It was mid-morning as I headed upstairs to start cleaning the master bedroom. For some reason, I became easily tired after walking up the stairs and bending down to pick up a few things off the floor. I have a slight touch of asthma so, I just figured it was the cause. I remember sitting down thinking it would only be a few minutes for me to catch my breath. Moments later, I wake up to find myself on the bed with my body immovable and my mind trying to piece together what had just occurred with cloudy confusion. I tried opening my eyes wider to see past the blurry and narrow vision but had no control over my heavy lids. I tried moving a finger, a hand, lifting my head or opening my mouth to speak but it felt as though I were paralyzed. It seemed like a horrible dream. In my head, I was not in a state of panic, but instead, I was just….numb, and I couldn’t understand why I was motionless. Why I had zero strength, no control, or why I wasn’t able to open my eyes or mouth.
I had no idea how many seconds, minutes, or hours had gone by since walking up the stairs to this moment. After a few moments of using every ounce of strength I had to try to move, talk or blink, finally, a word came out. “What?”, I said with a slurred speech, “What’s happening to me?.” As my eyes started to produce moisture, I was able to blink. And with a sudden jolt, I was up on my feet as though nothing had happened.
The moment I was able to gain authority over my body and I realized what had just occurred, I looked at the clock and had seen that an entire hour had gone by and I started to sob. “What the hell just happened to me?”, I thought. “What was wrong with me?”
I had no idea that this would be the start of many panic attacks. Where I lay motionless with absolutely no control over my body. Where I have no recollection of how I ended up on the bed, the floor, the couch. Where words came out slurred and unidentified. Where I had no awareness of time and when seconds, minutes, and sometimes hours had passed me quicker than a blink of an eye. Where fear grips me and I am tangled in its web. Every single time I woke up and after several minutes of trying to push through the paralyzed state, my mind would run through what I had missed and what took place when I was out. Trying to recall every step and move before I laid unaware and detached.
No warning ever came before the attacks. There were no patterns, no symptoms, no prodrome. They were unpredictable and unprovoked. They just came. I guess that’s why they call them “attacks”. I’d be out like a light and then jolt back up as though nothing had happened. And with a burst of energy that ran through my body after gaining my control, and I would start cleaning, cooking, and go right back to my duties.
No warning ever came before the attacks. There were no patterns, no symptoms, no prodrome. “
If you are reading this and have had a similar experience, I’m sharing this today not because I’m here to give you a quick fix on how to handle or prevent future attacks. I’m not here to give a medical diagnosis or tell you all the things you should be taking/doing/or changing. I am simply here to say that you are not alone. After every attack, I honestly feel like a freak. Guilt runs through my mind as I try to assess what I did wrong to cause it or bring it on. I feel week, frail and inferior.
How could a young woman in her 20’s, with a roof overhead, food on her plate, and a closet that is overflowing with so many garments that it can’t even close, possibly feel this way?
How can one feel this helpless and alone when she has a solid group of friends and a family who loves her?
How could her body possibly give out on her like this
These are questions I ask myself every single time I snap back into reality.
But I understand that I am not alone. And this very statement is comforting. We all have burdens.
We all have despair.
We all have aches in our heart and bruises in our minds.
But there is one word, one thing, that can help mend the brokenness.
That can help comfort the weary.
That can help ease the mind, to set us back to normality –
The love that constantly surrounds me.
The love of my family, friends, community, and church.
The love from my Creator.
The love I feel every day that gives me a reason to get up and live life.
No matter what it is you are going through, know these two things:
1.) You are not alone.
Though at times we all feel loneliness and no matter your circumstances, you are in the company of many hearts.
2.) You are loved.
Even when I was abandoned and unwanted and left as an orphan, I still knew I was loved by The One who mended me in my mother’s womb. By The One who called purpose for my life before it even began. And by The One who knows the number of hairs on my head and calls me by name.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:28-29
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
“How much more do you mean to me than the sparrows? YOU [my love] are worth far more.”