I have not had one in a long time, but there it was staring me in the face again. That hateful feeling of adrenalin racing through my legs and arms, hot and tingling, my heart seeming to race while my mind shouts, “NO!” Breathe deep, breathe deep, I tell myself. I use all the tricks I know to work through it: my music, focusing my mind on God’s presence, deep breathing. Finally, through medication, sleep comes. I arise the next day feeling defeated.
The first time I had one, I didn’t really know what it was. And it caught me totally off guard. I had no idea why I would feel this way. I guess I wasn’t in tune with myself. Anyway, as time went on I figured it out, relied on God to get me through and eventually I didn’t suffer with them anymore. That is, until the other night when BOOM, there it was again. Hateful monster!
I know what triggered it. My son had been sick with the h1n1 virus. His high fever was scary. The doctor put him on Tamiflu and he quickly got better, though I'm watching him closely now for secondary infections. So of course, after the “crisis” the panic attack hit me. I think it’s part of the post traumatic stress syndrome from going through cancer with him. My deepest subconscious remembers the trauma of my son’s treatment…so when I think I’m fine…PANIC ATTACKS.
What were those attacks about BEFORE, I wonder. I think I was just overwhelmed with life. The first one hit me when my husband was in Africa, before I became pregnant with my son. The next ones hit me when I was pregnant and again my husband was in Africa, this time for a month working on a very important outreach in Rwanda. Yes, I believe there are spiritual implications here. A spiritual battle as they say.
So today I read these words from STREAMS IN THE DESERT:
“It is your business to lean to be peaceful and safe in God in every situation.”
“A quiet spirit is of inestimable value in carrying on outward activities; and nothing so hinders the working of the hidden spiritual forces, upon which, after all, our success in everything really depends, as a spirit of unrest and anxiety. There is immense power in stillness. A great saint once said, “All things come to him who knows how to trust and be silent.””
“Instead of restless struggles, we would “sit down” inwardly before the Lord, and would let the divine forces of His Spirit work out in silence the ends to which we aspire.”
This is what God is teaching me. But how do I trust and be silent? How do I “sit down” inwardly before the Lord and let the divine forces of His Spirit work? How do I attain a quiet spirit? I’m a practical person so I want practical steps to these seemingly nebulous ideas.
As I contemplate this and ask God to lead me, I realize solitude is key, finding time to be alone, in a peaceful, calm place with Him. Meditation. Slowing down my life when its pace can become fast and furious. I work hard at this and with the kids in school I do have time to set aside for seclusion. I've cut back on outside functions even limiting my time with some friends. But with the solitude and meditation comes “right thinking”.
I’ve found my thoughts to be filled with falsehoods. In other words I’m discovering how I believe wrong ideas of who I am. I’m finding I operate out of false guilt and supposed formulas. Somehow along the way I’ve forgotten who I am in Christ Jesus. I’ve forgotten how He is doing a good work in me. I’ve forgotten that He sees me in His perfection. I found I was striving for that peace, that quiet spirit only to be sabotaged by my erroneous thoughts. Both are crucial. I'm a work in progress. I'll let you know later how I'm doing.
Panic attack antidote: Solitude with my mind steeped in His truth.