Saturday, May 7, 2011

Opening the prison doors

That theater has been my own personal prison. Two years ago, I made the choice to go in there and shut myself in and not come out again. It's somewhat safe in here. I get to choose who comes in with me, I get to kick people out as I please. If the conversation turns to something I don't want to hear (like the word die), I can put my hands over my ears and chant "I can't hear you" over and over. This is my theater. It's comfortable here too. The seats are cushy, the programming is great (it revolves around my kiddo's-what's better?), and I even brought God in here with me. WHY LEAVE??

Somehow, recently, my good friend anxiety allowed the panic to start setting in again. It's been small doses, comparatively. My comfort level has been significantly diminished though. This time, I have seeked out some Godly counsel (novel idea, huh?). I embarrassed myself in front of about 50 of my closest friends a week and 1/2 ago- and decided right then, THIS MUST STOP. My mom is leaving for Florida in a week. I should be going with her. I love Florida. My kids love Florida. They love my Grandpa, and he's not getting younger. Gracie talks about my aunts that live down there like she sees them everyday. I want to go. Why am I not? Are you ready for the most RATIONAL thought I've ever had? There's something about going to Florida that makes Gracie sick. We had come home from Florida about 2 weeks before the stroke, and then we had JUST come home from Florida when she had the huge seizure last year. I know, I thinking is about as illogical as it gets. I KNOW this, I just can't get past the fear.

So, you've read this far and you're probably wondering why in the world I felt the need to blog about this! Well, first of all- I am a writer. This is what I do. I love to talk, but when  it comes right down to it, I would much rather write my feelings down than talk about them. Second, as I said before, I embarrassed myself in front of about 50 close friends a couple of weeks ago. What happened? Our church has a new outreach program called the Great Commission. The idea is to board one of the church buses and drive to a neighboring town and basically blitz the whole thing with tracts, witnessing and soul winning as the opportunity arises. I was SO excited for the first one. The church was supplying a nursery and everything. I packed the kids a snack, went to the church, and dropped them off in the nursery. I got on the bus, still excited as can be. By the way, I'm a bus worker. 
I ride the bus.
Every week. 
With lots of kids. 
They're loud.
Sometimes, they stink.
So, being on the bus was not going to be a problem for me. I got on, sat down, and suddenly couldn't breathe. I felt my chest tightening and feet burning, and thought "Are you kidding me?" I had to get off the bus, right then and there. I knew immediately what the problem was- I had no way to get back to that church if anything happened. we would be half an hour away, ON A BUS. I was fine just as soon as I was back in control of the situation, driving the car behind the bus. Not before I hyperventilated and about clotheslines our Pastor and associate pastor trying to get off it.

So, those are reasons one and two. Reason three? I'm not the only person that anxiety and panic happens to!! Believe me, I am in no way an expert on how to get rid of these things, but I thought I could share what has worked and is working for me.

1. I know I made light of this earlier, but it is no light thing. It's the most important thing in the world. Check your salvation. I'm not for making anyone doubt there relationship with Jesus, but please do know that you know that you know that you're saved.
2. Keep busy, but don't over extend yourself. I think this should just be a rule of thumb, but we all do it. Today was a big day for the ladies of our church, we had our very first Ladies Tea. We are also right in the middle of our HUGE spring bus program. I am involved in the bus ministry, I have personal stuff going on, I am now working a per diem job, and of course, I have my family. I made a conscious choice NOT to help with the tea, instead to just enjoy the day with my mom and daughter. Would I have liked to help? Of course!! However, there just wasn't the time or energy for me to do so.
3.Get enough sleep and exercise. I'm not going to say an exact number of hours of sleep, everyone is different. For me, I need around 6 hours at night to function completely normally. A tired brain is an over reactive brain.
4. Pray, praise and sing. It might sound cliche, but it works.
5. Know your triggers!! Obviously, my goal is to be "normal", but in the meantime, I'm not going to purposely put myself in situations I know will start my panic. Slowly work your way back to your "normal".
6. Arm yourself with the Word of God. I'm all for Bible memorization, but in this case, I am going to suggest finding one verse that fits you and helps you. Memorize it. Write it down and carry it in your purse, put it on your dashboard, etc. Using just one or two verses over and over is not only comforting, but it also helps keep you from becoming overwhelmed. My verses are Isaiah 54:7, 8 "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer." and Psalm 27:13, 14
"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."

I will conclude with that, but I will update on how I'm doing with my anxiety. Thanks to all who take the time to read this, and especially pray for us. I love you all!

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