MARCH 2016


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Spotlight on Anxiety
Navigating the Experience of Anxiety
On the Shelf

Dear friends,

I am grateful we are able to celebrate the truth of the Resurrection. He is risen indeed, and because of that we too anticipate a time when our tears are gone and death and disease will be no more.

Until then, I believe we at Associates (and you as a member of the Associates family) have been called to participate in the work of restoring health and pursuing wholeness in our community.

This issue takes a closer look specifically at those who deal with anxiety. This is a very needed place for our therapists to step in and partner with people who are hurting.

Fear and anxiety can seem to be this force, almost like a bully inside a person’s own mind, that is hard to see past. Our therapists do such good work to help clients navigate what is true and real.

Also, our banquet is drawing close! Don’t miss hearing Mark Whitacre, our speaker. His story is dynamic and full of God’s faithfulness. It is also a great time to gather with others who care about mental health care in our community.

Thank you for your connection and commitment to Associates. We could not do what we do without your help!

In Christ,

Heath Greene
Executive Director

Mark wore a wire for the FBI while traveling and working in a high-powered, pressure-filled environment for three years. His journey was complicated by undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Mark’s story is also about hope, family commitment, redemption, second chances, and a wonderful example of a family overcoming extreme adversity, against all odds.

Spotlight on Anxiety

Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. Most people would feel some amount of worry or fear when a problem arises at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. But an anxiety disorder involves more than temporary worry or fear.

For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Signs and Symptoms:

  • Excessive anxiety or worry for months and face several anxiety-related symptoms.
  • Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling the worry
  • Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)

Source: NIMH (National Institutes of Mental Health)

Navigating the Experience of Anxiety

Anxiety can take on various shapes: long-term generalized anxiety, a reaction to trauma, social anxiety, and panic attacks.

When any sort of anxiety begins to take away from normal functioning, it’s time to seek help and support, says Georgia Youssef, therapist at Associates.

“People come in when the anxiety is affecting their functioning in some way,” Youssef says. “There’s an overall feeling that the way you live your life is changing in response to the anxiety.”

Youssef describes a variety of treatments that work for clients with anxiety. They range from cognitive behavioral therapy and breathing techniques to referrals for medication.

“Of course, what works is different for different people,” she says. “But what’s always helpful is for clients to begin to understand what is actually happening to them with their anxiety.”

She described what happens to clients who experience panic attacks.
“Bodies are programmed to react to danger. God built that in us to help us survive,” she says. “What happens to someone dealing with anxiety is that the body ‘turns on’ that response but there is no danger.”

She does not discount how real and consuming a panic attack can feel.

“It feels like something is really wrong—and something really is wrong!”

With therapy and practice, a person having a panic attack can learn to break the cycle and counteract the body’s responses.

Youssef says sitting down and working to control thoughts and breathing can help. “Learning to say to yourself, ‘I’m not really having a heart attack. I’m going to be ok.’ Counting to slow down breathing, claiming a verse to say aloud—all those things have been helpful for clients. But it takes practice!”

The same is true for dealing with anxiety in general, not just panic, she says.

“It’s very important to ask, ‘Lord, help me see what is true right now.’’

New Books for Your Shelf in March

by Steven Furtick

Many of us wrestle with the gap between our weaknesses and our dreams, between who we are and who God says we are meant to be. We feel unqualified to do God’s work or to live out the calling we imagine. But God has a way of using our weaknesses for good. In fact, God loves unqualified people.

In (Un)Qualified, Furtick helps you peel back assumptions you’ve made about yourself and see yourself as God sees you. Because true peace and confidence come not from worldly perfection but from acceptance: God’s acceptance of you, your acceptance of yourself, and your acceptance of God’s process of change.

Unreasonable Hope: Finding Faith in the God Who Brings Purpose to Your Pain
by Chad Veach

“Where was God when ____? How could God allow ____? Why?”
These are the questions that flood our hearts and minds when the unimaginable happens. When things go horribly wrong and the world seems to be unraveling, how do you believe in God’s goodness? How do you cling to hope?

Chad Veach directs readers away from clichéd answers that fail to offer real comfort. Instead, he draws from God’s promises in the Bible and from the story of his own daughter’s diagnosis of a devastating and debilitating disease to reveal simple, purposeful steps for dealing with pain. Resting in God’s love, remembering his past faithfulness, and realizing the distinction between having faith and clinging to hope are just some of these steps.

Veach reminds us that because we know who God is, we know there is hope.



Words of Life for Easter

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3

Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.”
John 12:23-26

“Jesus's resurrection is the beginning of God's new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord's Prayer is about.”
N.T. Wright

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