Ok. I am going to give you the scoop, as I see it, about certain conditions, primarily panic attacks, interpreted through my experiences and perceptions. I do not give support from any medical journal or other documentation, only my opinions and recollections as true testimony from my own life. I am not a Doctor. I am an artist/writer with a day job. But I have lived through some things and overcome some things and am writing because I want others to use my experience to get well faster. I can’t give “professional” help, but I can give help from the trenches. My information comes from first hand personal experience. I hope it helps, but at the very least, I think it is something to consider, whether you are reading this for yourself, or someone you know. It is my belief that the condition, ie. panic, depression, etc… is a symptom and not the primary issue. It is a pointer or indicator letting you know something doesn't line up. We know when we have a cold by a runny nose or cough. We come in contact throughout our lives will emotional/psychological “germs” through our experiences. And we are quite resilient to them, but some more than others need to be looked at and dealt with. Our conscience or inner map of who we are, gives us our direction. But we can easily bury that guide behind habits (not necessarily bad) and excuses. I believe many of our conditions are from ignoring a little voice inside. Not to say the remedy is to overhaul or change any part of ones life, but to find out what that voice is saying, acknowledge it is real and important, and then move forward with a conscious decision, rather than avoiding dealing with it. It is not always a bad thing that may bring on a condition, but it is something on the inside that wants to be looked at.
The Book of Romans chapter 5:1-5 says: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” That says a lot… ‘peace with God through Jesus Christ… access by faith into his grace… sufferings produces endurance/produces character/produces hope.’ In other words, it is common to have difficulty, but the answer was given. I have found the Book of Romans to be helpful when I need to refocus.
Let’s look at an example, whether it is a deep desire for a career move, being abused in some way as a child, loss, or fear of where your next meal will come from, you have a voice that you need to listen to if you are having some sort of condition. Listen to it and discover the whole desire and the root of it, and then make a plan that satisfies yourself. You may not have the time or energy to make a change. If it is something that happened to you, perhaps you can listen to that hurt, and communicate with it and acknowledge it from where you are now. Maybe there is something you need to grieve. My wife and I lost a baby at the beginning of her third trimester. She immediately went into grief and I believe got real inner healing. I did not deal with it for years, but at some point I decided to begin attending a church where worshipping God through song was more expressive, the sermons correlated with my life, and there was something new to me, ministry time. One day years later, out of nowhere, I began to grieve that lost child. It was so beautiful and good to do. I felt so thankful to do it. I have had other things I have had to grieve, and that normally has taken place during a church service. Maybe others are more open normally, but I tend to bottle things up and singing and focusing on God does it for me. It opens me up. I have found in my late thirties and early forties how beautiful it can be to be among a group of people, all setting aside their daily agenda, to give thanks. There is no greater recommendation I can give, regardless of where you are at this time in your life, than to find a church to worship God through Jesus. That I believe is recovery. It will help you hear the voice and from there you can decide on the resolution. Whether it is to make a change or a concession, I believe this will help you follow the bread crumbs back to the source.
When I have felt anxiety, it is typically a sign that I am not living what I believe. I am going along with things and not standing for what I stand for, putting something off, or I am hiding my true self and beliefs because it is easier. Following what others believe. It is not cool to let others dictate your path, you have to take what is said and look inside for your answer. Medication may be what is necessary for a time, maybe even years, that is for you and your professional to decide, but also try to pay attention to what you are doing, saying, thinking, feeling and hoping and trail it back to what that inner need for acknowledgement, attention, and/or a response. It takes a bit of looking around to remember what you really believe some times and other times you know exactly what is going on and where a discrepancy lies. I had horrible panic attacks 10 to15ish years ago. My body and emotions were very convincingly suggesting something was wrong. And true enough for me there was, but not what I originally perceived. I got through this period of time with prescriptions and vices I had collected over the years. But somewhere on the inside of me I didn't want that stuff anymore and that inconsistency between who I was internally and who I was functionally was causing the panic. So in a sense, my remedy I used to get through the symptom or problem, was the root of the problem! Some of my bravest moments involved just going to bed during a panic attack with my body saying there is an issue. I knew, (remember this is a recording of my experience only), my issues were panic related and not actual physical concerns but it was still hard as heck to be sober and ignore seemingly serious sensations. Over time, panic symptoms went away and stayed away. I attribute getting past panic to getting through some addiction issues and beginning to serve God, or at least going to church and worshipping. I had to find where I was living contrary to my belief of who I thought my self to be, and fix it, with a lot of help from God, by realigning myself and my actions with my true self. I love fictional writing, but fictional living, not so much. There is still much to overcome and enduring is often painful, but better than the alternative.
When we are overwhelmed by something, and grief, anxiety/panic, and depression can all be overwhelming, we need to remember who we are and come back to God. Don’t punish yourself or worry about lost time, just remember he is your God and you are his son or daughter that he loves.
As indeed he says in Hosea,
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
Father I thank you that even when we are going through difficult and traumatic physical or emotional experiences, that we are not exiles to you. We may only think that is the case, but the truth is we are beloved sons and daughters. We are cherished by you. Thank you for being a forgiving God. I ask you father to help each and every one of us to find forgiveness for those who have hurt us in the past, forgiveness for the circumstances that have hurt us, and forgiveness for ourselves regarding our decisions, actions and mistakes of our pasts. You make us new in the body of Jesus Christ. Father, I thank you for providing us peace with you through your son Jesus Christ. I pray we see and experience and fully remember our innocence that you gave us today and every day. Amen.