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Anxiety Elephants, Part 1

CVB: I love the cover and the title of this book. It’s excellent. It really pulls you in.

Caris Snider: I wanted the title Anxiety Elephants because everybody understands what anxiety feels like. So when you get that imagery of an elephant sitting on your chest, you can understand what that feels like. I worked with Brickstone Creative Group for my book and they had a graphic designer named Melinda Martin. She talked with me about what I saw for the cover. I gave her a palette of some colors that I really liked. After a couple of tries, she came back with the cover and I was like, this is it!

CVB: I thought so, too. The first time I saw it I thought, “Oh, that’s a winner.” So tell me why you wrote the book. My understanding is that you also had struggled in this area.

Caris: Yes, I have struggled. Several years ago I had a severe struggle with anxiety and depression and it was debilitating for me. For so long in my life, honestly, I was a master of the mask, if you will. I thought that you had to live in this perfect life. You cannot fail. You cannot mess up for God to use you and for people to learn from you. And I was of the belief that anxiety and depression were not real. I just thought it was people feeling sorry for themselves.

When they would come to me for help at the beginning of my ministry, my answer would be pray harder; try harder; read your Bible more; do better; suck it up, buttercup. It was not the compassionate Jesus. Then I began to have anxiety attacks and I had those feelings of overwhelming fear and dread fill my life. It was paralyzing. I wanted out. I wanted to live. I wanted to enjoy the day and not be worried all the time, living in pain. And I couldn’t.

I was scared to tell because I was afraid of the rejection. I was scared people might turn their back on me or think less of me. That’s where I was with my battle with anxiety and depression and because I denied the anxiety and I didn’t deal with it, it built up into depression. I was hiding and then I felt useless, hopeless, and worthless.

I hit rock bottom, honestly, and I didn’t talk much about this in the book, but I had a miscarriage. At that moment, it was as if the enemy came to me and was like, know, you’re no longer needed here. You’ve hurt everyone you’re around. You just need to leave this earth.

In that moment, God, in his goodness reached out and said, “Look up.” When I looked up, there were helpers – my counselor, my doctor, my church, and my family.

As I began to start sharing my story, friends would ask me, “Hey, how are you doing?” Often I would answer, “I’m good. I’m fine.” You know, we do that a lot. But when I stopped saying that, I started saying, “I’m not doing good. I’m struggling with anxiety and struggling with depression.” They would look at me and say, “You too?” It was like a light bulb.

It was like God said, “See, you’re not alone. There are so many in the world that struggle. There are so many believers who feel that they’re alone. Let me use you to share what I taught you.

So that’s kind of how all this came about.

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