Sunday, September 13, 2009

Another comment on anxiety (ch 8)

Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges

Chapter 8 - Anxiety and Frustration

After posting about this chapter on Friday - a good friend raised an important issue regarding anxiety:

What about the person who suffers from severe and debilitating anxiety? Anxiety is a medical condition. It is very unhelpful to suggest that it is a sin.

I see exactly what this person means, and I am ashamed to admit that this issue did not cross my mind as I read the chapter and subsequently wrote the post. For someone who struggles with severe anxiety, which is also often closely linked with depression, adding more guilt by labelling their situation as sinful is unhelpful at best and ungodly at worst. If I offended anyone by my comments on this chapter, I sincerely apologise - I do not want to add to the burdens you already feel.

Having re-read the chapter again, my suspicion is that Bridges is not suggesting this either - but I do think that it would have been helpful to distinguish between general anxiety (that many people feel at various times) and anxiety disorders. I feel certain he is talking about general anxiety. However, I agree with my friend - it would have been helpful for that to have been clearer.

An article downloaded from the Beyond Blue website includes some of the following information on anxiety:
What is an anxiety disorder?
We all feel anxious from time to time however, for some people, these anxious feelings are overwhelming and cannot be brought under control easily. An anxiety disorder is more than just feeling stressed – it’s a serious condition that makes it hard for the person to cope from day to day.

How common are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders are very common. One in four people will experience an anxiety disorder at some stage in their lives.

Types of anxiety disorders
There is a range of anxiety disorders. The six most common disorders are:
1. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which involves the person feeling anxious and worried on most days over six months or more.
2. Specific Phobia
3. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
5. Panic Disorder
6. Social Phobia.

Anxiety disorders are common, but the sooner you get help, the sooner you can learn to control these conditions, so they don’t control you.

Summarised from Anxiety Disorders Information card, downloadable from this link.

If you are someone who is struggling with a level of anxiety that affects your daily life, there are a number of places to go to start to get help:
All of these sites have some guidelines to help diagnose anxiety disorders - but you should also see a doctor.

I really welcome comments that point out areas that I have missed or been unhelpful. Thanks.

1 comment:

Timothy said...

A great post Wendy.
Very helpful to distinguish between general anxiety and anxiety disorders. I do think God asks us not to be anxious and to pray. Unfortunately this is not always enough to stop severe symptoms of anxiety.

Love Amellia