My name is Justine, 31 years of age, since I can remember I used to suffer from anxiety but never got to understand it, the feelings that I felt. My Mom used to take me to doctors and psychologists, all of them gave me the same thing, just another pill.

We could never understand why my feelings would be so sensitive and overwhelmed. Perhaps I should have started to explain what it is to feel sever anxiety for those who never got to feel it. Let me explain to you a few feelings I experienced – raised heartbeat, closed chest (struggling to breath, sometimes it was difficult to breath), shaking, dry mouth, fear of failing and not having it perfect, moody and then our friend, depression. In my everyday life I had anxiety, everything I did, said and so forth was filled with the thoughts of fear.

When I got older I got to understand the emotions and feelings more, and tried to overcome some of the feelings, by drinking and being a rebel. I think to this day my parents are still trying to recover. (hehe) Anyway, things got better, and we finally saw my Dad friend’s, wife she lived her life for God and her healing was purely from God.

“Take care that your hearts aren’t dulled by drinking parties, drunkenness, and the anxieties of day-to-day life. Don’t let that day fall upon you unexpectedly, – Luke 21:34 CEB

She prayed for my parents first and lastly for me, and we were healed form all the roots and chains which were getting us down. I did well for many years and finally could be more relaxed about life and all the punches it throws, till the day I became a Mother. Anxiety was my second name and I practiced this on my child, I then realized that I have become even more anxious with things she’ll do or say or eat… anything she did was a stress button for me.

I started getting so anxious about anything and everything that I would have attacks at work, where I couldn’t breath and felt like giving up. So, after many visits to my general doctor she referred me to a physiatrist whom then admitted me into a psychiatric hospital.

This was a very emotional time for me. When you arrive, they take EVERYTHING away from you, all you have are your clothes and certain toiletries. Your phone was packed away in a safe and you were only allowed to have it at 5am to 9am and then 7pm to 9pm. Your daily routine would be something like this; you wake up at 5am, take your pills, get coffee at 7am and started with social classes at 8am. These classes help you deal with your anxiety and the explain what anxiety is etc.

I have to say a lot of these groups did help a lot. We all think our situation is so bad until you meet someone with a greater problem. I met a young girl, perhaps 17 in the hospital, and she suffered from severe depression, the scary part is she was so dosed up with pills that I don’t even think she knew where she was. When my journey ended in this hospital I realized that all this was unreal and that I have made this much more than just a small thought.

Just after I got released from the hospital I wrote a column to the Advertiser as they had an offer for people to write, so I wrote a piece called “It’s all in your head”. My friends never got to understand what emotions I went through because of suffering from constant severe anxiety, I would “freak” out because I send a message, and no one replies, or I would walk into a building where I know everyone and would wonder what they we’re thinking of me, or I would think of unrealistic things… These emotions are only in the head, yes, but they are in fact feelings one feels. It is like having a stomach pain, no one can see it, but it is in fact real, so not everyone can put on a bandage on it and go on with your day.

Justine and her daughter

After the whole changing of everything, I met an old friend and she told me about these women camps they attend once a month in Pretoria, so I went with her to see how and what it’s about… just to let you know throughout all my life I did believe in God, but never did I know what I know now. I joined them at their monthly camp and I realized that I was holding onto so many past memories, chained down and never realized how much God actually loves me! I got to feel the Holy Spirit. I walked out of that camp on the Sunday with a whole new attitude, because I came to the realization that I was a child of God, His brown eyed girl. That Sunday I took all my pills and threw it away, putting my faith and trust in God.

I must admit each day was horrible, when you get off those pills it is exactly like a drug addict trying to leave drugs. Heart palpitation, dry mouth, severe headaches, nausea and you start to feel detached from yourself, but I pushed through, I knew that I wasn’t alone, and that God was with me, in fact He never left me… everyday got easier until I had absolutely no more side effects. I DEFEATED THIS. I made this with God next to me. It’s been nearly 2 and a half years since I threw the pills away. I have been walking this path with God and not with my anxiety/fear.

“Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.
– Philippians 4: 6 “

I have been walking an awesome road with God and He is an amazing Teacher, Light of my life, He showed me that He loves me and that I am enough. I am enough in His eyes and my purpose is worth so much more that what I felt.

“Throw all your anxiety onto Him, because He cares about you” – 1 Peter 5:7

We have to learn to keep praying and worshiping, believing in our Almighty God, our one and only King, and remember that God will not bring you to it if He can’t walk you through it. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who suffer from anxiety and helped them because of my confession, and today I am thankful I went through this, it has enabled me to help other people and to be a witness of God’s huge love for us.

Don’t ever forget the following; He will never forsake you, He died on the cross for our sins and we are forgiven for our sins, so believe in His word and live it. No more fear only God’s love.

Whenever I’m afraid, I put my trust in You – Psalms 56:3