I write this blog post with hope in my voice. I just want you to know that. I write because I love. I write in hopes my words will set people free. Sometimes even myself.
My relationship with Jesus has never been an easy one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m helplessly in love with him. I love being in his presence and soaking in even his scent from time to time. He smells like peppermint. It’s divine.
But easy, no. Restless, yes.
I’ve always been restless for more of him. Not content on the first date, I wanted to be married to him. I wanted more. I wanted to go deeper, farther into his heart.
I want to talk about what a lot of women are silent about. What’s shoved under the rug in the name of all things holy and good. Especially in communities of Christian women. Let’s talk about panic attacks. Let’s talk about anxiety. . Shall we?
I’m no stranger to the knowledge of different personality types. My husband and I are almost 180 opposite from each other. That’s why we are so madly in love. I love him more in this moment then the moment he dropped me off from our first date , and I told my Mom I would marry him. We are dangerously compatible and dangerously different.
Different personality types handle life’s curves and turns very differently. Although we all walk about the same road in life, we don’t all feel the same when we get let down. When tragedy strikes. When a loved one dies. When you lose something of value.
Lately my life has been a series of tragic events. To me. To others not so much. But to me it’s been crippling. Almost decapitating. I’ve had to learn to walk again and again after being thrown down. In my mind I have so many things to cope with that I feel overwhelmed.
The events don’t matter, or rather I don’t have time to share them in this post, but they’ve changed me. For the better? Maybe. But I haven’t seen the flowers sprout from the ground yet. I’m still in the watering stage. Waiting , watching to see if I bloom. I know I will. I just know it. So I’ll keep watering my garden with his rain.
Do I trust Jesus ? Absolutely.
Do I trust he is all holy and can heal me? Oh yes , I do.
After months of seriously handicapping panic attacks, and anxiety looming around every corner I’ve learned a lot.
I’ve learned that my ONLY hope in this world is Jesus. It’s not in my day or how it goes. It’s not in whether my children behave , or whether I prepare a healthy meal for my family. It’s not in the house I live In. Oh believe me, I know that.
I’ve learned to lean into his arm and ask him to guide me. Ask him to give me strength to finish out the day until bedtime. I’ve asked him to help me with the piles of laundry, and the lunches to pack. He never leaves. I’ve asked him to steady my heart rate after an attack. Asked him to clear my airways. He’s always there.
But I’m so tired. So very tired of the fight. It’s time for me to rest.
So today I made a phone all that all my life I was afraid to make. I was afraid to fail my children, my husband and myself. I was afraid I would never be ” spiritual ” enough for my life. Afraid my Jesus wasn’t enough for me.
Afraid that admitting I had a problem with anxiety would make me less of a strong person. Less courageous or victorious.
Often my Papa speaks to me while I’m doing household chores, and the other day while washing dishes after a series of panic attacks, he spoke.
” You wash, and I’ll dry.”
I spent days and days pondering over that. Praying into it and asking several wise women. I thought I had it figured out until today. He’s always eager to reveal his plans to me, but in his own time. Which infuriates me. But molds me.
I picked up my phone And with a cracked voice I spoke:
” Yes , I need an appointment to possibly get on an anti anxiety medication .”
And with those words such freedom and empowerment filled my spirit . For the first time in months I felt alive. My smile may seem alive and my laugh often was, but deep inside I am dying. A slow death. I need to breathe.
In that moment I knew what Jesus was telling me.
In order to have dishes to dry, we must wash them first. We must look into the sink, soap up our sponges and get to work. The dishes don’t wash themselves. No. We have to take it upon ourselves to wash.
In this he was saying to me,
::It’s ok to have dirty dishes. Things that have hurt you on such a deep level. It’s ok that you have issues to compute in your mind. Places you still need me to heal you. And you’ve tried. Oh man have you tried to heal them with me. Let’s do this together. You wash. I’ll dry.::
Whatever life throws our way, he is there to help. To guide and to lift us up .
Because I’ve decided to give medication a try, does that make me less spiritual? Or less of a courageous woman. No. It makes me smart. It makes me responsible.
If any one of my children had a chronic disease, that could potentially kill them , would I just tell them to pray about it and go on with their lives? Nah . I would most certainly take them to see a specialist in that field, and get them treatment.
Anxiety cannot be controlled. It needs a treatment.
I’m a firm believer in all things natural. If I found out I was with child right now, no doubt in my mind I would be planning a home birth. I douce my children with essential oils and we eat mostly hardcore organic foods. I buy my ground beef at a local farm, and for the love of God I eat raw honey and kombusha.
But I know it’s time to try modern medicine. Jesus isn’t mad.
I want my husband, the love of my life to have his happy wife back. I want my children to see non frazzled mother when they disobey me. I need myself back.
I can see the end of this season in my minds eye. I know it’s shaped me into a courageous woman, and I’m ready.
I’m ready for what is ahead. And ready to leave behind what has harmed me. Exhausting days.
I have great hope in my Father, whom is well pleased in me. He’s pleased in me.
I just need a little wine, a lot of Jesus, and a little medication to get through to the other side.
And it is well with my soul.
7 thoughts on “Let’s talk about panic attacks . You wash and I’ll dry.”
Thank you, Rachel Haggerty!
I love you, Rach! And I am so, so proud of you – in every way.
Hmmm… wonder who I got that idea from?
O Bec! I love you deep!
I have had debilitating panic attacks for 30 of my 40 years that I can remember. I ws s put on antidepressant drugs that only made me lethargic and numb. Five years ago I was finally diagnosed with anxiety not depression and put on effexor. The side effects, withdrawl, cautions scared me to death, but not as bad as the inability to get out of bed, take care of my family, feel joy and happiness. I took the first dose, then the second and suddenly I was up. The third – 10 I was afraid I was mznic because I was on such a high
After the 10th day I was able to relax. Five years later i am the person I am supposed to be. Happy and healthy. It saved my life just like insulin saves my niece. I am not ashamed to say I have to be on medication. I thank God for scientists that discovered something to help those in need and I praise God for giving me the life I have!
Thank you so much for sharing. You are a strong woman! This gives me deep hope! I will also ask my doctor about Effexor. I’m so glad you’re doing better!
Rachel, I am Zaida Newkirk’s sister-in-law. Wonderful writing. I, too, have had panic attacks off and on since I was in my 30’s. At one point I thought I was completely over them, 10 years, and had one driving home from work one day just out of the blue. I have not driven any further than Winston or Greensboro in years. I have finally started venturing out rather successfully but very tentatively. I still take a Xanax before I drive though. I also take Effexor and Lamictal. Am working on getting off the lamictal with the help of a new doctor. I fully understand what you’re going through and pray the best for you. I think you’ll find there’s a new (or old) person inside that you know and love. Prayers for you.
Thank you so much. I’ve been praying for you since you had chest pains this week. Are you ok? Thank you for your encouragement!