I've been having panic attacks daily for a solid week now.
Debilitating attacks where my face goes numb, my hands and arms go numb, and it feels like I can't swallow or breathe. I break out into a cold sweat which then turns into an intense flushing of heat.
It makes my flight response kick in, which in turn produces more adrenaline which makes me feel more panicky which then makes me feel like I am going to pass out.
These panic attacks are accompanied by an awful feeling of dread and sometimes chest pain.
And it is only panic and anxiety that is causing this.
How do I know?
Because when I am busy or otherwise occupied I don't have any of those symptoms.
When I'm not dwelling on the anxiety I don't feel any anxiety.
Case in point-
I headed to church this morning and got gobsmacked with a panic attack one block away from home.
Do I keep heading towards church or do I turn around and go home?
Driving?!? I shouldn't be driving!! Wait!!! I forgot how to drive. I can't swallow!! I need to pull over.
Breathe...Breathe...swallow...gasp...swallow! Calm down..you're ok..you're ok.. breathe.
I called out for YAHWEH loudly. Then again...YAHWEH...please.....
You'd think that church would be the place to be whilst having an anxiety attack, wouldn't you?
Worship music, people I love and care about, a kindly pastor, the presence of Jesus, all the good feels.
No? maybe not but I was at war with myself and I knew I couldn't sit in church for an hour while this monster known as anxiety chewed me up.
After church I was planning on going to Target to pick up my husbands prescription.
In that split second decision where I had to turn left in to the church parking lot or continue going straight and drive down the road to Target, I made my choice and Target won.
Tsk...I know, right?
How bad is my anxiety if I can make a decision about where I'd like to go to stave off this attack?
I needed to get his meds, I needed 2 gallons of milk and I needed (wanted) a bottle of wine.
(Full disclosure- I've been medicating myself nightly with a glass or two of Pinot Grigio. It helps me relax and sleep.)
I figured I could run in get those few things and get out before my anxiety got any worse.
As I pulled into a parking spot who should I see but my best friend in the whole wide world.
She was standing by the cart return which was next to my car and talking on her cell phone.
I nearly jumped out of my car to say Hi to her. "You're my God moment for the day" I said to her.
I quickly filled her in on my panicky happenings as we stood there for 20 minutes talking to each other, and we could've talked for longer but we each needed to get on with our day.
I thanked her for being my angel and headed in to the store realizing that for the last 20 minutes I hadn't felt short of breathe or panicky or numb. No chest pain, no trouble swallowing, no trouble talking or thinking or walking. No passing out. Nothing.
It wasn't until I was heading home with my milk and wine and his meds that
I remembered calling out to YAHWEH as I was on my way to the store. YAHWEH...YAHWEH...please...
How quickly I forget....
At home again I remembered that I hadn't read any of my devotionals this morning.
Imagine my surprise when I read this-
-Jesus Calling Devotion For January 15-
My Face is shining upon you, beaming out Peace that transcends understanding. You are surrounded by a sea of problems, but you are face to Face with Me, your Peace. As long as you focus on Me, you are safe. If you gaze too long at the myriad problems around you, you will sink under the weight of your burdens. When you start to sink, simply call out “Help me, Jesus!” and I will lift you up.
The closer you live to Me, the safer you are. Circumstances around you are undulating, and there are treacherous-looking waves in the distance. Fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes. By the time those waves reach you, they will have shrunk to proportions of My design. I am always beside you, helping you face today’s waves. The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you. Laugh at the future! Stay close to Me.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Not to be out done by that one... but I read another devotional every day too.
This one is titled TO: YOU Love, GOD by Will Bowen, and here is what that one said for today-
When you worry, you sit downstream fretting over what the flowing current of life might bring.
What you fail to realize is that worry actually places the very thing you fear into the stream above you. Your anxious predictions then float by, and you conclude that worrying was justified.
Beloved one, know that worry anticipates; therefore, worry creates.
You were not born to worry. It was taught to you and reinforced by your own experience until it became habitual.
Begin now to create a new habit. Whenever you notice yourself beginning to worry, replace your troubling thoughts with thoughts of blessings and statements of faith.
Give thanks for what is going well. Place positive expectations into the stream above you and know that soon-very soon-they will drift down into what you call reality.
Talk about being gobsmacked!!!
It made me wonder if I had read those devotionals before I headed out to church maybe I wouldn't have had another panic attack today. I don't know.
What I DO know is that whenever I call to YAHWEH or Jesus or GOD, HE answers me.
In the truest of ways...in whispers or calmness or deep breaths or timely scripture readings or putting my best friend near the cart return in the Target parking lot.
HE is always there for me, always available...I just need to remember to call out to HIM.
What a beautiful name it is....
Thanks for reading,