My friend, Allan, over at http://morethancoping.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/you-dont-know posted this yesterday.
“A few weeks ago I began having a terrible toothache. I figured I’d take some Tylenol until it passed. Well it took almost two weeks to pass so I took a lot of Tylenol as well as Ibuprofen. That was the only way the pain was manageable.
You might be asking why I didn’t simply go to the dentist and have it taken care of? That’s a fair question. The answer to that question is it absolutely terrifies me to go back to the dentist. The last time I went I had a panic attack after they shot me full of Novocaine. They rubbed my shoulders and tried to talk me through it as best they could. When the Novocaine wore off I went home.
I’ve been terrified my entire life. It began with an alcoholic father and it seems all I’ve known is intense fear my whole life. My fears ranged from understandable to almost humorous. I went years without wearing colored socks as a kid as I had heard the dye could get into your blood and poison you. Even though I was quite athletic the idea of fighting/defending myself was never an option even if the other person was as nerdy as you could imagine.
It seemed self preservation was my goal in life. My little sister choked on a fish bone at the dinner table when I was maybe 14 and I ran out the front door. I was with a good friend when the neighborhood bully pulled out a knife while we were in an alley and I took off running.
My mind became my enemy as I was unable to think of nothing but the worst scenarios for anything that took place. When I was 16 I had my very first trip to the dentist as I was in so much pain I couldn’t stand it. That began my love affair with dentists.
When I was maybe 20 I began having trouble swallowing steak so I quit eating it. Also around that time I was awake every night pacing my apartment with my index finger to my throat as I though I might be having a heart attack. I refused to go to doctors as the idea of learning the worst was too much for me. That worked as I was younger but was a bad plan as years passed and life caught up with me.
I almost died maybe 12 years ago when my appendix became perforated. Instead of going to the doctor I just went with the pain which eventually subsided enough for me to get by. That led to doctor visits that showed nothing wrong, maybe I had food poisoning. Yet for the next 17 days I had a fever and managed to get by. Finally I saw the doctor and didn’t take Tylenol which controlled my fever. It was 103 and they hospitalized me and did emergency surgery. Part of my colon was removed and my appendix were pretty much dissolved. I was in the hospital for 10 days as they fought to keep my fever under control. I was too afraid to look at my scar for weeks.
And maybe 17 years ago I had my first full blown panic attack that entirely changed my life. I lasted at work for several years until finally my medication wasn’t enough to ward off the anxiety and depression that were ever present. Amazingly my work after being diagnosed wasn’t a problem as I made adjustments as a salesman that kept my appointments close to the office. But it couldn’t last forever and I found myself on social security disability where I’ve remained the last seven years.
I’ve been through what many of you may have experienced. I had a man try to cast demons out of me to exorcise my fears. I’ve had folks question my faith in the promises of God. I had my pastor tell me I was in sin. Others simply can’t comprehend why I have trouble driving very far. After all driving is as easy as taking a nice walk.
This last week I’ve had two major panic episodes. The kind where my body experiences these odd sensations and my mind totally gets away from me as stark terror sets in. Tonight it was so bad I ran a red light to get home as I was so far into the attack. It was a left turn light and no cars were there. but I still broke the law.
The other day I listened to a relaxation tape and part of it was walking you through a beautiful forest to a waterfall. I teared up as I was reminded of what I’ve lost.
Tonight I feel like one of those cases that is destined to never get any better. My faith has been trampled and stomped on and this is one of those nights where I feel like there’s no hope of getting better..
Please pray for me.”
This was my attempt at encouraging him:
“Allan: Someone once said, “Don’t be afraid to share with other Christians just where you are at. It let’s them know that you are human and makes them feel that they aren’t alone.”
I have a panic attack every morning, without fail. I don’t have a clue why, I just do. I too, have dealt with fear my whole life, yet since becoming a Christian, I’m not really afraid of anything. (Sound neurotic, don’t I?). It comes upon me and I ask myself, “What do I have to fear?” Yet, there it is.
One thing that has been very helpful for me it to talk about it. I realize that there are those who are much more spiritual than I am, and are willing to let me know it, even if I don’t ask. They are also quick to tell me what is wrong with me, all the while ignoring the beam in their own eye.
That being said, I love you brother. You have called and encouraged me at times when I was so down nobody knew except the Lord. You listened to the voice of the Spirit and called (twice).
The truth is, you are loved by many. And you make a difference in people’s lives. And maybe that is why you have gotten these panic attacks lately? Or maybe it’s chemical? Maybe it’s strawberry ice cream? I don’t know. (Poor attempt at levity here…sorry).
Thanks for sharing your fear. We (Rachel and I and my wife, Debra!) will be praying for you. Grace and peace…”
Now Allan started his blog a few years ago after being encouraged to do so by several of his Christian friends. They believe (and I do too) that there was a need out there for Christians who suffer from physical (mental) and spiritual difficulties. I find it very helpful to know that the guy who is posting articles and links for those who suffer, suffers himself. No platitudes, no “know-it-all” answers. Just help and encouragement.
Pray for Allan. He’s having a tough time right now, just like we all do at times.