By Duncan Robinson
Hope 103.2 breakfast announcer
One glum evening, after I had put the brakes on yet another evening out with my wife, we had a deep and serious chat.
These moments were becoming all too common: with both of us angry and frustrated about my inability to go out anywhere, our marriage was reaching a challenging moment. I was struggling with anxiety, but didn’t have a word for it.
Due to a diet-related condition that went undiagnosed for years, I had developed a fear of eating out. And it had started to become an anxiety about ever going out at all.
While the dietary condition was treated and solved, the mental distress and anxiety related to going out still loomed. As a result, I wanted to be a homebody, and avoid any stress by not eating out anywhere.
If I didn’t know where the bathrooms were along the entire route (I needed a bathroom map), I wouldn’t leave the house.
Finally, on that gloomy night, the issue was confronted. I promptly went and saw my GP, who sent me off to a counsellor to help work through the problem.
A Slow and Steady Transformation
For 6 months I visited a Christian counsellor, who helped me reframe my thoughts to set me free from anxiety.
Each week, I was given little ‘homework’ challenges to help me overcome my fears and concerns. Each week we would make the challenges slightly harder, to help release me from the anxiety that was controlling my life.
“It wasn’t until I looked back, that I realised how much of my life had been ruled by anxiety.”
Bit by bit, I was able to re-engage with people, go for dinners out, and regain an active social life. My wife and I rekindled the fun of heading out for social occasions, without the worry of me having some kind of meltdown.
It wasn’t until I looked back, that I realised how much of my life had been ruled by anxiety. I had damaged relationships at university because of it, and had lost friends. It took a serious but loving conversation to help start the process of healing.
Taking Care of Myself
Today, although I still have the occasional moment when anxiety rears its ugly head, I’ve thankfully I surrounded myself with good measures and loving friends to help chart a course out.
And I still occasionally see a counsellor, because I believe “Prehab is better than Rehab”.
While the feelings and concerns brought on by anxiety are real, they shouldn’t dictate how you live life. Christ came so that we can have freedom and release, and in Him we have new hope, and a champion for a better life.
My encouragement to others struggling with mental battles like mine is simple: talk to someone and chart a course out; trust in God and the promises of Jesus.
The passage of the Bible found in Philippians 4:6-7 is always a healthy reminder of what to do when anxiety strikes: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
If you’re struggling or need someone to talk to, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.