Anna is my mom's, sister's, daughter. We have been friends since she was born; I was 9 years old. I remember carrying her when she was a toddler, because no sensible grown up would; only a preteen who was attached at the hip to her adorable cousin. Never were there two more different people out of the same family tree; it's awesome! We have hung out all over the world, and now we regularly eat bad Chinese food in Denver. I love her!, and she has a story to share:
If you look at my life, it can be fairly enviable. I grew up in a strong, loving Christian family that has always valued me and helped me be the best I can be. I have a wonderful husband, adorable dog, and a brand new home. We have two running cars, stable jobs, and get to go on vacation periodically. Not too shabby.
This is all true. It’s also true that I struggle with debilitating panic attacks and anxiety. I lay in bed at night, awake for hours on end imagining all the awful things that could happen to me and my loved ones. I sit in my boss’ office bawling my eyes out for no reason at all. I have to pull my car over because I’m afraid that I’m shaking and breathing so hard that I might wreck. You give me a scenario, and I can give you the top ten worst things that could happen in under a minute. I wake up crying from sleep from dreams I can’t, and don’t want to, remember. For almost a year, fear has ruled my life. And I’ve let it.
I told myself it was fine. How could I admit that I’m afraid all the time and claim to believe in a sovereign God? Won’t everyone think I’m a hypocrite and have no faith? Look at what other people have to live with, who am I to be a pessimist?! Just pull it together, damn it.
Thankfully, I am now seeking help. I have started seeing a counselor who is helping with the “roots” and “shoots” of the problem. I have a prescription for the exceptionally bad days. I am having many honest conversations with God, friends, and family. There’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone has experienced trauma, many people suffer from it, and only a few get the help they need.