couldn’t drive a car, let alone sit in one. On several occasions, she literally opened the
door while I was driving. This was unacceptable and dangerous, and I prayed in
desperation for answers. She refused to see the doctors who had helped her during her
high school years. She felt like a failure.
I knew the feeling. In fact, I struggled with it again. Her panic attacks were my fault. I
had allowed myself to suffer years of verbal and physical abuse instead of ending it after
the first attack. I had chosen to do nothing and think things would change with the
dawning of a new day. My child had heard and witnessed this abuse and become
By now, I had years of experience in knowing that answers to prayer come with our
deepening faith, but the right ones would not come in my time or Jenny’s time, only in
Knowing I was being guided in our journey, I explored any and every avenue that
opened up to us, leaving the house only long enough to make trip to a bookstore, the
grocery store, and only the most important social occasions. I learned that, according to
the National Institute of Mental Health, over forty million Americans suffer from some
form of anxiety.
Then, the miracle happened.
Ian and I learned about Terrap, a group in Birmingham, Michigan, that offered classes
for those suffering from various emotional problems—like OCD, phobias (e.g., fear of
flying, fear of germs), panic disorder and acrophobia—to assist them in understanding
their condition and to find personal and workable solutions. Jennifer, already eighteen,
needed effective ways to deal with her debilitating condition in order to have a fulfilling
life. Like my addiction, she would need to identify what triggered her anxiety before she
could attempt to control it. This required her determination to replace the fears with
optimistic thoughts and the time spent worrying with more productive activities that were
distracting and rewarding. Mind over matter. Retraining the mind to respond to new cues.
Dr. Larry Canto and his caring staff possessed a wealth of knowledge, patience, and
genuine love for every participant in the therapy group and became her miracle.
Although Jenny still wrestled with irrational fears and the need to avoid any activity
that might trigger one that didn’t give her a means of ‘escape’ (i.e., if she didn’t drive a
car, she couldn’t cause a car accident; or, if she didn’t try to join a sorority, she couldn’t
be rejected by the members; or, if she didn’t attend a class, the professor couldn’t ask her
opinion about the subject matter), Jenny decided she was ready to return to Michigan
State the following fall.
Mustering all the courage and inner strength required to meet and successfully
overcome each stressful situation that arose, and at long last supported by the right
combination of medication and medical staff, Jennifer not only graduated with a BA
degree, but went on her earn her PhD in clinical psychology.
Once again, my prayers, faith, and experience as a well-versed Science of Mind
practitioner reminded me of the powerful gifts we all have to heal, restore and rebuild our
When we’re going through severe discomfort, pain, grief, loneliness, financial turmoil,
illness, despair and any other life change, no matter how temporary, we want a solution
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