About three weeks ago I was revisited by a very unwelcome party. A pair that I hadn't really seen much of in quite some time. Here and there, the two might stop by and knock on the door, but this time... this time, they came right on in, full fledged attack. What are their names you ask? Depression and Anxiety. Who brought them by? It was their acquaintance, Panic Attack.
Back in 2011, after my first year of college was coming to a close, I had one of the weirdest experiences of my young life. I was in Target and all of a sudden a strange feeling on non-existence came over me. It was like I was watching the people around me, but felt like I wasn't really there-- like a ghost. I had the strangest feeling in my head. I felt light-headed and dizzy. While this wasn't my first dealing with anxiety or even a panic attack, it was the first time it had ever felt this strange. I thought I was going crazy.
The week following, I was very tired and unmotivated. I had this strange sense that something bad was about to happen. In one of the many conversations I'd had with my mom while trying to deal with this new pain, I mentioned it to her. Just after, on April 27th, 2011, an awful, very destructive tornado hit Tuscaloosa ending the school year in turmoil. Still to this day, I've wondered if that was just coincidence or if I really sensed that tragedy.
I decided to move home for the summer from Tuscaloosa and perhaps continue my education at our local community college so I could be at home where my comfort was. Change had never been that kind to me anyway. Still dealing with those feelings of anxiousness and nervousness I was having, I was also now starting to dwell. [Let that word soak in a minute. DWELL. It has really made its way in many conversations I've had lately.] Dwelling only led to the feeding of my now depression and worry at this point. I couldn't let anything go. I would nearly have a panic attack over the thought that I might have another panic attack. I asked questions of why and sought out something to blame all too often. "Why, God, do I have to feel as though I don't want to exist anymore, like I'm going crazy, like I don't enjoy one single thing I used to? In fact, I don't even care about those things at all. I'd rather just hide from everything and everyone."
Had my family members not gone through this before me and hadn't they been able to offer me such strong counsel, I'm not sure what I would've done. Had I not let go of the dwelling, my process would've more than likely lasted longer than it did. Belief, hope, and faith became very good friends to me. With lots of prayer, reading in Psalms, hours of conversations with my mom and with God, and listening to the CD's she bought me, I combated it. And I'd won. I was now equipped for the future and ready to battle this season that has once again found me.
On the way to the beach with Todd for the Matchbox 20 concert, that same very strange feeling hit me. I felt so overwhelmed and so ghostly all at the same time. I felt dizzy and like I couldn't breathe or catch my stance. Dizzy, I started panicking and ended up having to breathe in a paper bag. The rest of the ride I spent in tears convincing myself that I was okay, that it didn't have to be like last time which lasted for about 3 months. But my subconscious wouldn't let up. Weird feelings kept making their way back to the surface and dwelling had set in. Needless to say, for a few days there I had a very lull mood about me and a few mini panic attacks. Such a deep sadness had now come over me too in such a hopeless feeling. But luckily I'd had practice and was able to calm myself down and really trust in God that I would be okay again soon and that He'd equipped me to overcome this. That this is all a figment of the mind and that I'd soon have my chemicals back in balance.
So much bad news had come my way just before this, not for me, as much as just so many bad things happening to those around me [EDIT: I'd forgotten that most of this worry had stemmed from me still believing that I might not really be well, that diabetes or some other terrible sickness might strike me any moment, causing me to subconciously over-analyze how I felt]. So many hard things had come for people I know and I felt and still feel so much sadness for them. I think at this point is when more underlying fear and worry started to settle in my heart.
I have a hard time dealing with time passing and growing older-- all that it means with each passing year. My parents are getting older and I quickly start to realize that so many of the memories I have, and the things that we use to do, are just that-- memories. (Mom, Dad, if you're reading this, I totally don't mean that you're old, just that time has taken us to different adventures than the ones I cling to from when I was young-- I love yall!!) I realize how precious my time is with loved ones as we aren't promised tomorrow, and with that, even if we are promised our full term, I realize just how short that amount of time is. I see that moving away from home gives me even less time with my family, that I'm missing out on so much, and it just makes me want to try and take control. Just grab on to and cling to all that's passing and not let it go. But I quickly realize that this is LIFE. That's all this is. It's all a part of a cycle that we are meant to join in without idleness and focusing too much on any one given part. We have to continue each day without worry about tomorrow. Live in balance and with moderation in all areas. Live with hope and faith and trust in the one who created us-- our sweet savior, Jesus. God's promises are REAL. They are never changing, just as He is unwavering. In any season of life, as hard as it may be, whatever may come, we don't have to worry about that because we know our Father is so much greater. It may hurt a whole, whole lot, but hope is ours in Christ Jesus.
You may have noticed that I called them visitors. Well that of course is for a good reason. It's because they are not allowed to dwell within me as I will not dwell on them. While I can only speak from my experience and what I've seen with those around me, it can take time, but control can become yours with the help of Jesus. Trusting in Him has pulled me through. He has given me the strength and peace of mind to take back control of my subconscious, which is the problematic automatic reactor to any given situation. I can't give a timeline for each situation, but I do firmly believe that the Father is close to the broken and that he will lift us up in our time of need if we lean on Him, however long that may be.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. --Phillipians 4:8
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. --1 Peter 5:6-7
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. --2 Corinthians 1:3-4