Anxiety, PTSD, and the Novel COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic


I took the above picture back on June 12, 2012, while standing in the back yard of the house we lived in at the time, looking across the street toward a church. The dark cloud you see hanging over our yard and the church was a supercell storm cloud. It was more than a block wide, slowly rotating, with lightning flashing back and forth inside the cloud.

Moments after I took that picture, the supercell opened up and pounded our town with torrents of rain and hail the size of a large man’s fists. Our roof was destroyed. The roof on the church was destroyed. Indeed, every roof in town was destroyed by the pounding hail stones, which fell for nearly half an hour.

I thought the world was ending, but it didn’t end. Going on eight years later, we are still here.

And now, once again, with the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, it feels like the world is ending. But I don’t believe that it is. The world has seen worse things and survived.

Early this morning, I walked outside in the backyard with our two dogs and I noticed that the birds were singing and the neighbor’s wind chimes were chiming, while our tall White Mountain Pine tree was dancing in the breeze. Where we live now, instead of a church, we have a view of a small mountain. As I gazed at the mountain, I thought: “The world is not ending. The trees, the clouds, the blue sky, the sunshine, and our mesa mountain, are all still here.”

My husband and I both have PTSD. This time of isolation and terrifying news reports are doing a number on our nerves. We aren’t worried so much for our elderly selves, as we are for our 5 children, our 8 grandchildren, and our 5-going-on-6 great-grandchildren, who are scattered all across the country, from Washington state, to California, Arizona, here in New Mexico, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York. Dear Lord, please protect our children and grandchildren!

Sometimes when I read yet another alarming news story, I feel panic trying to take over my mind and my body. I feel weak, totally out of energy, and bowled over by the stress and uncertainty of it all. But — when I focus my attention on the goodness of God and the evidence of His incredible creation all around us, I am at peace.

Our church has gone to having services on YouTube and keeping in touch by group texts. Our pastors have asked us to pray through Psalms 91 every day. Here it is, in the King James version. (I like several different versions of the Bible. But out of respect for my followers who only read the KJV, I am using that version here).

Psalm 91
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Without my Christian faith, I know I would be stressing way more than I am right now. I was agnostic, almost an atheist, for many years. I thought that with my Mensa IQ, I was “too intelligent” to believe in God and other “fairy tales.” But an all-out search for Truth a number of years ago, ultimately led me to believe in Christ, because the preponderance of the evidence compelled me to believe. After I turned my life over to the Lordship of Jesus the Messiah, everything in my life changed — including my ability to live with my complex, and almost lifelong, PTSD!

If you are sitting on the fence like I was for so long about the existence of God, now would be a good time to do some research into the ultimate question. Here is a link to an incredible website that is rich with the kind of scientific and historical facts that turned my thinking around:

Thank you for stopping by. Take care of yourself, and try not to beat yourself up for having some perfectly normal feelings of anxiety and unrest during this trying time. Here’s a safe social distancing grandma ((HUG)) for my readers. I love you beautiful people. I really do. ❤❤❤

The picture below is one that I took of our mountain view from our back porch last December. I don’t remember ever seeing a sunrise like this one!


The Really Weird Way That I Stopped Myself From Having Panic Attacks

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Earlier today, Lauren on Lucky Otters Haven wrote a post called: Panic attacks, dissociation, and my son’s anxiety issues. A brilliant writer, Lauren explains panic attacks in such a vivid way that if you’ve never had one, after reading her post, you will have a very good idea of what they are like.

After growing up with all kinds of trauma and abuse, I began having severe panic attacks in my adolescence. These attacks continued, with increasing frequency and intensity, during my teens and early twenties. Most of my panic attacks were just as horrific as Lauren describes.

Here is something weird I accidentally discovered that helped me stop having the worst kind of panic attacks. I told a therapist about this years ago, and he said it actually made sense that doing this would stop my panics. He explained the reason why, but I didn’t really understand his explanation, and I have long since forgotten what he said.

Every time I had a major panic attack, with the exception of the last one, I would try with all of my might to make the panic stop. Especially when it happened in public, because the embarrassment of strangers looking at me like I was looney tunes, made the horror even worse. But it did not matter how hard I struggled to stop being panicked, the panic attacks were completely beyond my control.

One day I was in a busy mall in the city of Houston, surrounded by people, when THE WORLD IS ENDING RIGHT NOW AND I AM ABOUT TO DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH sensation flooded all through me. But this time, instead of trying to stop my panicked feelings, knowing that it was futile to try, I got MAD. The reason for my anger is because I was sick and tired of going through panic attack HELL every other day or so, at random times and in random places. The panic attacks were ruining my life!

In my anger, I did something perverse. I decided that, instead of futiley trying to STOP my fear, I was going to do the exact opposite and try, on purpose, to INCREASE my fear — to the maximum! I know how crazy this sounds. I was just so fed up at that point, I guess my mind was done with trying to be “rational!”

So, I did it. What I mean is, I TRIED to do it. Instead of trying to calm my racing heart and my hyperventilating breaths, I tried to make my breathing go faster and my heart pound harder than ever before. Instead of trying to calm the unbearable, overwhelming panic sensations, I tried to make my fear worse! By golly, I was so freaking ANGRY, that I was going for the World Record of Panic Attacks!

Can you guess what happened? My panic attack stopped — almost immediately. And, I have never had a full-blown panic attack, since that day! Moments of anxiety, yes. Episodes of feeling a mild depersonalization or dissociation. But never again, in approximately four decades of living through life’s ups and downs, have I had another full-fledged panic. Yet, prior to my weird “reverse psychology” attempt to make my panic worse, I was having these hellish attacks several times a week. Sometimes several in a day!

I wish I could remember what the therapist told me years ago about why this worked for me. Something about there being power in not fighting the fear, in going with the fear, which ultimately gave me control over my fear — maybe? I don’t know for sure, I just know that for me, this worked!

I hope this will work for Lauren ‘s son, and for anyone else who may read this and decide to try it. But please bear in mind that I am not a therapist or any kind of a medical professional. If you are having panic attacks, seeing a licensed therapist and asking their advice before trying this, would be a good idea. I am not responsible if you try this on your own and you give yourself a heart attack or your head blows up! 😀

One last thing: I am now a Christian, meaning that I believe in and follow Christ Jesus as my Savior and my Lord. However, I was agnostic, almost an atheist, back in the days when I was having panic attacks so bad, that they put me in hospital emergency rooms on several occasions. My point is: perhaps if I had been a Christian then, praying to God and quoting bible verses about not living in fear, may have helped me? I don’t know. But for where I was at the time, because I did not believe, when I tried praying or reciting something like Psalm 23, it had zero effect on my panic.

Thank you for reading, and God bless.