Veiled in Anxiety

I sat on the edge of my bed with the phone receiver in my hand feeling utterly and desperately alone. Ten years of extreme fear and hopelessness had consumed me. Every day was a battle. I was angry with God and told him so.  I could not understand why He would let me suffer continually.  One day while driving, I started screaming at God and asking over and over,  “Why won’t you heal me?” Complete silence.

A cloud of despair hung over me daily.  My mind could not process what I was experiencing. I felt as if I was watching my body go through the motions of a routine.  I was hyper aware of my surroundings and always felt that a threat was imminent. My body and mind were on constant alert to protect me from danger.  Continually, I pleaded with God for relief.

I felt like I was losing my mind.

It begins with a sense of unease.  Slowly, it creeps up the back of your legs and pervades every cell in our body. The feeling gets stronger that something is not right.  Your breath shortens.  You look for a place to hide. Breathing is getting more difficult – run, hide, don’t let it find you. Darkness surrounds you.  Its breath is upon you. You want to fight but, feel frozen in space and time.   You will your feet to run.  They won’t move.  Your stomach begins to rebel and every cell of your body is on high alert. You know the end is near.  You start to lose all sense of reality as it reaches out to strangle you. It wants you dead.  It laughs at your weakness and mocks you.  It is debilitating.  Your fear has escalated into total incapacitation.  You are broken.  It will not stop until it has conquered you.  It has won.

The anxiety continued to escalate making each day of living more difficult.  I now wanted to die but, knew that was not an option.  Multiple panic attacks would occur during the day with some lasting for hours. I was having severe nightmares. Sleep became erratic as attacks happened at night too.

I knew I needed help but, did not know where to turn.  I kept praying for answers and again, silence.

I suffered from severe anxiety and in many forms. A psychologist explained that the synapses in my brain were not working correctly.  For a moment, I felt a huge relief to know I was not crazy but, then she recommended I see a psychiatrist. I was terrified of medicine as I had always been sensitive.  However, after an incident where I quit breathing, I was paranoid about it.  I hated anything that made me feel like I was not in control.

A dear friend literally held my hand as I went to the psychiatrist’s office. The doctor told me I was one of the worst cases of anxiety he had ever seen and was going to use me as a case study in one of his books.  He also recommended counseling.

It has been over thirty years since my first attack and the changes I have seen since then are nothing short of remarkable.  It took many years to see that God did, in fact, have a plan in place.  I had to learn that answers don’t always come in the way we expect nor, in the time frame we want.

Recently, I found a journal entry from years ago.  “I feel so blessed in so many ways.  I have so much to be thankful for.  God, help me to focus on your goodness and mercy and grace when times are tough and uncomfortable.  Help me to remember the peace I feel right now.  I am so grateful for your love and kindness.  There have been times when I have felt abandoned even though your word promises that you will never leave or forsake me.  I am beginning to understand that you allow us to go through the difficult times to make us stronger – survivors.  I believe you can and still heal instantaneously.  However, sometimes you choose a different method. Even in your word, Jesus made a paste out of mud to heal a blind man’s eyes and had to apply it more than once.  To another he commanded that he go and dip himself in water seven times.  Please let me always know your presence even in the midst of a storm.  Help me to learn more of you as I read your word.  Help me to be faithful to that which I should do.  Give me wisdom and restraint to abstain from the things that would jeopardize your presence and your desires for me.”

God did not create an imperfect world.  We did.  He has given us the tools we need to live in this world.  Suffering produces understanding, wisdom, empathy, and more.  Jesus suffered much more than we ever will.  One day those that believe will go to a place where there will be no more sickness.  I await that day with great anticipation. – Diane Rossi, Florida

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