This is going to be quite a post, I mean we are talking about my biggest inner struggles here, you guys. LOL
I have an overworking mind.....(I self diagnosed myself, so don't worry) Basically I think way ahead in life, analyze problems that might occur and think about how to avoid the problem as easily as possible. Doesn't sound so bad really does it? Well, it is because it stokes a lot of needless worry as well. This, if not caught in time, translates to panic attacks and fatigue. Now I know what you're thinking...."just stop worrying." It's sadly not that easy.
You can imagine, I was in a real mess. Once you have a panic attack you are constantly thinking in the back of your mind "I don't want to have another panic attack. It's scary. I'm miserable." And guess what! Nine times out of ten you have another panic attack! So you end up living in fear of the unknown. It got so bad I did not want to go out shopping, dentist appointments, etc. I couldn't enjoy my life! Can you imagine shutting yourself up inside your mind, never letting yourself go and sail freestyle through life? Oh, believe me, I wanted it really bad, but I just could never reach out and grasp it. Some attacks were worse then others. At one point I was taking herbal relaxation pills to control my mind...now that was OK for a while but I was not facing the real problem. I was just creating a diversion..teaching my mind to rely on something to calm it instead of teaching my mind to control itself on its own! I was tight all the time. My dad would massage my shoulders and tell me to "loosen up." I was "too tight all the time." I would just shake my head and tell him I didn't know how to! My mom and dad learned to recognize my symptoms. I would start clenching my fists, looking naturally fatigued, take short breathes and feel completely miserable. You see when a panic attack hit the muscles would tighten in my stomach and neck, creating the illusion in my mind that I was sick to my stomach. I would feel like I was about to lose my lunch. I could not eat, drink..I would be miserable for a good 20+ minutes. This all started when I was 13- 14. So yes, some was hormonal, but not all. I worried constantly! It was insane! What would happen tomorrow?, what if I did something embarrassing in public?, what if I didn't pass the test and everyone thought I was dumb?... stuff like that! This went on for 4 years!
One day I was reading a book written by a midwife about natural healing methods and remedies, and it mentioned something about "having panic attacks at night for no reason? Its a common problem and we have a natural cure." I literately ran to my mom like "Mom, look I am not the only one! Other girls have this same problem!" She of course ordered the remedy immediately. Guess what it was!?!?! Doctor Schulze's Female Formula And you guessed it! It REALLY helped...(for a while) You see I was seeing it as a cure..not just as an aid in helping balance out my life. I was using it as a mental block...believing it was going to cure all my problems. And it did for a while. I was balanced and controlled hormonally, but it did not help the big problem. I was still having panic attacks from time to time, and I was truly discouraged. And then our church began a video series by Chip Ingram called "Becoming a Romans 12 Christian." Now please don't get me wrong. I have been a Christian since I was 5 years old, but I had struggled with my personal relationship with God off and on throughout my life. I talked to him a lot, but I felt guilty because it was mainly only when I needed his help, or needed relief from my constantly recurring panic attacks. I felt like a drag, that God did not want to hear from me AGAIN. I could just see Him up in heaven hearing my prayer and thinking "Oh great, she's back again, and just you watch...she will ask for something, but once she gets it won't give me a single thing in return." I felt even more depressed, but would always find myself asking him for relief and then promising myself to start reading my Bible more or praying more...TOTALLY missing the real relationship with God option! It was insane, and miserable! So anyway, like I said, our church had started the Chip Ingram video series "How to be a Romans 12 Christian." I was enthralled! I wanted what he was describing. "This is real," I thought, "this is what true Christianity is all about." Only the truth, no lies, no fake persona! I was inspired, and decided to begin the journey back to my God's side. I wanted my personal relationship back. But yet I had one foot in and one foot out. I needed one more push.
Meanwhile during these several weeks I discovered I had low blood sugar, and therefore needed to eat more then three meals a day in order to carry on without the major ups and downs. Quick story: I was at a party for the 4th of July, and I was having the time of my life, but our family had been sick the week before and I had not. I had stocked up on Vitamin C, etc. and had not gotten sick! So I was scared that I might suddenly get sick while at the party if I ate any of the party food being served. So you know what I did? I didn't eat! I only had a tiny portion fit for a newborn! And I felt ok for the time being. Well, later on into the evening I was playing volleyball and suddenly I felt sick to my stomach and had to leave the game. I rushed to the bathroom and stayed there for at least half an hour... or so it seemed. I felt like I was about to lose my lunch and I felt horrible, but I could not "throw up"! So finally I got up enough energy to go back outside to my mom, who after seeing me demanded to know what I had eaten so far. Keep in mind I have been known to eat very little simply because I am not a big food person. I just forget to eat! So I told her and she ordered me to go eat some watermelon immediately. I begged her not to make me because I did NOT feel like eating anything, but she told me I had to... so I did. And guess what!?!? After that first bite I felt better, and after a few more bites I was feeling great! It was then my Mom and Dad both agreed I needed to start keeping track of my eating habits to prevent this happening again.
Ok, so back to the original topic of needing an extra "push". Several weeks later it came. God sent it in the forum of The Pineapple Story. Have you ever heard of Otto Koning's Pineapple Story? Well, it was just kind of a whim of the moment thing. I wanted to listen to something in the evening before I went to bed. So I went out to our garage and rummaged through our box of cassette tapes...(we have a few) and came across the Pineapple Story! That night when I put in the first tape I was in utter awe of his story. We had so much in common! He was also a control freak, and I was amazed at the coincidence of the entire thing! He made talking to God sound so natural, and actually made it sound like a real life relationship! No formalities, no introductions...just him and God. And then when it got to the end of the second or third tape he asked those who were listening to trust God with their lives like he had done. And it was like a light went on! I could do this! I just had to hand the reins of my life over to God. This was huge...could I trust Him? I was scared and worried...(again) What if I gave Him control and he then makes me do something super scary like send me across the world or something! (Reading this now, it makes me smile...I must have been insane to hold out for so long.) God is not going to put too much pressure on you. He knows exactly what to put you through, He knows your breaking points and He will only ever push you to do your best. He is your friend not your enemy, for crying out loud! And I did. I gave my life to God.
And you have NO IDEA HOW RELAXED I HAVE FELT! It is amazing! I can sleep at night, and wake up rested! I can go to parties! I can volunteer at H.O.P.E without having a panic attack that morning! God is in control of my life..what ever happens happens! I am free to live my life because He is planning my life for me! I don't know why it is, but I felt moved to share my story with you all. If anyone out there reading this is having similar struggles, know that there is hope! I am still far from perfect and still struggle with day to day stuff but I know I am back on track and life has never been better! I want to share my joy with you all! This freedom I am experiencing is incredible! I challenge those who are reading this to go and listen to the Chip Ingram Series "Becoming a Romans 12 Christian". and then listen to the Pineapple Story. The two go hand in hand and you can even listen to them at the same time..one during the day the other at night. You will be so happy you did! It has changed my life!
I am truly free.
This whole post brings the song "Whom Shall I Fear" to mind. *sigh* :)