Trying to explain my anxiety (or depression) to others is a tall order. Generally, my list of responses include: “Oh, we all get anxious!” (Uh-huh.) “I get nervous about going to the doctor, too.” (Is it a week-long obsession for you?) “Trust in the Lord!” (Who says I’m not?) “I totally understand! One time in [insert year], I went through terrible anxiety. Thankfully, the Lord delivered me from it [and He will deliver you, too.]” (Sometimes we all just carry around our own “thorns in the flesh.)
I know that most people want to relate to me and are only trying to encourage me. I used to feel exactly the opposite—misunderstood and discouraged. Then I met others who shared my struggle, who knew what it was truly like to lie in bed with a Bible as a way to chase away the demons, who understood that getting dressed and brushing my teeth is a major accomplishment some days, and who truly walked this path hand-in-hand with God.
Due to my recent health concerns, I’ve been feeling anxious. While I am doing a much better job of seeking God in my trials, adrenalin still courses through my veins and my mind screams, “You’re not safe,” while my heart pounds in my ears. So, the other day I wrote a poem about anxiety. Sometimes a girl’s just gotta say it with poetry.
“The Panic Attack” by me
Right brain, left lobe
Bouncing to and fro
Never ceasing, never ending, never letting go
Nausea, adrenalin coursing through the veins
Breathe in, two-three
Hold on, hold still, as the world spins
Heart pounding, hands shaking, sweat dripping
Breathe in, four-five
Fighting, ripping, raging, screaming
Left brain, right lobe
Breathe in, breathe out
Fifteen minutes go by
Just keep counting
Just keep breathing
Just keep living
It will be over soon
In a reading of “The Panic Attack,” I will quicken my pace as I read to mimic how a panic attack grows and rages and then eventually ends (usually in fifteen minutes). Unless I make a vlog, most of you will never see this reading, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.
“Breathe In, Breathe Out” one of the tracks on Jason Gray’s latest album, A Way to See in the Dark, says that we breathe the name of God. And I even found a video of Jason explaining the song and playing it (by the way, this is almost exactly what Jason said at his concert. He would probably also want me to tell you that he sounds perfect on his albums, so you should buy one. If you can’t afford it, you will have a chance win an autographed copy here in the next couple of weeks!)
Let me tell you how, “Yah (1, 2, 3) Weh (1, 2, 3)” can really help during a panic attack; it’s gasping a prayer to the One who can truly provide peace.
Do you suffering from anxiety or panic attacks? If so, what silly things have well-meaning people said to you? What does a panic attack feel like to you? Do you like Jason Gray’s song? How can breathing the name of God help you when you are anxiety-ridden?