Friday, October 3, 2014

Anxiety, PMDD & The Relentless Love of My God

This post talks about some heavy, negative emotions I deal with, so at the end I've added a video of a song that lifts all the heaviness.  Watch it.  It's worth the couple minutes it takes up.
I have to say that the most terrifying thing I withstand is anxiety. The source of anxiety for every person is different. For me, it's a physical imbalance. I was diagnosed 4 years ago with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). Essentially, PMS x 1,000,000. It causes such an extreme fluctuation in my hormones that I become either petrifyingly depressed or hysterically anxious. Fortunately for me, there is medication that offers relief and keeps my hormones balanced when my body can't regulate on its own.  Some are ashamed of needing medication, but I’m not.  I believe God gave the doctors knowledge to help us.  It doesn’t mean I am not putting my trust in Him when I turn to doctors.  I’m just not stubborn, and I want to live my life to the fullest and be productive and happy… not live in sadness and fear.
There are times, though, that the medication just isn't sufficient.
A few nights ago I was feeling particularly on edge.  There was tension at work that I just couldn't seem to shake. Knowing I was already anxious, I came home, drew a hot bubble bath, turned on my favorite meditation app, and for 45 minutes did nothing but relax.  I focused on my breath, connecting each intake with the movements of my body, relaxing my jaw, putting zero effort into what my body needed.  I actively forced the tension out of myself.
Feeling sleepy, I nestled into my favorite robe and initiated my evening skincare routine (which usually takes about 20 minutes) when all of a sudden, I felt like a train full of hot water crashed into my chest.  A warm feeling saturated my heart and chest, I was dizzy, my hands went numb and I couldn't breathe.  I ran downstairs to find Tom and told him I was having an anxiety attack.  I burst into tears and sat on the steps sobbing for 10 minutes.

I’m going to interject here into my own story and tell you what I feel when anxiety hits me.  I stand, overwhelmed by a feeling of loneliness and fear, blackness covers me, it’s so heavy. I can feel it on my chest, pressing the life out of my lungs and crushing my heart.  I have to go somewhere, anywhere, to get away from it, but it’s everywhere. So I cry.  I don’t know why I cry, but it’s hysterical, uncontrollable.  I feel like if I say I don’t know what to do that someone will give me an answer, so I say it over and over between sobs.  I’m always afraid that it won’t pass and I’ll be hysterical/crazy forever and have to be committed.  I feel abandoned by God. 
Then I know it’s something I can beat, because I know that feeling of abandonment goes against everything I know to be true. 
I made my way to the bedroom, frantic.  I couldn't sit still, I couldn't stop crying, I kept saying "I'm so scared, I don't know what to do!"  I felt like I had cracked and I would never be fixed again.  I could see the fear and panic in Tom's eyes which made me more frenzied.  Finally, Tom suggested reading the Bible to me.  I immediately said yes and laid down with my head on his lap, still sobbing, as he began to read.  I don't know where he was reading from, although, I could find it if I looked it up.  I remember the story of the woman with the issue of blood, and the story of the old man beside the Pool of Bethesda.

Then the next thing I knew... it was morning.  Tom told me he read until I snored (which I never do, but it was most likely from crying and being swollen... just had to clarify! ;)

That day I read a devotional from Joyce Meyer... and coincidentally, it was about the old man beside the Pool of Bethesda.

"Okay, God. I'm listening."  Obviously, someone was trying to tell me something.
I haven't let go of my maladies.  I've been holding onto them... for absolutely no justifiable reason. I've been letting the fear of my sicknesses control me, dictate my every day, consume my spirit.
It's time for me to stop making excuses. It's time for me to let go.  Maybe they'll hang onto me for a little longer, but that bond will eventually fail and there will be nothing connecting these things to me.  My ailments do not define me. They are not who I am.
Who I am is a child of God.  Perfect. Whole. Favored.

I am incessantly grateful that my God loves me so relentlessly.  I'm a part of this deficient world, but He's offered me absolution from all the garbage that comes along with it.  All I have to do is ask... and then praise Him.  Something I do so eagerly.  What a small sacrifice to make for everything He does for me...

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