I HAD AN ANXIETY ATTACK.
I haven’t written much recently. There’s a myriad of reasons why. The greatest reason, the one I’ve convinced myself is acceptable is, “no one cares”. And yet, based on your emails and notes, I know that isn’t true. We’re all broken and searching for help, longing for someone else to come along and say, “oh! That’s me! Wow. So glad I’m not alone!”
I had an anxiety attack about three weeks ago.
They don’t come all too often but when they do - they’re bad. We’re talking hyperventilating, gut wrecking tears causing migraines and neck pains from the cries desperately seeking a chance to catch a breath. It’s painful and confusing to experience. I feel helpless and out of control. My emotions take flight and it seems impossible to bring them back down from their high.
Irritable and restless for days before, looking back I’m kicking myself for not seeing the signs. After all, panic and anxiety attacks don’t surface without reason. There’s always a root cause. We can tell ourselves otherwise but if you really look and examine, the reason will be there.
For me, this anxiety attack was directly related to my deep seeded desire to people please and be in control. While I’ve become better at seeing these traits in myself, they’re still there. And when I don’t keep my thought life in check, I run into a full on attack.
Ever feel like some lessons never stop? People pleasing and control are the two I continue to fall back into. They’re my sins that can’t be seen. My self righteous human heart wants to be the hero and savior to everyone. And as much as I know I can’t - my flesh still wants it. Craves it.
My anxiety isn’t a simple emotional imbalance. Sure, there are pills to help calm me in these times but inevitably the anxiety will return. And the cycle will repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Unless, I make a choice. A choice to choose Jesus as Savior … over myself.
Looking back on my most recent anxiety attack I can see the breadcrumbs of my thought life. I’d gone back into my old patterns and ways of thinking. I’d removed Jesus from the equation and tried to push forward on my own. And all I did was end up back where I started.
Ever feel like you’re grappling for any sense of normalcy? And before long, you’re doing anything you can to get back to where you once were? In the aftermath of trauma we experience hopelessness. In that space, we wind up seeking our own version of normalcy. In John 21, Peter is left again to navigate his own life. He’s returned to what he’s known. That which is familiar. BUT JESUS, comes back for him!! (V.4).
The tears I experienced in the closet felt comfortable and familiar. I’d known this kind of outcry. I’d felt that kind of longing for breakthrough. The veins of my neck popping up due to the blood pulsing through from head to toe. With a dry mouth and tear soaked face, I felt alive. I’d become comfortable in my pain. It felt… normal.
And then, somewhere between a gasp and a shrilling cry, I could feel His presence. He was with me. He’d sent His helper, The Holy Spirit to comfort and calm my exhausted heart and broken spirit. Though I’d returned to comfortable and familiar ways of thinking and believing - He remained by my side.
I’ve worked on this letter for almost a month. And it’s nowhere near perfect. It’s incredibly flawed and I feel it falls a bit flat in adequately describing the experience. However, I’m leaving this here, as it is - in all it’s unfinished glory - as a reminder. A reminder for you and for me. We aren’t alone in this. No matter your struggle, no matter your sin pattern, no matter what you’ve done or what’s been done to you. You aren’t alone in experiencing pain and grief.
In Your Corner,