When Amber Garza’s health continued to decline, she began to spiral into a life of fear, depression and anxiety.
After enduring unexplained illness for a year, gallbladder surgery and then a C-Diff infection, she felt like she was going to die.
Amber’s memoir, Peace Out: How I Kicked Fear to the Curb, is an honest and courageous reflection of what it’s like to struggle with anxious thoughts. Through her experience, she offers hope and encouragement to those prone to obsess over every symptom and to control every decision out of fear.
Scenes from Amber’s life helped me understand how she dealt with fear and overcame. She includes her own archived, impactful blog posts between chapters that trace her gradual progress as she learns to kick fear to the curb.
“It’s a scary place when you don’t trust in the God that created you. The God that created the entire universe. But when you do, you are filled with hope.”
As someone who is inspired and who learns best by seeing the detailed process of others, I appreciated Amber’s storytelling and her vulnerability.
Peace Out offers excellent suggestions and wisdom for those who struggle with catastrophic thinking. Many of her thoughts and struggles had me saying, “Me too!”
Amber writes clean romantic fiction (has published over 40 novels) and shares how easy it is to get stuck in the imaginary world of her characters. She says, “I’ve been making some changes in my life to get myself out of my house, and out of my head a little more.” As an introvert and a writer myself, I related to the need to get out into the community and serve others instead of allowing myself to be isolated.
Amber explains how anxiety affected her relationships. In chapter 8, she shares a personal experience when one of her worst fears came true—getting stuck in an elevator. Her father had this fear as well.
“Our fears are often passed down to our children. When it’s something small like the fear of elevators or a fear of heights, it may not seem like a big deal. But it can be if it holds them back from what they’re meant to do.”
One day, Amber’s daughter asked her how she could not be afraid if her own mother was. This was a turning point where Amber realized her daughter’s fears escalated when hers did.
I’ve seen first-hand how my children feed off my anxiety.
I had a similar experience when my daughter saw the look of panic on my face and heard my fearful gasp when an elevator clunked its way down to the lobby floor. When we stepped out of the elevator, Maille told me she would never go in an elevator again. Thankfully my daughter was able to get back on the elevator—and I learned from that experience how closely my children watch and learn from me.
Those who struggle with anxiety know it can be an ongoing battle. It’s comforting to know God fights for us.
The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still. Exodus 4:14 (NIV)
This verse helped Amber release the grip of fear:
“For the first time, I felt like I could hand over my sword, to give it to someone stronger, and let Him fight FOR me, not just alongside me. I’d like to say that was the end of my fear journey, but that would be a lie. I’m still not to the end of it, but this weapon gave me a reprieve and helped me start walking a new path.”
My best friend knows Amber and sent me her book as a Christmas present. I enjoyed reading every page and highly recommend it to my fellow fear-fighters.