When was the last time you cried? If I’m being honest, I never sit down and bawl my eyes out, although it would probably be good for me.
A couple of months ago, I was dog-sitting for a friend. I was in heaven. Why, you ask? I was in a house ALL. BY. MYSELF for two whole days! I can’t put into words how precious this time was for me. If you’re a tired mom or dad, you understand. If you live in a house with five other people, you understand. I stopped by the store, picked up ingredients to make spaghetti, fired up the laptop and settled into the weekend with a fancy glass of OJ and Netflix.
Anyway, the night was going very well. It was SO, SO quiet. When you live in a house with 5 other humans, quiet feels like a gift at Christmas. After dinner, I slid into a hot bubble bath with a book and John Mayer (unfortunately, it wasn’t actually John Mayer, but his playlist is my other BFF, so I was good). Fifty minutes later I was in bed.
The perfect night.
Somewhere around ten o’clock I drifted off to Zzz-ville. At midnight (on the dot) I sat straight up in the bed, sobbing.
It came out of nowhere. Like a dirty, rotten thief breaking into my dreams to steal my peace. That may be a tad dramatic, but for the love of a single mother, can’t a girl have one night of uninterrupted sleep?
I had no idea what was going on. I fell asleep with happy thoughts dancing around in my head. Where did this come from?
Then I remembered what my doctor once told me.
After my ex and I separated, I began having panic attacks. Not every day, but several times a week. While that’s not abnormal, given the circumstances, it was when they took place that baffled me. It didn’t happen when I was having a hard day or when I felt overwhelmed and sad. Nope. Panic attacked me on the good days. The days when I remembered so easily everything I had to be thankful for. That seems backwards to me. And that’s exactly what I told my doctor.
This is what he had to say…
When we feel happy, we let our guard down. Things are going well, we aren’t worried about anything and we don’t feel stressed. This is the time when our subconscious thoughts sneak around to the front of our brains and the thoughts, fears and anxieties we’ve squelched surface.
Makes perfect sense!
There’s so much controversy surrounding mental health. If you ‘hear’ nothing else I say today, hear this: Panic attacks are real. They’re scary. They’re nothing to be ashamed of. It happens to more people than you think.
Over time, my “episodes” have lessened, but once in a while they strike me hard. And I’m NEVER prepared.
For example, I was at Walmart the other day shopping for a road trip. I was in the boys’ swim section when, all of a sudden, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I ended up racing to the front, throwing my items through self check out (we all know what a joke that is) and flying to the car before I ‘passed out.’ I never pass out, but I always feel like I’m going to. Most of my episodes either come when I’m in a restaurant (can’t swallow) or in a clothing store. Go figure.
I’ve mentioned that my mom has been having issues with her heart over the past few weeks. So many things have changed in our world. I don’t want to go into much detail, but it’s a lot to get used to and I’m feeling completely overwhelmed. In addition to being my bestest friend in the whole world, mom is my “assistant,” my editor, my co-writer, and so much more. To say I have felt lost with her out of commission would be an understatement.
Sunday’s message at church was probably the best one I’ve heard in the history of hearing messages. At one point, our pastor was talking about hard times. I wrote down one statement he made. “A lot of drowning victims might have been saved if they hadn’t panicked.” We panic when we can’t breathe.
I started to cry.
This is not the most popular blog content. It’s definitely not the easiest to write about. But at the end of the day, it all boils down to this: I am not made for this world.
This is not my home.
There may be days when I feel like things are out of control (like now). Seasons of drowning.
But there will come a day when I can breathe again.
“…weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5