balance, that is when we might be dealing with a spirit of fear that can torment us. We can, in the name of Jesus, refuse to let it in and instead, fix our minds on the truth in God's word. Jesus said in Luke 10:19 that He gives us that authority. And Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 what things to think about.  We can stand on God's promises, and He will never fail us.
Question: I am a Christian but I suffer from fear and anxiety. I can't be on my own at all. I can't drive on my own, and I have difficulty going out of my house. I am afraid to go to banks, movies, or the lower level of the mall. My life is very restricted. Can I overcome this?
Answer:
Yes you can overcome! I used to be afraid to go out of my house and to the grocery store. And I was also afraid to be alone. This is a battle primarily in the mind, but our mind affects our physical body as well. So we experience physical symptoms too. I remember dealing with irritable bowel syndrome and being afraid to go to restaurants. 
   
The answer to overcoming these fears is the Word of God. Bottom line is that when we are afraid, we are fearing that God won't do what He says He will do in His Word. We need to trust Him and His Word, and get it on the inside of us. It was through the Word that Jesus defeated the enemy, and that is how we will defeat our enemy. The Word will drive fear out and we need to get it in our mind and heart, and get it in our mouth. We have the authority to "call those things that be not as though they are" (faith), and tell our bodies and souls (mind, will and emotions) to line up with God's Word. And we can't let fear stop us from doing what we need to do. We can't run from it. We need to "feel the fear and do it anyway." We need to give ourselves permission to experience the symptoms and keep moving forward. The enemy wants to isolate us, and there is nothing more isolating than not being able to go out of the house.
   
I got out an index card and wrote down what I was believing God for, and I found the corresponding scriptures and wrote those too. Twice a day I would say outloud those index cards. Words, and especially God's word, are seeds and have power, so it is important to make sure that we speak words that line up with God's word. We have to speak faith-filled words instead of fear-filled words. This is "confessing" God's word. "To confess" means to "say the same as." So we are saying what God says. That is what Jesus did when He defeated the enemy. So if He needed to quote scripture, doesn't it make sense that we would too?
Question: Is it wrong to take medication for anxiety/stress/depression? I have never used medication before, but I was feeling really bad and my doctor gave me a prescription.
Answer:
I do not believe that it is wrong to take medication when we need it. I have had to take an antidepressant for a number of years, and at times needed the additional help of an anti-anxiety medication. And I am so glad it is available! I believe God gave doctors the wisdom to develop the medication in the first place. He created us with a certain amount of natural tranquilizers and other brain chemicals. When they become depleted, that is sometimes what causes us to feel anxious and panic ridden. If we hadn't had the natural ones to begin with, that He created us with, the artificial ones wouldn't work.
   
Think of it like this: If your pancreas wasn't working right and you needed to take insulin, you would, right? If you had a thyroid condition and needed thyroid medication, you wouldn't think anything of it. Why is it different if a brain chemical is depleted and you need medical help to get it normalized so that you can function and work and take care of yourself and your family?
   
Dr. I.V. Hilliard of New Light Christian Center Church, who I referred to in one of the questions above, says that "medication doesn't hinder spiritual development." Other pastors and counselors have also told me that sometimes it takes the assistance of medication to even be able to focus enough to pray or read God's word. I think that is something to remember when we need the help of medication during a difficult time. 

Question: How can you be sleeping and then wake up and have a panic attack?
Answer:
First of all, I would recommend that you get checked out by a physician, just to make sure that everything is okay physically. Also, avoid caffeine in any form after about 3 in the afternoon -- caffeine is a stimulant and makes our heart beat faster, among other things. So stay away from teas, coffees, chocolates, and sodas with caffeine if you are having trouble in this area. 
   
Next, in my opinion, the reason that one can still awaken with panic/fear is because fear actually inhabits the thoughts. And our thoughts are still active when we are sleeping, although it is in the subconscious state. So it is possible for fear to infiltrate our subconscious and dreams and thus send us into a panic attack during our sleep. Please know this isn't a medical answer.

I would read and rely on Proverbs 3:24 that says that "our sleep will be sweet." And Philippians 5:7 that says "He will keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus." Based on Matthew 18:18 and Luke 10:19, we have the authority in Jesus' name to forbid the spirit of fear to operate. I would pray in Jesus' name at night before you go to bed, bind the spirit of fear, forbid it to operate, and thank God that based on His word you are trusting Him for peace during your sleep.
   
I don't know if this pertains to you, but I used to not be able to watch certain shows before going to bed. Anything that would be disturbing in nature, I couldn't watch because I would become preoccupied with it and couldn't get it out of my mind. What works for me is to watch some Christian television or videos before I go to bed, and then read a bit of the Bible or a good Christian book and really fill your mind with the Word and prayer before you drift off to sleep. And throughout the day, replace any fear-filled thoughts with faith-filled thoughts. Since fear sets up camp in the mind, it is important to get rid of any negative thoughts and replace them with faith. That way when fear comes to try and get back in, it finds there is no vacancy!

Question: I am scheduled for an upcoming surgery. Can you help me with the fears surrounding this surgery? I am afraid of dying during the surgery, riding the elevator up to the operating room, fear of the medicine, being confined to the hospital, etc. I am a Christian, but still have fears...
Answer:
A lot of people have fears of medical procedures...dentists, surgeries, etc. I think it has to do with not being in control and maybe feeling trapped. Prior to surgery, I recommend making out a list of positive scriptures to speak over yourself. Ones that affirm that God is with you, He will never leave you, He assigns His angels to protect you, etc. This psositive self talk wrapped with God's word should help to bring you some additional comfort, along with praying that God will guide the doctor's hands and give him wisdom as he performs the procedure.

It might also help to practice deep breathing and muscle relaxation before you go to the hospital. This may come in handy when you are going in the elevator or just being in the hospital room. It can help bring on your body's relaxation response and help you realize when you are tensing up.

This battle is once again in the area of the mind. It is about driving fear out of your thoughts because that is where the enemy comes against us. And to fight this is to go through it...to feel the fear and do it anyway. God tells us to "fear not" and "fear" literally means "to run from." So He is saying, "don't run from it." Press through, experience the symptoms and do it anyway. This will  help you will build your confidence and take the power away from the fear.

As for the thoughts, it is renewing your mind through the Word of God. This helps you recognize instantly when a fearful "thought-dart" comes at you. Our mind is so powerful that it controls how our bodies respond...So if we attack fear in our minds, then our physical body will come in line.
Question: The hardest thing for me to deal with is the feeling of unreality, or of being detached from my surroundings. I feel like I am losing my mind, and wonder if I will feel like this forever. Do you have any advice or help?
Answer:
I know what you mean by the feelings of unreality and feeling detached. It is weird and can be very distracting. But when I experienced that, I just told myself that is the way that my body was reacting to stress at that time. I would try not to let it keep me from doing things. I used to joke and would say, "Well, I feel like I am about 50% here right now." I would kind of gauge how "floaty" I was feeling. But I knew that it would pass and that it wouldn't hurt me. I think it has to do with the amount of stress hormones that are being released into the body, specifically adrenaline. 
   
Again, get yourself full of the Word of God. Listen to cds or podcasts, Christian music, Christian television programs or YouTube videos, and get as much of the Word on the inside of you so that when those fearful, negative thoughts come at you, you can recognize them instantly and say, "Nope, that is contrary to the Word of God and it has to go!" Then replace that thought with something that God said and keep driving out the fear. God's word is a weapon, a sword of the spirit, but you have to use it!
   
It also helps to distract yourself with something. Have a plan for when you feel this way so you don't feel caught off guard and vulnerable. Perhaps go for a walk, visit a friend, or simply read a book. If you are at work, take a water break or a deep cleansing breath. You will begin to feel normal again and anxiety won't be on the forefront of your mind all the time! 
Question: I have pretty bad anticipatory anxiety. It really kicks in when I think about something I have to do, be it driving or being alone, going to an appointment, or thinking about some change in my schedule. Can you please help me with what you think?
Answer:
Anticipatory anxiety,  can also be called "what-if-ing" or "supposed thinking." "What if this happens?" "Suppose that happens."
   
It is really imporant to ask the Lord to help your mind and body be at peace no matter what is going on around you. Pick some favorite scriptures and write them on a 3x5 card or put them in your phone. Memorize them to build up your arsenal of weapons. What I also used to do is answer the bewildering question that was coming at me. For example, "What is the worst that can happen?" Whatever I was afraid of, I would say, "So what if....?" "So what if I get sick to my stomach?" Then I will go to the bathroom. "So what if I start feeling detached?" Then I will take some deep breaths and talk myself through it. "So what if I pass out?" Then I will come to later, and go get some fresh air. Try walking yourself through the worst that could happen.
   
Think about what you are thinking about. Where the mind goes, the man follows. So when you recognize a fear-filled thought, you have to get it out of there and replace it with a positive thought. See yourself completing your task successfully. Then, as you go through it and are victorious, each time you do, you will be building your confidence and gradually you will be able to do those things free from fear.
   
Anticpatory anxiety is truly fought in the mind. Most of the time, the thing we are "what-if-ing" about is much easier to just do and get it over with. The thinking about it is much worse than just doing it and getting it done. Often, I would find myself so relieved afterward and wondering why I allowed myself to get so worked up! Give yourself permission to experience the symptoms, but don't let them stop you from doing anything. When you give yourself permission to "feel the fear and do it anyway," you take fear's power away from it! Tremble your way to success!