Monday, November 10, 2008

Continuing the struggle...

From our trip to Rosario last fall, gray but peaceful.

...but with some help.

I must say that since I last wrote, I have been lifted up in the prayer, thoughts, and conversations of people close to me, and those I have not even met. The Bible tells us that when two or more are gathered in prayer, great things will happen. (I'm paraphrasing there) =) Well, I have found that to be true this last week, so to my blogger friends, thank you.

Since I last wrote, I went to see my doctor who, after listening to me blubber and sob, trying to think of any other way to overcome this in my life, prescribed me with a little "help". I really didn't want to start it, but after feeling totally "out of my skin" from Friday to Wednesday, I gave in. I tried medication about 2 years ago during the time when I was applying to graduate school. I was on it for about 6 months, but then after I got in and was well on my way, felt great and decided to kick it. After an episode, like I said before, I easily forget how paralyzing it was and move on. Well, this time, I felt inconsolable for 6 days straight, which is the longest I've ever experienced. I tried during that time to really remember exactly how I was feeling so I could relay it to my doctor.

I've wondered before why other people can pray about God taking away a struggle in their life and why it works for them and not for me. I think, like I said before, that God has given me this to bear, and He will bear it WITH me, for as long as He wants me to learn from it. Even though I hate the feelings I get during an attack, when I'm in a time where I can reflect on my struggle, I realize it has actually brought me more good than evil. It has deepened my relationships and conversations, forced me to "be real" with people, especially during an attack, created connections with other people and made them feel comfortable to share their experiences, and has given me a different perspective on life and what is important. It has also forced me to lean on the Lord and reflect on Him in a way I never have. I think we all have something in our lives that gives us that "true" perspective on what truly matters, and for me, it is this.

There's a part of me that didn't want to start medication because of the effect I've experienced before of causing a person to be "emotionless". No highs, no lows. Even though this "thing" I have is terrible, it brings the outpourings above...what if I can't feel? Do I really want my conversations and thoughts to be carried out in the past-tense because of this side effect? This has been my fear, and it has been revealed to me as I write that maybe even the action of swallowing the pill each morning will be a reminder of this struggle and not the end, but simply a part of what I'm doing to contain this enough to carry on a normal life.

I am feeling better already and I praise the Lord for the way He works through these things and allows us to be a part of it. =)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Not feeling so great...

...but trying to rejoice in this time.

So, without writing forever, I'll say that I've dealt with panic attacks and anxiety for the past 6 years. If you're not familiar with the symptoms, they include heart palpitations, hyperventilating, feeling like you're going to pass out, dizziness, nausea, and basically just feeling sure you're going to die, right now. It's terrible and though I've dealt with this on and off for these years, there's a part of me that's never quite convinced that anxiety is all it really is. (I think that's probably the anxiety talking, since all tests I've ever had have come back normal) I'm not a person that is big into taking prescription drugs if there's another way- I've tried everything else I can think of and these attacks continue to plague me.

What it all boils down to is my human fault of not trusting the Lord at ALL times. When I pray for Him to intervene, I want it down in my time, like right now! What I fail to realize is that there is something to learn from these panic attacks. I feel like the "after" feeling is similar to what my girlfriends have said of childbirth..."once the baby is out, the pain is easily forgotten". After a panic attack, I think "that wasn't so bad, I'm not really going to die, I can get through it on my own". But as soon as it comes back again, the fear is real again. I don't know why I bear this condition, but of course there are so many things that are worse. Unfortunately, I have a job where I can't just take a break, get some fresh air, or lay down. If I did, I'd have 29 4th graders bouncing off the walls!

The point of this post is really just for me to see myself write this reminder: Robin, trust the Lord your God in all times. Good times, times of sadness, and times of stress and confusion. Do not doubt His love for you and that He is with you every step of each day. As it is written in James 1, "consider it a blessing when you face trials of many kinds, for it brings you closer to the Lord your God." He is with you always, you are never alone. Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you, to prosper you and not to bring you harm, to give you hope and a future."

((big sigh))

So there is it. I am to consider this trial a blessing. I'll do the best I can. To start, here are 5 things these panic attacks have brought me:
-A realization that I cannot do it alone. The more fervently I pray, the more immediate peace I feel.
-Gratefulness for my husband. The Lord has a master plan indeed, because Mark is so patient, loving, and understanding of me.
-A connection with one of my students who struggles like I do.
-It makes me notice and appreciate simple things like breaths that are easy to take, time spent with friends and family, uninterrupted by anxiety, and the times when I feel really good.
-I am more realistic about the things that are out of my control. What tomorrow brings, how others choose to live their lives, to name a few. Why worry if I can't do anything about it?

I'm grateful for this blog being my "sounding board" today. Thank you all for listening with your eyes. :)