ANTI-FEAR THER­APY

Activated - - NEWS - By Anna Per­lini Anna Per­lini is a co­founder of Per un Mondo Migliore,¹ a hu­man­i­tar­ian or­ga­ni­za­tion ac­tive in the for­mer Yu­goslavia since 1995.

I was clean­ing up my brushes and paint cans af­ter some vol­un­teers and I fin­ished paint­ing a large mu­ral for the lo­cal Sun­day school when Maxim passed me a note:

I was re­ally en­cour­aged to meet and work on this project with peo­ple like you, so full of faith and pos­i­tive­ness. Can you please re­mem­ber to say a prayer for me, as I’m go­ing through a very tough time in my life? Thank you.

I was rather sur­prised, as he didn’t ap­pear to be some­one with a lot of prob­lems. He was a suc­cess­ful, well­man­nered, friendly gen­tle­man.

Some months later, Maxim in­vited me to his home for din­ner. It was then that he con­fided how he had been bat­tling for years with de­bil­i­tat­ing panic at­tacks that pre­vented him hav­ing a full so­cial life. Lately, even just the fear of hav­ing an attack was enough to dis­cour­age him from go­ing out. Ther­apy hadn’t seemed to help, and he was so ashamed of his con­di­tion that he’d be­gun mak­ing up ex­cuses when­ever he was in­vited to an event.

As he was shar­ing this, I felt I could re­late, as I had also ex­pe­ri­enced a re­cur­rent fear that brought on dis­tress and worry, al­beit milder than his.

For sev­eral years fol­low­ing a car ac­ci­dent, I had be­come very fear­ful of driv­ing, par­tic­u­larly on busy high­ways. My heart would start beat­ing faster and I’d break into a cold sweat, and even­tu­ally I started dread­ing get­ting into any kind of ve­hi­cle. It took a while to get over, so I un­der­stood what Maxim was go­ing through.

Maxim told me more about his con­di­tion. At first, I just lis­tened, then I told him about my own ex­pe­ri­ence.

“How were you able to over­come this?” he asked ea­gerly.

I shared how trust­ing in Je­sus, pray­ing, and lis­ten­ing to up­lift­ing mu­sic was the key. Things didn’t change for me in­stantly, and even now I oc­ca­sion­ally have small bouts of the same fear, but th­ese mostly serve to re­mind me of how far I’ve al­ready come. Be­fore the evening ended, we prayed to­gether for him to learn to en­trust his fears to Je­sus.

The good news is that af­ter a few months of fol­low­ing the same “ther­apy” as I had, Maxim was freed from his panic at­tacks. He has re­sumed his so­cial life, started trav­el­ing again, and opened up his home and heart to other needy sit­u­a­tions.

1. http://www.pe­run­mon­domigliore.org/

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