The Dark Valley of Panic Disorder
by Alex Brookbank
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Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith;
be men of courage; be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13
The Dark Valley of Panic Disorder
I have been suffering from panic attacks for three years now. The attacks are rare and so far in between that I think nothing of it - of the hell I am in every time the dark episodes would come.
It will usually come when I'm sleeping and I'd wake up in pain, either from my hyper-acidity or menstrual cramps. I'd wake up hyperventilating and feel that I won't get to the hospital in time and that I'd die alone. I live alone but the hospital is just two blocks away from my place so the fear is totally unfounded, almost silly.
I have learned how to manage it over the years. The brown bag has been my best friend. But these past few weeks, the attacks are happening every day and the usual clammy hands and feet, palpitations, difficulty in breathing and numbness are now being accompanied by nasty thoughts. I feel like I am going crazy and that I'm losing my marbles.
I have a type A personality and my panic attacks are throwing me off the loop. Whereas before I feared I'm going to die alone, the frequency of my attacks is making me wish I'd actually die. I started anticipating the panic attacks and that worsens the situation. Being in crowded places is starting to get to my nerves and I'd feel agitated and suffocated.
"Be On Your Guard..."
I pray the Lord's Prayer every time I'm having my episodes and that usually helps. I'd get better after several repetitions until one time when I couldn't remember the words of the prayer I've learned since I was a little kid. I was quickly losing my breath as I panicked more when for the life of me I couldn't finish the Lord's Prayer. This scared me a lot and I felt the deepest despair.
I felt Satan was taking control of me. During my episodes, I feel his intrusive presence. He is laughing at my desperate grasp on my sanity. He is taunting me that I'd lose it, that I'm fighting a losing battle and that eventually I'd give up.
Satan is muddling my brains so that I can't get to the Lord. How could someone forget the words of the Lord's Prayer?! I called a Christian friend and she prayed the Lord's Prayer for me. I stumbled with the words but she breezed through it.
"Stand firm in the faith."
I cried every time to God whenever I would suffer from my panic episodes. I know He can lift me out of these dark moments. I ask Him to take care of my thoughts during the times I can't breathe and I'd feel impending doom. I ask Him for forgiveness for being anxious. But no, I'm holding on to my faith. My heart is bruised and my mind is tired but I'm working to be firm on my faith.
"Be men of courage; be strong."
I knew then that I should take my panic attacks seriously. Brown bags are no longer enough after I found myself in the emergency room. I found the courage to visit a psychiatrist and now I am on medication which will take care of my panic attacks. Now I can sleep at night and I haven't woken up yet in panic. I hope I won't ever again. The medication will take care of my psyche but what about my Christian soul?
You are my Healer, Lord. I know I am always in danger from Satan and his manipulative acts but I am taking courage from You. Satan is everywhere. He tempts me every time to renounce my faith. He showers me with worldly goods so that I will set aside the spiritual banquet. He hands me my medication so that I will stop looking at the Bible for words of comfort, wisdom and promises. He feeds my anxiety so that I will think that You cannot heal me.
My panic attacks are a solid reminder that I have to be on guard against the devious works of Satan. In my weakness, I have to be courageous and strong. This is a Biblical reflection piece written by the anonymous community at scripturesfromthebible.org, a site that offers free reflection and commentary articles based on specific verses. Follow the link to join the community or read more! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in writing for the site or would like to acquire more information.
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