At times we feel that we cant go on, and lose ourselves in our thoughts. I have been guilty of this. I suffer from severe anxiety and panic disorder that was brought on through the trials of my life. When these horrible attacks first started I thought I was going crazy. I literally felt insane. Then I wondered "why me God, why me?"
Growing in my faith and walking with Christ has taught me a lot about the "why". God has a plan and purpose for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." There is one thing I have realized throughout the years. My time doesn't necissarily mean its Gods time. I may want things to happen right now, but God may have something better in mind. He can see the bigger picture and we see a fraction.
Throughout the years people would tell me to "get over it" and, of course, "its all in your head". Um, hello!!! I know its in my head!! Do these people not think that if I could snap my fingers and snap out of it or "get over it" I would? The answer is YES! Of course I would! Going through years of anxiety and panic disorder are somehow worked into a bigger picture. Somehow, through faith, I know God will use my trials and stories to help someone else! When He is fully ready for me to understand His plan I will see it, but for now I trust in His unfailing love, and rest in the security that He is with me!
I decided today that I would share something I wrote after one of my horrible panic attacks. So many people want to know how a panic attack feels. Doctors sometimes describe the symptoms, but not the true feelings. Yes you do get dizzy and your palms sweat, but that doesn't even begin to describe what is going on in your head. Here is something I wrote after one of my attacks before I understood what I do today.
Imagine for a second you are drugged. You are poisoned by a toxic chemical. it washed over your body and you feel the urge to flee. The feeling of unimaginable terror takes over and you jump to your feet in hopes of finding an escape. You want to run, you need to run, but there is nowhere to go. The thing you are trying so desperately to run from is in your head. Its not a drug. There is no crazy chemical. Its a panic attack and there is no escape.
You want to scream; to call for help. You need someone or something to make it stop. The terror washes over you like a tidal wave that is about to knock you under the dark and unknown waters of your fears. You begin to sweat ice cold bullets and your pupils dilate as you begin to shake. Your skin feels hot and parts of you begin to go numb. Your face feels like its on fire, but you continue to tremble like someone who was left out in the icy bitterness of winter.
It gets worse now. You can't be still. the shaking is out of control just like your thoughts. You can feel your mind slipping away...floating above you like a dark looming could. Your thoughts aren't yours; or are they? You want to grab your head in hopes of holding yourself together. In hopes of stopping these feelings that cause so much pain. You aren't yourself. You can see the things around you, but you cant change a thing.
You pace the floor as you shake and the warm tears begin to fall down your warm cheeks leaving their salty trail. "Please make this stop. Please help me. What is happening" You say to yourself wishing, praying, and begging for it to leave. You are clinging to a hope that something will ease these fears and make the suffering end. You can't stop thinking about how terrified you are and the panic gets worse. You grip your chest because your heart aches. There is a tightness in your lungs and a pressure like no other. You are carrying the weight of the world.
You continue to beg and plead for this nightmare to end as thoughts race through your scattered mind. "Is this really happening? Is it ever going to end? Will this feeling and terror be all that I know forever? Is this my forever?" Tears still fall as you sit down in hopes of stopping the room from spinning...your world from spinning, but you cant. The moment you sit you are again overcome with that enormous urge to escape. How can you escape? You know you cant. you can't run from your own thoughts, and when the realizations sets in that there is no escaping more unbearable fear creeps in. The fear has you. It grips you. The shaking wont stop. The pain wont stop.
The aching and fear continue and the feeling that your thoughts no longer belong to you brings a sadness that cannot be described. You begin to pace again still clutching your chest. The aching wont subside as the shaking and fear overwhelm you. You can no longer see straight. "Am I going crazy?" you wonder "Am I honestly losing my mind? I cant get a grip on myself. Please someone help me."
The pacing, shaking, and crying continue as the cold sweat trickles down your hot skin. The dizziness has taken over and you think you will faint. You pray you will faint so you won't feel this way. You try to sit again knowing its almost impossible because the urge to flee is enormous. You try again, still holing your chest. You grip your bible and fumble to open it then begin to flip through the pages fighting against the shaking. Your fingers feel that they will fail you, but you find a verse in Psalm 9:10 and begin to read "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you."
You cry. You beg. You pray. Please Lord, please help me! Then you continue repeating that verse. You read it aloud through the tears, fear, and pain until exhaustion finally takes over and you fall asleep.
It isn't truly over yet. No, you still aren't free, because when you wake you will feel that weight baring down on you and an immense sadness over what you endured. The fear lingers in the back of your mind and burdens you. The question hangs over you like that dark cloud and you wonder "will it happen again? Can I make it through the next time?" The sadness and fear stay with you even though you try to push it from your thoughts. The thoughts you fear don't truly belong to you anymore, but you pray. You pray that one day you can overcome the panic and sadness and finally be ok.
I wrote that feeling scared and confused. I wrote that without an understanding of the good that can actually come from this. I wrote it sad and worried that I would never overcome the pain. I will be doing several posts on these topics and the journey that this has taken me on. There was one verse that stood out to me and I'm going to share that with you. I want each of you to know that it will be ok! If you are suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, depression, or anything else God will get you through! Turn your focus to Him! He will give you strength! Our gracious heavenly father has overcome the world! John 16:33 tells us " I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world!" Don't you think if our magnificent savior can overcome the world he can help us overcome our troubles!
In the new testament we can read of Paul's sufferings and trials. 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 tells us his thoughts about what he endured. "But he said to me "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weakness, in insult, in hardships in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong." I love that! For when I am weak then I am strong! We as humans are weak, but Christ Jesus WILL make us strong!
Hold on to your faith because it will get better! You are not alone in your suffering. If you are at your wits end and are feeling overwhelmed say this prayer:
Lord God I come to you know and I need your peace.
Lord please lay your hand on me and take this burden
from me. My heart aches and I cannot do this alone.
Lord I need your strength. I ask that you carry this for me.
Lord take this pain and give me a peace. Cover me in your Love
and renew my spirit. Free me from my fears and protect me.
Lord I praise you for all that you are and for your gracious
and abundant love. I ask these things in Jesus Name. Amen.
Love and Hugs,
PS: I plan to do a few studies from 2 Corinthians so please stay tuned!