I like the phrase " category five anxiety storm"! It describes what I go through two or three times a week, though if they were actual storms I’d be able to forecast that they’re coming. As it is, things can be puttering along tolerably well then out of the blue everything is scary and I can’t make decisions because every option feels disastrous.
I wish he’d gone into at least some of the anxiety issues about his mom; I remember as a kid carrying a load of anxiety constantly because we were never sure what mom might blow up about next. If we broke rule X, one day that could bring a lecture, another day just a reminder of the rule, another day a full-blown spanking/whipping accompanied by an almost screamed lecture.
“…It’s not just you’re feeling tired, you’re feeling like your brain is fracturing, your very self is splintering into a thousand pieces.”
I get days like that several times a month, not because of sleep deprivation but because of constantly being on high alert, jumping at any unexpected noise, certain something is about to go terribly wrong.
“Too often it’s been seen as an obstacle to spiritual growth, perhaps even a sin.”
I got that at one church when an elder learned I was taking lithium. I was “trusting in godless science” and “hiding behind a chemical” and other such crap.
“So all anxiety is, is about fear of some future event, future loss, especially loss of our lives, loss of something we value. So it’s not actually responding to a real concrete fear that is present before us. It’s not responding to a saber-tooth tiger. It’s responding to the possibility of a saber-tooth tiger lurking out there somewhere in the darkness”
I’d say that doesn’t quite cover it – it’s not just responding to the possibility of a known cause of fear, it can also be responding to the possibility of an unknown cause of fear. My younger brother went through a period where he was terrified of talking telephones; he couldn’t articulate why a phone might be dangerous to just pick up a phone and either answer a call or call someone, but the dread didn’t respond to reason. I recall another instance when someone for no evident reason was suddenly terrified of getting off the toilet and so sat there waiting for someone to get home though unable to say why that would help.
" Because it turns out that God’s ultimate scenario for us in the future, the true scenario for the future is actually not an avoidance of loss. It’s actually going through loss. That is the ultimate promise we are given as Christians."
That’s so hard to get across in a right-now, me-centered society! And that’s a big reason that I despise preachers like Joel Osteen who insist that Jesus wants your every moment to be happy; they totally invert the whole point of the Gospel, which isn’t about escaping troubles but embracing them. I pick on Osteen especially because I know some people who listen to him constantly and their lives are total messes because they have imbibed the notion that Jesus came to make them comfortable and happy and they end up resenting everything about life that isn’t comfortable or happy, and resenting everyone and everything that they think has stolen some of the happiness they deserve.