Friday, January 18, 2008

Frozen by Fear - Freed by the Father

Here is my orginal submission for the P31 Magazine contest. I pray that it glorifies God and blesses you.
Christie :)
“Frozen by Fear - Freed by the Father”

I KNEW IT; I WAS DYING! Panic and fear swept through my body causing my face to feel red-hot and my blood pressure to rise. I began to sweat, my hearing went muffled, and my mind and heart were racing. I was scared and confused because the feelings of death overwhelmed me. I could not die in front of all these people, so I ran as fast as I could, searching for somewhere I could be alone. I spotted the door to the bathroom and darted towards it. I entered the small, dirty room and looked at my pale face in the mirror. Scared to answer, I wondered what just happened to me, am I dying or going crazy? As my body shook, I splashed water on my face, started taking some deep breaths, and I sat down on the only thing available, the toilet. I began trying to convince myself that everything was going to be all right, I was not dying and I needed to get back to work. The tension in my body began to lessen as I reasoned with myself and I walked out of the bathroom in a fog.
I was 15 years old, when it happened for the first time. Employed as a cashier at the local grocery store, I had my whole life ahead of me. I pondered the episode at first, but as life soared by, I soon forgot. That was, until the next time.
At 16, I had quit my job and was attending both high school and a vocational school. I thought that leaving my job would put an end to the episodes, but before long, it began again, this time while driving. Since I drove a friend and myself to school, I had to face my fear of it happening, everyday.
I finally realized that I had no other choice, but to tell my parents. Bewildered, they sent me to a doctor. After several tests, the doctor found nothing physically wrong and suggested that I may have an anxiety disorder. He recommended that I see a psychiatrist and we made the appointment. In one session, the psychiatrist diagnosed these incidents as panic attacks, taught me some breathing and calming techniques and sent me on my way.
I still told no one due to the embarrassment of my self-diagnosis of “being crazy”, but I at least felt better knowing that I had a diagnosis and that there was a reason for these terrible episodes. I attempted to reduce the attacks by practicing the breathing techniques, but was not able to control them.
Even as I got married and had children, I tried to keep myself as secluded as possible to keep the attacks from worsening. The attacks would lessen at times, but any amount of stress would cause them to return.
As I forced myself to leave our home each day, I prayed for help, at times, even crying out to God to take these panic attacks away. However, nothing seemed to be changing. My greatest desire was to be able to take my children and go shopping, to be able to take them anywhere, and not be afraid. I continued to pray for years, not seeing God’s answer.
In fact, over time, my panic attacks became daily and intense. I was desperate when I saw a commercial about a new drug that helped people with panic attacks. Praying fervently, I secretly went to the doctor.
To my surprise, the doctor knew exactly what I was explaining. She was understanding and encouraging! She told me that I wasn’t crazy! She also explained to me that many people suffer from this anxiety disorder and it was treatable. I was ecstatic! I wondered if it was too good to be true, but within a couple weeks of taking the medication, I began to notice a difference. I was feeling better and the attacks were farther apart. As they lessoned, I became more comfortable doing things like leaving my house, driving, and even taking my children to the store.
No one else knew how wonderful this was or how happy I was, but I did and so did God. He had answered my prayers, not in my timing, but His. He helped me after I stopped allowing my pride to keep me from asking for help. He was waiting for me to stop worrying about what others thought and rely on Him to provide what I needed.
God answered my many prayers, but He did not stop there. After He brought healing to my mind, He asked me to use the journey I had been on to encourage and inspire others. At first, I told God, “no” thinking the panic attacks may return. He then showed me His truth in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (NASB) God showed me that my panic attacks kept me humble and connected with Him. For the first time ever, I thanked God for my weakness.
Knowing that I could no longer be afraid and that God’s strength would show through my weakness, I said “yes” to Him. I nervously, began speaking publicly and writing about all He has done, and continues to do in my life. I am learning that when I allow God to work through me, the impossible becomes possible.


Celly B said...

What a wonderful testimony about God's healing in your life. Thank you for sharing with us.

Celly B said...

Time management is something I struggle with, too. Thanks for sharing this perspective.

Heather@Mommymonk said...

I'm so glad you stepped out in faith to share this story - struggling with anxiety can be debilitating and embarassement can keep a person in that frozen state. God has been good to you in providing you relief - He answers prayers! And He will use your story to encourage others.

My sister struggles with anxiety.

Amy L Brooke said...

Thanks for sharing your story.

I have battled depression and anxiety for years. It really is God who brings us through.

And we are neighbors. I'm from Normal, though some people might think that I am "far from it!"

Miss Sandy said...

Thank you for this wonderfully personal testimony. I suffered a season of panic attacks and like you thought I was dying or going crazy. Thank you for sharing that the anwer from God comes in many forms and we need not fear asking for help.

Miss Sandy

Bev Brandon said...

I know the feeling of being frozen in fear. I know the freedom of my Father who IS MAKING me free. As a child, I witnessed attempted murder on my life on several occasions by an unsuccessful family member who was a paranoid schizophrenic. While I will never be struggle free in this life, I am alive and freed from that domain of darkness. Your post so reminded me of Him who holds us all together.