On the Sunday before last I had a wonderful opportunity to preach at my church. Usually I only get this chance once a year but this last year I have now had the chance to do it twice. I’ve been working on my sermon for a few weeks and was really excited to deliver the finished piece. It all started normally enough but right in the middle of speaking on the sinlessness of Jesus, that’s when it hit me.
A horrible anxiety attack
My chest was tight, I had tingling in my hands, I was getting dizzy, I was breathing heavy, I could not drink enough water my mouth was so dry I wasn’t sure if I was going to pass out, die or run but I knew I had to do something.
Just a week before that I was in the ER at the hospital just down the road, again, for similar symptoms. The ER thought I was well enough to send home.
See I get these panic attacks from time to time, I can go months, even years sometimes without having one and then I can have 2 or 3 in one day.
You’d think I’d have gotten used to them and I guess in a way I have but when you totally feel like death warmed over it is hard to convince yourself that what you are fighting is all in your head.
Or as the Doctors like to say “Oh, it’s just anxiety”.
I was diagnosed as having Generalized Anxiety Disorder back in 2008, when I was 30 years old. You have to have chronic anxiety symptoms for over 6 months to be diagnosed I went an entire year.
I spent a couple years on medication and never really liked it. Since coming off drugs 4 years ago I’ve gone back and forth with the anxiety. SOme days, weeks, months are good and some not so much.
Lately my life has been in the not so much catagory.
I’ve had some major stress in my life, my dad got a diagnosis of kidney cancer and he had to have a kidney removed and well that sent me on the latest spiral.
Since my fears always center around my heart health(because I’m fat) I recently went to a cardiologist and was reassured that, once again, it was JUST anxiety.
You hear that a lot when you have anxiety as a mental disorder.
Oh you’re fine you’re just anxious
It’s just anxiety
It’s just your nerves it won’t kill you.
Yes they’re right to a point, panic attacks and generalized anxiety have yet to kill anyone but it’s still very flippant to dismiss the disorder as simply being just anxiety
It was just anxiety that led me to leaving my band a year ago. There were other reasons but the panic attacks and feelings of dread I was having due to the confrontations and stress that I was having in that band were making it difficult to function much les stay in the band.
It was just anxiety that has stopped me from working out as much and as hard as I once was, and let me tell you what I miss it I really do but when a mile walk gets you feeling dizzy it’s really hard to enjoy yourself.
It’s just anxiety that has stopped me from going out and doing things I used to love doing like seeing shows and doing karaoke.
It’s just anxiety that is making someone who has always ad a fairly active social life become much more of a homebody than I ever thought I’d be.
Anxiety disorders may not kill you but they will rob you of your joy. They’ll stop you from doing things you love to do, they will keep you at home, they will make you scared to death to take risks and chances. They hurt your mind, body and soul. I feel chronic pain of one kind or another every single day, the types of pain that a guy my age should not be feeling and I’ve been dealing witch that for the last 6, almost 7 years.
At least a couple times a week I get to feeling so dizzy and foggy headed I wonder if I am going to fall over. My life is changing and a lotm of it is because of the anxiety I deal with.
I keep waiting to get better, keep waiting for the day that will come that I’ll be able to do things I used to do and enjoy them without fear again but those days seem very far away. If I take medication I’m weak and I have to deal with ridiculous side effects but if I don’t than I have days when I feel pretty miserable and I spent a lot of my time wondering just what the hell is wrong with me.
My church, my wonderful church was so amazing and encouraging after I melted down in front of them last week. They have even told m that the sermon was good, but trust me it wasn’t. It was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had, I’d be surprised if they asked me to do it again.
My hope and prayer is that anxiety will just be something that I can grow out of. My fear is I never will and someday, sooner rather than later, it will make me be a shell of who God really wanted me to be.
Somewhere between what I hope and what I fear is the reality that life is going really fast and I feel like I’m being run over by it. That’s a but the best way to describe it.