I startled awake, heart pounding and that awful feeling of overwhelming doom and fear completely take over my body to the point I find it hard to breath. Ugh! An anxiety attack. That irrational feeling of hopelessness sits on me telling me lies that don’t even make sense, and it doesn’t matter because my body and mind are rebelling against me. I don’t have them often, but oh I loathe them. It is like a tug of war in my mind; that completely irrational feeling that I can’t control, my entire being soaked in fear and knowing there is no reason for it and yet here it is.
I know that I am quite blessed, in that I have had less than a dozen anxiety attacks in my life. I also know that they come when I am exhausted mentally. Even so, I never see it coming and fighting my way out of it is never easy.
My first instinct is to always go to my bible. But I am going to be honest and tell you that hasn’t ever pulled me out of it. In fact, it adds to the feeling of hopelessness for me, pulling me farther into that darkness. I also just say the name of Jesus over and over. I’m really not sure what the fact that these things don’t pull me out of these moments says about me, but I don’t believe it reflects my faith that these things don’t automatically take me out of that fog.
I think that as Christians we sometimes think we shouldn’t have these anxiety attacks because it must mean our faith is weak. I simply don’t believe that. I know that my faith is strong. I also know that Satan wants me to think I am weak and hopeless. Our minds are so complicated and our world is filled with chaos that clutters our brains to the point of exhaustion.
So, as I share this with you, it’s not with an answer, because I simply don’t have any. But to let you know if you have ever had this agonizing feeling, you are not alone. And while I don’t have any answer on how to get over it or stop it from happening, I do know this – Even if I can’t feel His presence in that moment, He is with me. And sometimes, strangely, after it’s over I feel even closer to Him.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28
I can tell you I have sat on my bed, tears streaming down my face, chanting this verse over and over, willing it to take this fear away. And later, when that horrible fear is gone, I say it again.,because it may not feel like the answer in that moment, but it is always the answer for me after it’s over.
I am also well aware that we are all different and have different ways to deal with this feeling of panic that grips our entire being. If you struggle with anxiety attacks, my prayer for you is that you can find the rest you need in Him. And please know there are people who can help you get there, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
Finally, I leave you with the fact that this world is not our home. There will be a day when “He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Hebrews 11:16)
Our minds will no longer be cluttered with the chaos of this world. Nope, our only job will be to worship our great God!