DnA Diaries 6 ~ Panic Attacks


I actually began to look forward to discovering things about my depression and anxiety, and how to help me cope with the symptoms. Also, we started to delve into what the root causes were. And also, how to manage any future panic attacks.

Journal Entry ~ 9.7.14

Devo: Philippians 4 : 6-9

Father’s Peace with Us

Anxiety -> Pr@y + Plead to Father + Thanksgiving -> Ask Father = PEACE in hearts and mind (through the Son)


Put into practice what I have experienced from Father. –> Father’s peace will be with me.

Talk about timing. I’m doing ODB while we are here in Thailand. My mind is a little ‘all over the place’ and can be a struggle to focus, but I really feel like we have such a great devotion every morning. It really brings me joy. This peace that is spoken of in these verses comes from confidence that the Father loves us and is in control. He alone provides comfort that settles our nerves, fills our minds with hope and allows us to relax even in the midst of changes and challenges.

Replace anxiety with expectant trust and grateful prayer. Trust the Father – He answers pr@yer.

I feel like I do understand this and believe it, but why am I still experiencing what I feel? Why are my physical symptoms not a reflection of this? It’s so frustrating.

I want to know Father better through this experience. I know it is not about coincidence, but about his plan for my growth. I know this for sure.

Today’s counselling session was actually really good. Dr has started to probe around the events of stress and associated symptoms that followed. Still trying to figure it all out. The two episodes of shortness of breath, heart palpitations and difficulty swallowing were actually panic attacks, triggered by anxiety or stress. One happened while watching Transformers 4 (not a scary movie – haha) and the other before class at the crowded bus stop and on the bus. At least now I know and understand that feeling like that is actually an anxiety attack. What a relief! I honestly thought I was dying from a heart attack or anaphylactic shock. Such a relief and gives me an idea of what to look out for if I have another one in future.

He also told me how to manage the attacks in future. He told me to admit to myself (talk to myself, if need be) that I’m having a panic attack. That it doesn’t feel good. That it feels terrible. That I’m not dying. That it is only temporary and will be over in 10 – 20 minutes. He also said that when I see people in movies or whatever breathe into a paper bag when they are hyperventilating, that it actually helps them to even out their carbon dioxide and oxygen levels. Which was just so helpful! But, very unlikely that I will have a paper bag on me during those times. So, I need to take slow, even, deep breaths. 

Today, we talked about our stress, work – friends – church. Also mentioned the break-in and related violated feeling that it brought up. Dr thinks that my depression actually started (most likely) from then. It was like the first big traumatic event, late last year. Club/M stress and burdens -> also outlined a bit of the stress brought on by some of the meetings we had in our recent trip back.

I feel like some progress is being made in the sessions. We are definitely exploring things that have been on our minds much more.

DnA Diaries 5 ~ Clarity


So we were on a plane as soon as possible to Chiang Mai. My first time there. It was a cute little place. More like a large town than a city.

We were set up for 10 sessions all up, one a day, every weekday. This counselling place is based on donations, which is amazing. So blessed to have such a wonderful resource for people.

Journal Entry ~ 7.7.14

Devo: Jeremiah 6: 13-20

This passage speaks about greed and not giving Father your heart. People not listening to the true prophets, but instead, choosing false ones. In the final verse, v.20, it mentions that the ‘burnt offerings are not acceptable’. After the preparation, cost and time people put into something that should be sacrificed to Father, to find out that the sacrifice is not pleasing to Him. What a waste.

The attitude of a person’s heart and the way we live out our lives matters to Father more than things we do out of habit, or for appearances.

This is especially important for me now as I feel that a lot of what I’m doing in the ST role, aside from desiring to serve Him, is for face value. Why I accepted the role had a lot to do with how I would appear to others – at the organisation and in Melbourne. To fill a need, I am an able body, with able hands. This upsets me as I never thought I would need to worry about how I would appear to others. To do things based on what other people expect of me – when the Father himself so clearly wanted me to know that being obedient to His will (which we already were, in being in China) really should have been enough. Maybe my desire to help others and not being merely content with where and how He had put me where I was got me into my current predicament.

So, here I am in Chiang Mai. And it all started from an email (that I was non too excited about sending) that has brought us here. This email outlined my stress, anxiety and depressed feelings. I’m glad that the organisation’s leaders felt immediate action was required and strongly encouraged me to get help. They also helped me put down the ST role at the organisation for now. 

It’s been tough, as it is the busiest time of the year and I feel really responsible for my role.

But, right now, I feel so grateful to be here, in Chiang Mai, seeking help. I’m looking forward to finding some answers and getting on my way to recovery. We will be attending the first session later today. I do look forward to it. But, not sure what to expect. I’m glad hubby is with me and is also looking for ways to help support me and understand things better too.

I don’t know what I expected in the first session with a psychiatrist. And, yes, even after studying psychology in high school, I still pictured a dark room with a lounge-type couch which I would have to lay on. An old woman wearing glasses and a clip board, furiously writing down all I said (or not!).

I was only partially right, the bit about the glasses. LOL.

Journal Entry ~ 8.7.14

Yesterday at the counselling session, I was really not too sure what to expect. I saw Dr and his two interns. They asked us questions and listened. Hubby was in this session with me. He wasn’t sure if he’d be in all sessions, or just some of them. With me having a few on my own. Dr concluded that based on my symptoms (from the questions asked in the session and the client information I provided prior to going to Chiang Mai), I have depression and anxiety. And that they both spur the other on – as to which is causing which.

I got a bit teary and emotional at that as it was such a relief to hear someone say what I had. I just hated not knowing what was going on, and it gave me so much clarity and relief. Now, it’s about how to combat and manage it all.

The session has prompted hubby and I to really talk things through. Not that we weren’t but that we needed to do it consciously and effectively. I think especially for hubby, he is very uncertain in how things can be handled in my situation. I don’t think he realised just how serious this was in the beginning. I do get the feeling that he wants some ‘quick fix’ solutions. Which I’m not sure how to handle, but I’m looking forward to some improvements in our communication.

I’m relieved to see that Hubby has been very supportive in ways that he knows how, and really becoming more comfortable with counselling. I’m feeling very blessed and need to think of a way to let him know how blessed I am by his efforts.

Continual pr@yer is required and I know the road to full recovery will be tough.

DnA Diaries 4 ~ Seeking Help


So, I’d reached a point where I realised something was not quite right, and it was time to do something about it. Still took so much for me to do this. I’m a high achiever, a person used to being ‘capable’. Admitting this was not easy, and still isn’t easy. But it gets easier.

Some passages that encouraged me during this time are down below. As always, so timely. Even though they never boast to have answers to my questions, I felt as if they were there – speaking to just me, in just that way.

Journal Entry ~ 24.6.14

Devo: Acts 25 : 23, 26 : 1 – 30

This passage speaks about this lady Bernice and her husband Agrippa. They were visiting Felix and Paul was under trial. During Paul’s testimony, he still tried to preach the Gspl to them via his own witness. Bernice listened, but as her husband rejected the good news, she just followed him. There was no personal response on her part. She just did what was easy and will never be mentioned again in the Bble.

It’s a lesson and reminder to not assume my husbands’ identity as my own. That I too know where I fit in. I too have to make my own response.

Yesterday, I again had an emotional meltdown whilst talking to one of the leaders in the office. All about work, etc. I’ve already done a few things to help my current situation.

  1. I’ve emailed my leaders, about how i’m feeling towards work and my role.
  2. I’ve looked into a local counselling service and am waiting to hear back from them.
  3. I’m talking more about all of it to make sure I’m not internalising it, especially with hubby.

Hopefully, slowly getting to a point of understanding.

And slowly, I saw that Father was teaching me to hold onto His promises. Yes, that He is right there, waiting for me to notice Him. That I was not alone.

Journal Entry ~ 26.6.14

Devo: Numbers: 5 : 11

Coheirs with Chr1st. It was a real comfort to receive this word and encouragement today. I think sometimes, even in our current ‘modern’ society, we are not seen, as women, to be completely equal with men. Maybe, for certain things, we never will be.

But I think for me, I’m really grateful that Father wants us to take part of the Son’s inheritance. We too are coheirs.

It’s really encouraging that these 5 daughters in the passage spoke up and asked for what inheritance was owed them. I’m surprised that they did. But, because of their courage, they were able to claim what was rightfully theirs, and part of the Father’s promised land.

I think it’s an important reminder to me, especially now, that I need to do the same. Claim His promises.

I’m still confused about my role and position in China, but I know Father will reveal things more clearly, the more I seek Him and His direction for my life.

At this point, we were definitely at the point where we were seeking help.

Journal Entry ~ 30.6.14

On Sunday, the time at the service was a really wonderful time as the speaker talked about LONELINESS.

It was actually a very timely message for hubby and I. A reminder to have an outlet and also to remember in the times of depression or loneliness, Father never leaves. He is there, and not always does he bring you out of it straightaway.

Anyway, at the moment, I’m still feeling emotional. I don’t feel like hubby really knows what to do either. I fear he actually is feeling smothered. Part of it scares me as I know that feeling smothered will only push him further away. I’ve expressed to hubby that that’s how I feel about it. Anyway, we’ve been referred to a counselling service in Chiang Mai. They have believing workers and is for people who are struggling with life as an m in Asia.

See where this leads us.

This is the point where the organisation were supportive and took the ST role off my hands and I was able to go to get counselling help overseas without worrying about the responsibilities.

DnA Diaries 3 ~ Turning Point


At this point, I was quite down and was feeling very alienated. Mostly my own doing, but not a good place to be. It was a time when I really needed people to support me, but I was subconsciously removing myself from their presence.

Strangely, during the time where I felt Father would have been the furthest from me, I felt like He was closer than ever. I will include some devos I had during my journal entries to show that I was still getting encouragement and comfort from His Word.

Journal Entry 19.6.14
Devo: Mark 5 : 42 – 43

I am so exhausted! Yesterday was a really tough day. I went into work and tried to be positive. Hubby really helped me out alot. A colleague was so loving and kind. She really helped me out with the stress I was under. So, puffy eyed, I still soldiered on. I’m so grateful for the support and help. I know I need to stop being so stressed, but just really don’t know how to.

Reading this story of Jarius’ daughter, I’m reminded that my Father really cares for me. He will not give up on me even when it may feel like the world has.

Will be going into work today. I’m grateful for it. Yes, I need to make my desk look and feel less sterile. And I need a new attitude. I just need His strength and provision that all will be OK.

The last part, the fact that I felt that something like changing my work environment to be more comfortable, and to change my own attitude would help. But, unfortunately, they didn’t. And I think each time, I really thought the solutions, either sp or physical, would really help. First time in my life where I felt really stumped. That almost nothing I tried worked.

A few days later, I think I came to the realisation that something abnormal was going on with me. That I shouldn’t be feeling his anxious or down for this long. And it was such a huge turning point.

Journal Entry 21.6.14

Today’s reading was about how Father provided manna for the Israelites. So convenient, yet it still required work on their behalf.

A reminder that sp growth still requires work.

I’ve actually had a really shocking week. I’m feeling very much overwhelmed about being ST coordinator for the organisation. I also feel like I’d like to improve their systems and how things are done.

I think I will be emailing my supervisor this week about this role and how I feel.

I think much of the stress will be worked off if i can get help on the setting up meetings end (sometimes my role required me to set up meetings for people coming to visit – many times, multiple meetings with people I’ve never met or spoken to). That causes a great deal of stress for me and I struggled as I did not have many of the contacts. Language barrier as well.

I’m in a real exhausted state and really can’t do much better.

I feel much of the perceived stress is from the leadership. But, I think I need to be more bold and assertive.

I understood that being bold and assertive would not help, as it was only a small part of a larger problem. The way the role is set up, there are things that are unsaid. Too many unsaid expectations that are unclear to a new-comer, like myself.

Also, starting to think of things back home and how it all affected me… I really began to realise that I was putting too much pressure on myself. Too much of a high achiever.

DnA Diaries 2 ~ Loneliness

dantay photography
dantay photography

Early June, things were starting to get a lot worse. My temperament, emotions and stress were very high. Also, I started to have a lot of weird experiences.

Journal Entry 1.6.14 ~

Honestly, I’m in a weird head space at the moment. I’m not sure. I know what I’m meant to do. My confidence – which normally I have in abundance – is gone. Right now, I feel a little bit lost. I’m manifesting signs of stress. Massive headaches, shoulder and neck pains, TMJ, clicking jaw.

I didn’t even go to ch with everyone because i’m in pain and really feel like I need some time to myself.

I think yesterday, after going to a friend’s farewell concert (she’s a musician), it was so nice to see the lives she has blessed and the legacy she will leave behind here.

I was so touched to see how she has used her skill and talent as a musician to inspire so many to do the same.

Really got me thinking about how I could be doing the same. I honestly don’t know what I’m called to do. What is my ‘talent’?

I was starting to show lots of physical symptoms (after over a week of being back in China), exhaustion avoiding social situations, and feeling really low in confidence and ability. Doubting myself all the time.

More from that same journal entry…

Journal Entry 1.6.14 ~

I’m just so tired of worrying about everyone else.

Tired of being the one people go to. Just so, so tired of EXPECTATIONS.


I’m going through this yo-yo of emotions and need to stop feeling depressed and down.

These types of entries in my journal kept going through the start of June, even though I was still having devo’s, and not feeling like Father had left me, but that I was not sure what was going on with my emotions.

And then, it got really bad… I didn’t realise how bad, until I re-read a lot of this today.

Journal Entry 18.6.14 ~

So I can’t sleep and had a pretty bad melt down (emotional eruption of tears, upset, frustration, anger). It’s 5.45am and I left our room and bed to camp outside in the living room on the couch. I’m stressed. I know it, and it’s actually been building up for awhile.

Most of it I know is related to work. I really, really want to quit. It’s actually causing too much mental and emotional (and probably spiritual) stress. I should never have accepted it in the first place.

I’ve been experiencing pretty bad headaches and tension in my shoulder, neck and head on the right side, since coming back to China.

I’m not in the mood to meet people or socialize. I’ve also noticed that I don’t want to go to social events and would prefer to not be at them. This is a terrible predicament to be in.

I’m pretty responsible and I have my own set of expectations on myself when it comes to work ethic and standard.

I was feeling like I couldn’t meet the organisation’s expectations of the role I was in. I was feeling like it was quite disorganised, had too flexible a structure and was generally just causing a lot of stress due to the ‘anytime on-call’ nature of the role. I’m an organised person and I felt really disorganised and that I was becoming far too unreasonable. Which is weird as I’m normally quite flexible and reasonable.

More from same entry:

Journal Entry 18.6.14 ~

I do not feel that I understand where I fit in personally with the organisation’s vision and where the ST role fits into that vision.

My supervisor has left China for the US and will be gone for summer – and I feel like I’ve been left with a huge mess.


Don’t really feel like I have anyone to talk to right now – I feel like my mentor is too busy with the kids. I don’t want to bother her.

The whole issue with ___ (an issue I was dealing with in the role that had to do with some people’s poor relationships) has really caused me to be quite discouraged.

My burden for my friend’s going through marriage issues has not been lifted and may never be.

I have tried to be ‘positive’ and ‘know’ that Father has my back and has gone before me, but I don’t feel like it is the truth.

I feel like I’m all alone. I don’t even have my husband to support me. I feel like he values a ‘face’ front with people in the organisation – co-workers  – and sees me as ‘ruining’ or ‘messing up’ his work environment – even though all this may not be true – it’s how I feel.

This part made me really sad (to read over). And was very not true, but you can see how I was on a downward spiral of negative emotions and thoughts. I really felt unsupported and pretty much alone. Hearing things like ‘I don’t know why you’re feeling stressed’ or ‘Why do you get stressed so easily?’ when trying to tell a person how you feel in relation to an incident, really does not help someone who is going through this. It really only alienates them or makes them resent you. Even if you don’t know what to say or how to deal with a person who is exhibiting these emotions, or know what to do in that situation. It’s better to say nothing at all.

And it ends off like this… with me falling asleep finally, on the couch.

Journal Entry 18.6.14 ~ 

Father, I want to see you in all this, I do. But right now, How? How do I overcome this? I need You more than ever.

I feel like I can’t tell anyone how I feel. Everyone is associated with everyone else. I’m alone….

DnA Diaries 1 ~ The beginning of a tough journey…


This isn’t easy for me to articulate. It’s taken me a little while to figure out how to tell people and how to express myself in the way that gets what I’m going through across as accurately as possible.

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety a few weeks ago. I’m still coming to terms with it, and learning about it. Hubby and I have returned a week ago from Chiang Mai, Thailand. We went to have counselling at a recommended professional counselling centre, with trained counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists. Our organisation were the ones who encouraged us to go and of course, we wanted to get help as soon as possible. It has made things much better and we are now equipped to manage my depression and anxiety.

I’ve called these DnA (Depression and Anxiety) Diaries. Hubby and I wanted to share these entries about living with depression and anxiety with others. Firstly, so that I don’t need to repeat myself 100 times over and over – as it’s quite an emotional experience (so maybe I only need to repeat myself 99 times). Secondly, so that I’m not making people read anything they don’t want to. Anyone who wants to can read, if they wish, when they wish. Then it may overcome some of the awkwardness. Lastly, so that I hope anyone else going through something similar has something they can read that may (or may not) help.

Also, I want to make sure that all of the things I write in these DnA Diaries are my own experiences. Much of it is actually from my own personal journal. I have had to omit some parts as they are very personal, and edit some of what I’ve included to protect the identities of those involved. So, it’s not advice for others, as I’m not a professional counsellor. All I want to do is to share my experiences with others. So those close to me, my friends and family, get a glimpse of what I’m going through. 

Ok, where to start?!

Anyway, I might start with when I first started getting most of the physical symptoms. I really thought something was wrong with me. I started getting TMJ (teeth clenching) issues – which was not really that odd as I’d suffered it before, and usually when I was under some kind of stress. Pain in my right shoulder, neck and jaw. Massive headaches, insomnia. Was tired, and still am, much of the day. No matter how much I napped or slept. Sweating a truck load (I already sweat alot). I had heart palpitations and shortness of breath. These last two made we more anxious and I thought I was dying.

I started with the majority of these slowly from around April until now. At the time, hubby and I were back home in Aus. The amount and severity of these symptoms increased as time wore on. The worst was in June, when we were back in China. We’d had blood tests done in Australia, and all came through as healthy. So this was particularly alarming for me.

Anyway, I think the best way to do this is to provide some journal excerpts throughout my entries. Up until the current date anyway, I will try not make any one entry too long. Reading back on these personal journal entries is quite emotional and shocking for me, to see such a change. Blessed that there is such a change. This is the earliest journal entry I have with me in China that talks of the beginning of symptoms.

Journal Entry 24.6.14 ~

Getting tired. Been so exhausted and wanted to ‘process’ what we’ve been going through. But it’s hard. 

This was in reference to us being back in Australia. We were only back for 2 and a half months. This is quite a long time, but felt not well rested at all. Processing all the things we’ve seen, experienced, learnt – but finding not enough time to do so.

At a young adult camp, the speaker asked us to write down our emotions and what we thought were causing them. This was a difficult exercise. I got right to it and wrote down many things, but looking back over it, majority of the emotions were negative. This really started me thinking that I need to talk about these to someone.

Journal Entry 5.5.14 ~

We are finally on our anniversary getaway. We are up near Bright in Victoria’s North East. Near Mount Hotham. We will be here until Thursday. Time to finally spend some quality time with G and with each other in His Creation and beauty.

I am actually pretty tired and we only just arrived. The last few entries speak of exactly how exhausted and tired I am. Pretty sad really. We came back from China to Australia to actually take a break from everything, but it really doesn’t feel like it. Quite exhausting.

Both of us have prioritized making a huge effort to reconnect with people. Probably over looking after ourselves.

I realised how blessed we are and also how much Father has really looked after us.

Firstly, I was really planning on having this time to spend enjoying the real great outdoors, and most importantly, journaling and reflecting on everything that has gone on. My mind, and heart, feel very heavy and burdened. I want to share how I feel, but I think I haven’t even processed it yet. I’m the kind of person who can’t share without first processing it. I’ve been really storing up so much that I’ve almost gotten to the point where I’m not sure I know what or where to start off with.

The topics that have really been on my mind during that time were:

  • A really good friend going through a marriage break down with their spouse
  • Friends going through personal crisis 
  • Club burdens
  • M-related burdens
  • Future and purpose
  • Organisation work and burdens
  • Family burdens
  • Friends 

All of which are normal things to be concerned or anxious over, but I was to discover that having them all at once was too much for me to handle. And boy did my body show it.

All the while, this was meant to be during our break time back home. I’d also already started the role in the organisation of ST coordinating. This only made things far worse once we got back to China.

Journal Entry 10.5.14 ~

Starting to look forward to going back to China. Strange, but we might only get a break there. I definitely don’t want to be the kind of person who does m1ss10ns to escape problems, but at the same time, I will be glad for the breathing space.

Maybe this ST coordinating role won’t be so bad when I’m there. We will have to see.

At the time, I was already not enjoying the role and was hoping that things would improve once we were back in China…

Phuket 2013

Karon Beach
Karon Beach
Karon Beach, the other way
Karon Beach, the other way
View from Merlin Beach Resort
View from Merlin Beach Resort
Friend's wedding at Merlin Beach Resort
Friend’s wedding at Merlin Beach Resort
Island hopping
Island hopping
Island hopping. Ship wrecks
Island hopping. Ship wrecks
Island hopping - near monkeys
Island hopping – near monkeys
A pretty lagoon
A pretty lagoon
Phi Phi Island
Phi Phi Island
Floating in the beautiful amazing water of Phi Phi Island, where they shot The Beach movie
Floating in the beautiful amazing water of Phi Phi Island, where they shot The Beach movie
Can't get over how beautiful this place is
Can’t get over how beautiful this place is
Patong after the rain
Patong after the rain
Patong at night. Bit seedy
Patong at night. Bit seedy
My favourite food there, mango sticky rice.
My favourite food there, mango sticky rice.
Surin Beach
Surin Beach, evening