How to cope with an anxiety disorder

Four years ago I thought I was having heart problems and it scared me. When I was diagnosed with an anxiety/panic disorder, it was a relief in a way. Now I know what to pray for, specifically.

This is what helped me:

1. Go to a doctor to receive a diagnosis to make sure of the problem. Pray before you go and follow the Spirit in deciding what the best therapy is for you.

2. Receive priesthood blessings. Through these blessings, I felt impressed to know what I needed to do for myself.

3. Read the scriptures and other uplifting Church literature or books. When you're having an anxiety attack, sometimes it's hard to do anything. But if you have been reading on a regular basis, that gives you something to draw upon for strength and knowledge.

4. Gain support of spouse and family members. Sometimes it is hard for them to understand exactly what you feel. But if they can give you the love, support and comfort that you need, as my husband did, it makes a big difference in overcoming the problem.

5. Learn what thoughts or events trigger physiological responses. I learned to recognize the pending anxiety and think to myself, "Oh, it's just my anxiety thing." A lot of times, just recognizing the problem diminishes it.

6. Eat healthily, get plenty of sleep, and try to avoid stressful situations. Because anxiety/panic attack disorder is a physical condition where the nerves have been damaged, it is important that they can repair themselves.

7. Pray to Heavenly Father for a calm feeling to know that everything is all right. When I start feeling anxious over a real situation, such as concern for the safety of a child away from home, sometimes it is hard to know if it is a real problem or just my condition. When that calm feeling comes, then I know it is my condition and that gives me the strength that I need to overcome. — Judy Brown, Kearns, Utah

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