Tackling the unwanted guests of anxiety and panic
Christian therapist Tracy McCarron-Row runs workshops on combating anxiety in Norwich. This is Tracy’s own story of tackling her unwanted guests.
As I woke up there she was again staring at me. “Oh God I cried, I can’t do this anymore”, as tears rolled down my cheeks. The more I told her she was not welcome, and that I was not going to put up with her, the larger she seemed to grow.
Then, I realised, once again, she was going to be journeying with me through another day. Hopelessness and despair filled my soul as I prayed for my constant companion to disappear… but she did not. Anxiety had come to stay!
This was my reality for months as I tried to navigate being a wife, mother, ministry leader, friend and having this unwanted companion. One Mother’s Day, anxiety brought panic with her that day. I remember knowing I could not face going to my own church, carrying the guilt that the ladies ministry leader, could not lead herself.
Therefore, my two children went to our church with my husband, and I took anxiety and panic with me to another church where I could be anonymous. Never would I have believed that this ‘act of failure’ would became the first stepping stone on my remarkable journey through anxiety.
The speaker spoke, and I felt I was to ask her if she had every struggled with poor mental health. She confessed she had struggled with anxiety and shared her story of how God had led her to a secular training course which taught her how to practically ‘renew her mind’, and ‘take captive my thoughts’ (Rom 12 v1, 2 Cor 10 v 5), and that it had changed her life completely. The only down side was that this course was £600! With no savings, I knew that if God wanted me to go, He would have to provide it and that is exactly what He did!
I was terrified going on the course as I felt so ‘broken’ but quickly realised that my trainer was speaking from experience. She put my heart at ease as I saw living proof in her life that it worked.
This course was the start of an amazing transformation in my life. It was not an easy journey, and it took real commitment and hard work, to put into practice daily the tools I had learnt. However, after some time I saw just how much my life changed. Others noticed the difference to. Truly, Prov 24v7 was a reality for me now.
God then started to speak to me from the story of Elijah, that after His period in the cave, God told him ‘to go back where I had come from’. “Back into anxiety God are you kidding, I just got out of that pit, why on earth would I ever want to go back again?”, I questioned. Then I remembered that God wants to use our mess as a message of hope for others. So, knowing how many people are struggling like I was, in obedience, I told God I was willing to go back to help others.
I therefore proceeded to get some qualifications, and started my therapist training in March 2016 and in September 2017 set up my own business called True Colour Transformations Ltd. I started doing 1-2-1 therapy sessions, helping people with anxiety, depression etc.
Then, through a series of circumstances, God spoke to me about rewriting an old course I had written on identity and mental well-being and making it available to young people. So, I revamped it and in fear and trepidation, approached a local high school and asked if we could pilot it with their young people, and incredibly they said yes.
We had such an overwhelming positive response from both the young people and staff that we now run this course in several different high schools, and God is opening incredible doors of influence, we can hardly keep up! We have had the privilege of seeing young lives transformed before our eyes and becoming the ‘True Colour’ God made them to be. This made going through my darkness worth it to bring others light.
A few months ago, God placed a desire in my heart to write an affordable course giving people tools and techniques to overcome anxiety specifically, and that is when the B.E.A.T.T.S course was birthed. We have piloted it with two groups of young women, and it has proved very effective.
Now we want to make it accessible to more women (and eventually to our wonderful men!) who, like myself, have had anxiety as a constant unwanted companion. I am passionate helping others find the freedom and peace I have, and believe it is time for us to face anxiety in the face and serve her an eviction notice.
Read more about Tracy and her work here.