Half my body was numb. I couldn’t feel from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. Unable to stand on one leg I fell to the floor as I tried to get out of bed. It took minutes for the feeling to return to the left side of my face, my arm and my leg. Night after night, I laid in my bed and cried.
“What is wrong with me?” “Why is this happening to me?”
This was my first experience with panic attacks.
I started to become scared of sleeping. I stayed awake until I was unable to keep my eyes open another minute. I would then wake up just a few hours later from another attack. This continued for a year and a half.
I clung to the words in Psalm 139
"You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you."
Mental illnesses are scary. Deep in the pit of your stomach scary. They are hard to diagnose, and they are hard to heal. Having a doctor say, “It is just in your head” is gut wrenching even if it is true.
For 2 years every day our family got sicker and sicker. First Rob, then Caleb, then me, then Rob and again Caleb. It felt like a tornado in our home. Each day was harder than the one before.
Throughout the day I read Psalm 139 over and over, but it was at night, in the darkness the stress of the day showed itself in my body. The darkness terrified me. But. . . the above Psalm says, “the darkness is not dark to him.” He is in control during the day and during the night.
God took me on a path of learning to step into the eye of the storm the scariest of places to
go but the very place God is waiting for us to lean into him. He reminded me over and over that he doesn’t view my life as broken but as, “fearfully and wonderfully made. He doesn’t view me as broken but as, “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Night after night the words of Psalm 139 sank deep into my aching and fear-filled heart. Finding rest, healing, value, love and thankfulness in God’s words and love.
With Him, we can find a place of peace and rest. A place where we can breathe deep, close our eyes, cry or pray; and trust he has the swirling madness in his hands.
He is a gracious, kind and loving God “Who knows when you sit and when you rise, who knows your inner most thoughts and loves you dearly.”