My Journey with Panic Disorder
The last box was unpacked. The last hang-up clothes in the closet. Move number 13 was complete. I sit down on the trunk in front of the bed, take a deep breath, and the whole world turns sideways.
My heart pounded, my breath caught, my eyes glazed over. And the feeling was…. familiar. An old nemesis back for another round.
You see, The Beast had visited me years before, but I thought I had killed him.
Flashback three years and you will find me repeatedly in the ER. My blood pressure dropping rapidly, always ending with me on the floor, wondering if I was dying. Several different doctors, heart specialists, strange tests (one of which repeatedly turned me upside down…) and finally (a good year later), a neurologists says the words “Panic Disorder”.
We thought panic attacks were ruled out because they never happened within the same circumstances. Sometimes it happened in the middle of the night and woke me. These were not typical panic attacks, apparently I had the actual disorder. When they come for no reason. None at all, thank you very much.
If I’m gonna have it, I may as well have the big one, right?
He suggested medication right away. But, you see, back then I was only having them once every few months or so, I didn’t think I should be medicated every day for something that happened every few months. And, plus, I had Jesus and did not need pills.
Yep, that’s really what I thought.
I learned breathing techniques, I learned how to remind myself that I was NOT dying, that this would go away. I prayed a TON. And, you know what? It did go away. The Beast was slain. I could go on with my life.
Until that box was unpacked.
Suddenly it was not only a daily occurrence, but sometimes several times a day. My parents had to come stay and help me function. My husband was at a complete loss as to how to help me. My children suffered with a mother who could barely dress herself, much less take care of them or teach them. My friends tried to draw me out, but I huddled in a cloud of anxiety that seemed to suffocate me.
When I had no where else to turn, my sweet, Godly doctor said, “Can we try my way now?” I dropped my hands and surrendered. Yes, do what you have to do, I need to live life.
And one day I woke up me again. One day it occurred to me that God could heal me through medication. It is still an act of God, but He has given us modern medicine as a gift that can be used when needed. What a lesson in humility, I couldn’t “pray my way through it” or be “spiritual” enough, or “close enough to the Lord” to make this go away. I couldn’t do anything. Not me.
Do I still deal with this? Yes. I may never be fully free of it. But I have come to realize that it forces me to rely on God. Forces. Every day I am reminded of my weakness and His strength when I swallow that pill.
If you deal with panic attacks, panic disorder, or depression, please read a few of my posts about my journey and be encouraged that things can change, it can get better, and know that other people are walking this road with you.
God is with you every step of the way, and so are your fellow brothers and sisters who have walked the road ahead of you.
Further Reading About Anxiety and Depression