Lying on my back, naked except for a sheet draped over my lower body, arms tucked behind my head, I’m feeling vulnerable and exposed. The radiotherapist leaves the room. I’m all alone. I begin to panic as I anticipate the beams of radiation about to penetrate my skin.
I don’t like change.
A room lit only by candles. Soft music playing in the background. A worn but unbelievably soft and comfortable armchair beside a roaring fire. A mug of hot chocolate topped with two marshmallows. You, wrapped in a hand-knitted blanket, seated on the armchair, the mug in your hands.
Graeme Frauenfelder, 56, didn’t realise until he was an adult that he was the victim of a mental health problem that affects 1.8 per cent of Australian males and 1.7 per cent of females. He’d assumed that his feelings were typical of any kid. But Graeme’s problem has a name. It’s bipolar disorder, which used to be called manic depression. Bipolar disorder is characterised by ecstatic highs and dark lows. Graeme has been hospitalised a number of times because of it. Fortunately, he’s now able to better manage it.
Mainstream culture has tried to airbrush guilt out of everyday life. It’s the ultimate social faux pas, it seems, to make someone feel guilty—How dare you judge me! Or maybe it’s the penultimate faux pas, because what’s even worse than making someone feel guilty inside is to shame them in front of others.
What feeds our fear in times of crisis, such as this pandemic we are in? How can we avoid letting fear paralyze our search for information and our ability to make the right decisions?
“You are always afraid people will judge you or know your weakness. It’s like being totally naked in front of a huge crowd,” says Bruno Feldeisen about the hidden struggle he had with anxiety.
Carolynn Yakush inherited her taste for the good life from her Czech grandparents, and her interest in faith from her mother and the Christian schools she went to. For many years, the desire for money and a life of luxury overshadowed her spiritual and religious concerns. One day, almost without thinking about it, she entered a church again, and was amazed at the strong feeling of belonging she felt.
When you discover that the only thing you have left is faith in God, you fervently wish that your faith doesn't end up poisoning your soul.
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength,” says Corrie ten Boom, thus underlining a truth all Christians burdened by worry should remember.
Daily stress is a good excuse to avoid other people's needs, but this choice is a double loss. The kindness we display to make other people's days better is a very strong antidote to the high level of stress we experience daily.
“To be fearless may be a gift. However, the most precious one is, probably, the courage resulting from developing the habit of not allowing fear to dictate your actions”, says the renowned Nobel Peace Prize winner and democracy activist in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, in her essay titled “Free from fear”.
There is no monster under the bed—that much is certain. But how do you convince your child of this, when they come to you, for the hundredth time, with the same fear? When you constantly use the same unheeded command, "Stop fooling around and go to sleep!", this is a sign that you need to learn more about your child's anxiety, and how you can fight it together.
Last year, most of us were blindsided when we entered our local supermarket, trudged down the toilet paper aisle and were confronted with extended shelves of emptiness. Somewhat disappointed and definitely a little bit anxious (especially if we were running low on the soft, white goodness), we began to wonder how long it would be before we sighted toilet paper again.
Stress and anxiety are some of the most commonly used words today; we all have felt at least once in our lives what they mean and what effects they have. Are there any truly effective ways to overcome stress and anxiety?