Oh baby please believe me / the shaking fears won't leave me

(I’m putting this here in IMHO because I’d like to hear your stories of high anxiety moments, and I’d like advice if you have any.)
Ever get the shaking fears? I got them something awful last night.

Here’s the situation:

I’m 23 and I currently live in Silver Spring, MD with my best friend. I work full-time and she’s a grad student. Next September, she is transferring to another university in Indiana. I will be staying in this area and will need to find a new apartment in August.

I’m also a fairly religious person (an ardent Catholic, as someone on the board once called himself), and so is my roommate.

The two of us had been praying about her transfer. After she was accepted and went to visit the campus and returned confident that this new school was the right place for her, I was pretty cool with the situation. I figured this was God’s plan for her (she’s going for her PhD in philosophy, and the new school has one of the best philosophy programs in the country), and since He’s taking care of her, He would take care of me, too.

I had a few moments of anxiety, but my only worry was finding an affordable apartment close to my job (I work in Bethesda :eek: ). I felt pretty confident that everything would work out and I’d be okay.

Until last night.

My roommate and I were talking about all sorts of things, and I casually mentioned that I had been entertaining thoughts of moving to No. Virginia. She began to tell me, almost in lecture-fashion, that she thought I was making a big mistake by staying in this area by myself, that I would be very unhappy and I wouldn’t be able to do it (whatever that means).

I was startled, and irritated. I told her I didn’t think that at all – I already have a job here, I know the area pretty well, I lived by myself in college, etc. I also don’t want to move closer to her or my family, because I know that it would be hard for my job to replace me, at least until next year, because of the projects I’m involved in and the big project that I have to work on in the summer. She told me she thought my reasoning was “weird” and that she didn’t buy it.

I left the room at this point, because I was getting angry. A few minutes later, she came in to talk to me and apologize. She admitted that she felt awkward about leaving me (we’ve been best friends since grade school). I calmed down, and we began to talk of other things. Eventually, the conversation turned to a woman we know, who had been sexually abused by her father when she was a child. My roommate told me that this woman had confided to her that as a child she had prayed that her father would stop abusing her, but the abuse didn’t stop until she left the house at 18.

After this, I went to bed, and that’s when the fear hit me.

What if I can’t find an apartment? What if I can’t take care of myself on my own and something happens to me, like a mugging or worse? And then it got worse…if God wouldn’t help a little girl from being raped by her own father, how could I trust that He would help me? How do I even know that I’m not praying to empty air? What if there is no God?

This doubt made me feel very guilty – I had just been reading about St. Therese of Lisieux and what she said about lack of trust wounding Christ through to the heart. But I couldn’t help it! I was scared, and I couldn’t talk myself down. I cried until 2 am, slept until 4:30, cried until 8 am, then hauled myself to my office so I could search the internet for apartment listings and write this post. I was planning to go to Confession this afternoon anyway, so I’m going to talk to my priest about this, and hopefully I’ll calm down.

Does this ever happen to any of you – not necessarily a faith crisis, but a huge overwhelming wave of anxiety that threatens to drown you, with no relief in sight? How do you make the fear go away?

Also, anybody know of some cheap, safe apartments in Montgomery County? :slight_smile:

Tuesday night, at 2 am I woke up drenched in sweat about not paying my taxes yet, then woke up at 4 am worried about my lease not being renewed (it’s not up until the end of June). I’m devout Episcopalian, but I’m human. Hang in there!


It’s my belief that God isn’t there to “bail” you out of situations. Rather He gives you the gifts you need to bail yourself out or to help yourself heal after a bad situation. God doesn’t stop people from doing “bad” things because He has given us free will. And with free will you inevitably get the bad with the good.

It is not unusual to have a crisis of faith…in God and in yourself. Especially after someone you love expressed a lack of faith in you. And especially when you are confronting a big change.

Take this as a challenge. You’re young and resilient. What’s the worse case scenario? You can’t pay your rent? You’ll survive. But you’ll be better for it because you at least went up to bat and took a swing. A lot don’t even get that far.

Good luck!

I’ve thought a lot about that subject, and I would say that God certainly does bail people out of situations. I could name you a few that I feel strongly are examples.

I’m well aware of the types of examples you gave (horrible things happening to innocents), and it’s just those sorts of things that made me have trouble with God.

I’ve come up with a theory about this:

God lets things happen that people want to happen. If people want bad things to happen, i.e., if they want to sin, he almost always lets them, even if those sins really hurt someone else. We are not universally protected from other people. This is the outcome of giving the planet over to humans.

I’m very convinced that praying about things can affect them. It’s just a lot harder when those circumstances are controlled by people other than yourself. They may have an active interest in resisting the good.

one time i was paralyzed by the fear my SO lost his interest in me. of course, it was just pms

I am more of a “can do” person, for lack of a better description. I always believe that I can find a way to do what I what to do. When it comes to finding an apt., just like finding a job, it takes work. Not hopes or prayers. I also believe that it’s important to learn how to not be a victim of a mugging. There are self-defense classes, & there is info. about how to carry yourself so that you don’t look like the type of person who is very vulnerable. Maybe if one has extreme anxiety, counseling might be appropriate. I don’t think I offered any comfort here. I am just trying to be practical. Good luck.

“We’re all alone out there and tommorow we have to out there again”.

If you’ve got a decent job and (this is the tricky part) you do the footwork and actuallt LOOK for an apartment, then you’ll find one. You may need to have another roommate if your finances are limited.

God helps those who help themselves.

I forgot to give you the practical stuff, but you seem to have done it. Check the apartment listings, walk proud, acknowledge the fear for what it is, and talk to those who can help. Tuesday night I was determined to worry, but I told myself I was being irrational, and Wednesday evening I located the paperwork to do my taxes. As for the lease not being renewed, I asked myself for a sensible reason why it wouldn’t be, and couldn’t come up with one. My rent has been paid on time and in full each month and the landlord wants a long-term tenant. Remember the joke about 2 boats and a helicopter (if you don’t know it, I’ll post it or e-mail it), and remember that after the burning bush there was 40 years of walking. I’ve found that fears faced are usually not half as bad as they seem, but they can still be pretty scary in the wee hours of the morning.

Again, good luck,

“God helps those who help themselves.”

I believe that, too. My father likes to say, “Trust in God but do your own homework.”

I did some online apartment hunting and found a few complexes a few miles north of here that I’ll look at, and then I’ll look at the ads in the City Paper. I never thought that God would, like, drop an apartment listing on me from the sky…I just told myself I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a place to live. Now I know I do have to worry, just enough to motivate me to settle my affairs.

I think of myself as a pretty capable person. I’m sensible and resourceful, and my life is in good order. That’s why I was shocked that my best friend thought I would flounder on my own, and that’s what sparked the doubt and anxiety. But she’s wrong.

I’m square with God now, too. I thought further about the woman who had been molested for so long – she’s doing very well now and is clearly a strong, wise person. A great deal of good has come out of her experience. God may not stop horrible things from happening to innocents, but I’m sure he helps the innocents heal from their injuries, and maybe even become better than they were before.
Thank you all for your encouragement. CJ, it sounds like you’ve tamed your worries – I hope everything works out well for you.

Uhhm gallows fodder

don’t bet too much against that. Last June, I knew I needed an apartment, but I was putting it off because I’d spent a fair amount of money for new brakes for the car when a co-worker mentioned he was giving up the lease on his place. I agreed to have a look at the place, but I wasn’t expecting to be interested. On the way to it, I remember saying something the along the lines of, “OK, God, if the bathroom will match a blue bathmat (long story), I’ll take that as a sign.” That was not the only factor, but the upshot is I’m about to go have a bath in my nice blue-floral wallpapered bathroom. :wink:

Hang in there, feel free to e-mail me directly if you need to, and try to remember you’re not alone. I’m not as together as I seem, but I am working on it.