i forgot how this moment felt.
the moment where your thoughts are spiraling,
your heartbeat speeds up,
it feels like you’re crawling out of your skin.
i hate it.
i loathe it.
i wish it didn’t exist.
and for the past year and a half…it was like it didn’t.
i had forgotten how an anxiety attack felt like.
almost believed i didn’t struggle with it.
had this “i am victorious!” mindset.
because i have traveled (alone and with friends), had new adventures, gone out of my comfort zone with little to zero anxiety.
i was able to “best” it…when i felt it coming on i would say this moment will either consume me or i will not allow it to and i was always able to tell anxiety to get lost…mind it’s own business…shut itself down.
not this time.
nope…it was brutal.
i was ambushed.
and i had no weapons on me.
i was trying to explain an anxiety attack to a friend recently, and it’s hard.
the best way i can think of even beginning to help others understand is this:
pretend there is a glass box inside of your head.
you’re inside of that box – and you’re aware of everything happening around you.
you see you’re safe, that you’re surrounded by friends who love you, that there is no threat.
but in that glass box…is your deepest fear.
you start convulsing.
you have zero control of your shaking body.
you can’t focus.
you can’t snap out of it.
you’re still aware everything is ok – and rationally you have nothing to be anxious about…
…but you’re stuck in that box.
stuck in the fear.
stuck with a body and mind you can’t control.
or…let me put you in an empty box.
there is nothing inside – nothing to fear – nothing to get you bent out of shape.
yet somehow i convince your mind to believe your biggest fear is trapped with you inside of that box.
is it snakes? roaches? becoming harder to breathe? getting sick? ____?
and then i just tell you you’re fine, snap out of it.
can you do it?
can you immediately come to…even though you KNOW you’re fine?
are you still having after shocks from the fear, from the anxiety?
more than likely…you are.
that was me this past weekend on the mountain trip.
and i was angry.
i was ANGRY that i’ve gone so long without an attack to have one just come out of nowhere and take my knees out from under me.
i was under-prepared and hadn’t practiced my exercises to help me snap out of an attack.
i was angry because i felt like i had gotten my anxiety under control.
like i wouldn’t have any more anxiety attacks.
like it was defeated.
but it is my thorn.
and i will struggle with it forever.
and i have to be prepared for the onslaught.
i have to practice my breathing.
my safe place meditating.
my scripture memorization.
my “safety walk-through rationalizations”
i couldn’t snap out of it for two nights.
two nights of torture.
two nights of constant nausea, irrational fear, and feeling helpless.
two nights of feeling self conscious around women i know accept me as i am…anxiety struggles and all.
two nights of crying out to God to let this cup pass and to take this thorn from me.
two nights of His answering me that this will bring Him glory…even if i don’t understand it.
two nights of being consumed with self guilt…loathing…and frustration.
it had been so long since my last attack that i forgot how it felt.
how bad i get them.
how incredibly irrational it makes me.
and how one attack makes me even more anxious for more attacks – it becomes a horrible cycle.
i’m washed in the blood of Jesus, goofy, weird, compassionate, hyper, always attempting humor, hamburger eater, weird noise maker, and ready for an adventure.
i also struggle with anxiety.
i won’t let that last one define me though.
i won’t let it chain me down or keep me from this beautiful thing called life.
i. will. not. let. it. consume. me.