This is not surprising, as our mind is so exhausted that it has lost the flexibility of a healthy mind, which could dismiss such irrational fears out of hand.
Try as we might, we cannot shake free of these fears and in the end, we can no longer see them from any other perspective. We lose the ability to differentiate between what we fear, and what is real, and come to believe that the fearful perspective is the only perspective.
I finally found the courage to share some of my irrational fears with the Christian lady who was counselling me, and she gently helped me to see such fearful thoughts from another perspective – the true perspective.
At first, I could not feel the truth of a new perspective, but I accepted it, and kept it in my mind. And when those fears returned, instead of going through the exhausting process of trying to work through them again, I recalled the new perspective given me by my counsellor, and accepted it and believed it. I then learned to live with the fearful thoughts simmering away at the back of my mind, without fearing or fighting them, while continually reminding myself of the new perspective. And as I let time pass, the new perspective, the truth, finally won out.
Sometimes we can embrace the new perspective quickly, but if severely depressed, it can be some time before the truth sinks in, and when it does, we receive relief and freedom. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
In the book “Self Help for your Nerves,” Dr Weekes explains the importance of finding someone suitable to help us find 'the other point of view.' “Let it be your wisest and not just your nearest friend…If you have no such friend, find a suitable minister, priest or doctor.” p68. A professional therapist/health care worker is of course another possibility. The lady who counselled me had experienced and overcome depression, and understood what I was going through.
To help me with this process of learning to see and embrace new perspectives, I wrote each new perspective on the back of a business card or scrap of paper, which I kept in my pocket or wallet. And when that fear reared its ugly head again, I pulled out the card and read it.
As I continued to recover from depression, I was able to work through such fears and find the new perspective myself, with the assistance of prayer and God's Word. In many of these cases, I continued to write the new perspectives on flashcards. This saved me a lot of mental anguish of trying to work through things again that I had already worked through in the past.
Here is an example of finding a new perspective regarding a very powerful fear. I had the misfortune of having a car crash while recovering from severe depression. My exhausted mind, already struggling with anxiety, was swamped by fears that assured me I was going to have heaps of car crashes, starting with the loan car, and then in every car I got in for the next two weeks, regardless of whose car it was. These fears were so fresh and powerful that they felt real.
Remembering what I had learned, I sought the new perspective to have towards this irrational fear, and this was:
1. These thoughts that say I am going to have lots of car crashes are not real.
2. These thoughts are not what is going to happen, they are only what I am afraid is going to happen.
3. Jesus said to let not my heart be troubled, but trust in God and in Him. John 14:1
4. Therefore I will get in these cars and trust Him to keep me safe. Psalm 18:2
And regarding the fears that I was going to suffer many car crashes over those two weeks, this is what I wrote in my diary afterwards: "Nothing happened."
(All verses from the NIV.)