Anxiety and Healing Hiding in Plain Sight

“What if healing isn’t the absence of anxiety, but the Presence of Jesus in my anxiety?” Pamela Piquette


“Calm down. There’s no reason to get upset,” my husband says in a quiet, gentle voice.

“I am NOT upset!” I respond angrily. “You’re just not hearing me! Why are you making this so hard?”

Conversations like this have played out countless times in my 35-year marriage. The words might vary, but my frustration only varies by degree. I had no idea anxiety had become my constant life-long companion, so ingrained in who I am that my official diagnosis came as quite a surprise to me (but not to those closest to me).

Yes, I experience anxiety.

It might look like I have it all together, but I feel quite the opposite. Fear and anxiety have hidden for so long behind anger and frustration that I never noticed them.

There are many types of anxiety and anxiety disorders, but the root of mine stems from PTSD that developed during childhood. I learned to cope with the hurt I experienced, to pull myself up by my bootstraps, and to keep going despite what I felt.

While I was undoubtedly fearful of new circumstances and situations, I stuffed that down and simply moved forward. When chronic illness became another constant companion, the never-ending muscle spasms grew into another breeding ground for anxiety.

My friend Anxiety propelled me to accomplish and be recognized for many good things, but most came at a huge hidden cost.

As I’ve learned more about anxiety, I’ve developed a working definition of what it means to me: outward confidence and an intense drive to move forward while experiencing internal uncertainty of completion, success, and others’ approval.

Anxiety - What's See & What's Experienced



While it seems I don’t miss a detail, the reality is that I over-think almost everything, and that comes with a high cost: stress, lack of sleep, anger, frustration, and a deep fear of failure.


Also, I learned to be a people pleaser as a child. Over the years, it became my way of being liked, well-thought-of, and praised – but that came at a cost. Four decades later, I shockingly discovered I didn’t know who I was.

I had learned to be a chameleon, “reading” others and changing my colors to be what the other person in the transaction needed or wanted.

It always stemmed from wanting to be someone who was liked.


My inability to slow down, rest, and find a measure of peace amid anxiety put the ability to appreciate small moments of joy out of reach.


While I can say “No,” I rarely do until I’m overwhelmed and want to quit everything. Saying “No” makes me feel like I don’t measure up – but to what? I feel I don’t measure up to an ever-changing standard that my anxious mind creates.


Failing simply isn’t an option. Everything becomes imperative to do right now. If I don’t immediately do every.single.thing, taking care of every little detail that comes to mind or writing it on a list, I’m afraid I’ll forget, and the whole world will come to an instant end.


I tend to over-plan and tackle every possible eventuality. As a result, I receive accolades for my accomplishments (even though I struggle to accept them). That, in turn, drives me to try to accomplish more, which brings more accolades, which drives me to accomplish more. It’s a vicious cycle.

As I’m learning to recognize my anxiety in disguise, I’m also taking steps toward a new journey of healing.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)


Do not be anxious about anything – I cringe every time I see these words because I’m rarely not anxious. Instead, I often feel that I don’t measure up, that I’m a failure, or (worse) that I’m a disappointment to God.

Perhaps that’s the point.

In my utter insufficiency to manage, stop, or control my anxiety, I come to the end of myself. I’m learning that this verse is not about condemnation but invitation the invitation to lean into the Father’s love, grace, and mercy–an invitation to care for my traumatized soul.


As I reach the end of me, I’m also learning to reach for God. Prayer is simply a way of talking with God about the swirl or avalanche of my anxious thoughts. I often wonder if He is weary of hearing from me again with the same fears and frustrations in a different situation. Yet I’m discovering that it’s safe to be angry or scared, to lament or grieve all the things I’ve bottled up or stuffed down when I come to God in prayer.


This is when I ask God (when I beg Him) to help me enter the elusive rest my mind, body, and spirit are desperate to find. Because my mind often spins out of control, I recite, pray, and personalize the words of Psalm 62:5-6:

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from You. You are my rock and my salvation; You are my fortress; I will not be shaken.


In my anxiety, I often feel isolated, alone, forgotten, and angry – angry that I can’t do everything my mind believes I ought to do, angry that I can’t get others to do some piece of it (or do something more to help me), and angry that I can’t control all the pieces and all the people.

Ultimately, I’m angry at God.

Until recently, I didn’t realize that many of my emotions and much of my anger are directed at my husband. I’m like my grandmother’s old-fashioned pressure cooker. When sealed correctly, the heat creates steam, then the valve on the top whistles and vibrates, carefully releasing excess steam.  However, when the pot isn’t sealed correctly, it will forcefully expel its contents all over the stove, walls, and ceiling, leaving the entire kitchen in a big mess.

Throughout our 30+ years of marriage, my husband has been my release valve, patiently waiting as I vent my frustration, helping me figure out the real issue. Sometimes, my frustration explodes all over him about something else entirely. Yet he stays, welcoming me back from the hard place, even in the middle of the mess.

Then, when I can focus on God’s constant care, provision, and love, my heart and mind can take a long, deep breath.


Oh, how I long for peace where my mind can rest and relax, but far too often (even with the best of intentions), I simply can’t make my mind stop! It just continues to plan, scheme, and wander through an endless list of “to-dos.” While I long for peace, I now realize that it isn’t a thing or a state to achieve, but peace is the person of Jesus, my Prince of Peace, whose arms are wide open, just waiting for me. Jesus is the perfect counselor and guide; His Word provides the place where I can read about, recite, and remember His peace-filled presence.


As long as I can remember, I have hunted for refuge and safety, which always seemed just beyond my reach. Fear that I won’t fit in or will say or do the wrong thing plagues me, so avoiding closeness to others is safer. Holding them at arm’s length seems to offer a measure of protection.

Looking back over my life, I realize God has protected my fragile heart and mind with laughter. I love to laugh and find humor in many situations. Honestly, I believe laughter is a gift from God and sacred to Him. Laughter has the amazing capacity to change a moment of hard, and to act as a pressure release valve, protecting me when I feel the weight of too much anxiety.

A cheerful heart is good medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

Humor has the unshakable ability to break life up into little pieces and make it livable. Laughter adds richness, texture, and color to otherwise ordinary days. It is a gift, a choice, a discipline, and an art, writes Tim Hansel in his book You Gotta Keep Dancin’: In the midst of life’s hurts, you can choose joy!

God is guarding and protecting my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. While anxiety is a part of me, it doesn’t have the power to remove God’s safeguards around me.

Jesus healed many people in many different ways during His earthly ministry. Still, what strikes me most is that each time He healed, He provided a personal and intimate encounter with Himself, the one who truly sees the heart. While anxiety may be my thorn in the flesh or my cross to bear, Jesus is always right beside me.

What if healing isn’t the absence of anxiety but the presence of Jesus in my anxiety?

Happy Bubbles
Pamela Piquette

Pamela Piquette

Executive Director and Co-Founder of Chronic Joy®

Pamela, a leader and a visionary following God's call to inspire those affected by chronic illness, mental illness, and chronic pain, believes that every precious life impacted by illness is both vital and purposed.

Pamela is a wife of more than 35 years, the mom of three married children, and a grandma of six. She is diagnosed with chronic migraines and other chronic conditions. She enjoys baking sourdough bread and chocolate chip cookies, drinking hot tea, being outdoors, and reading (almost always more than one book at a time).

Prayers for Anxiety

Anxiety can make it difficult to find the words to pray. Use these short prayers to guide your thoughts until you are able to find your own. May you find encouragement, comfort , and peace.

Anxiety - Seeking God's Peace


Seeking God's Peace.

Anxiety, fear, and feeling overwhelmed areinvitations to lean into the One who knows us best and loves us completely—theGod of all comfort.


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