Archives for Religion

Anxiety

Anxious About Joining A New Religious Community?

(Editor's note: the following guest post is written by Jared Cave, a Christian campus minister who works with college-aged students. I'm always looking for ways to offer my readers with new perspectives about anxiety from all walks of life.)

I have spent 27 years of my life in and around church communities. Growing up in a church-attending family, studying at a Christian college, and now working as a college minister in an evangelical Christian organization -- you could call me a professional churchgoer.

There's certainly some anxiety associated with setting foot into any type of religious meeting, building, or service. As a professional, I am -- obviously -- able to handle every single situation regarding faith. (Kidding, kidding.) But seriously, I'm very comfortable in church.

I know when to show up, where to sit, and even how to dress for different church settings. (If it’s an old Presbyterian church, you'd better go with business casual -- but if its a young and weirdly-named non-denominational church, you should dress like Mark Zuckerburg does at the office.)

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK PEW

But if you're new, you probably don't share my comfort level -- maybe for one of the following reasons:
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Agoraphobia

Anxiety Society: Meet Angie Jackson, Her Atheism, and Her PTSD

(This is the third post in a new series called “Anxiety Society,” in which I interview everyday anxiety suffers from all walks of life about their struggles, their triumphs, their coping methods, and more. I believe that the more we openly talk about our mental health, the less of a “thing” it becomes. Conversation can reduce stigma, and my interviewees want to be a part of that.)

Meet Angie Jackson. She's a mother of a 6-year-old and a sufferer of both Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. After growing up medically neglected in a fundamentalist Christian cult, she stepped aside from religion and now proclaims herself as an atheist/anti-theist. Currently agoraphobic, she has a difficult time leaving her house unaccompanied.

If Angie's name sounds familiar to you, there's good reason. In early 2010, Angie made the news when she live-tweeted her abortion after an IUD implant failed to protect her from pregnancy. Unlike most women who elect to abort, Angie found herself in the national spotlight because of her decision to go public.

Summer: It's sort of hard to decide where to begin, so I'll start with a question about something we very clearly have in common: an anxiety problem. Are you diagnosed with an anxiety disorder? How does anxiety manifest itself for you?

Angie: I was diagnosed with GAD in 2008, but I think I've had anxiety for much longer than that. I was also diagnosed with PTSD in 2008, which gradually became enough of a problem the two sort of combined into the social anxiety/agoraphobia I have now. I get panic attacks when I feel anxious. My palms get tingly, my heart races, and I start sweating. I have a hard time thinking clearly or articulating myself, which in turn makes me feel more panic-stricken. I try to avoid getting to that point for the most part.

You were part of a fundamentalist Christian cult when you growing up. Is that where the anxiety began, or did it wait until you became an adult to make an appearance?

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