When I first started experiencing constant anxiety, and later, panic attacks, I felt like a failure. I felt as though it was a weakness on my part – something that I should be able to control, but I couldn’t.
If only I knew how to control my thoughts.
If only I knew how to think only positive thoughts.
If only my faith was stronger.
If only I could pray hard enough.
My rational mind knew better, but anxiety and panic are not based upon rational thoughts, and if a chemical imbalance is in play, no amount of thought control will make it disappear on its own.
This cycle of thinking did not help me and it only served to sink me further down into the despair that I was wrestling with. But it’s common: a thought process that goes along with the anxiety.
Fortunately, I had a great friend who, after suffering my first panic attacks, would run errands with me, and check in on me, just because, of course ;)
She and I would talk, walk for miles, share feelings, pray together and encourage each other. And through those talks, (and lots of prayer journaling) I began to find the strength to get back up, each time I fell.
I began to slowly realize that my panic attacks were not happening because I was weak, or because I was not good enough, or faithful enough, or not anything-else-enough. I began to understand that just because I think it, it doesn’t make it real.
It was just something I was facing, and like anything else, one of my options was to pick myself up and brush myself off.
Falling down is not fun – it’s messy, hurts, scuffs up your knees, and can make you bleed.
But we need to allow our rational mind to take hold of this nugget when we are on the ground: When life knocks us down again, and again (and again…) (and it will), stand back up.
This is the 7th post in a 31 Day Series: 31 Days to Peace: Finding inner peace for anxiety and panic attacks. Start from the beginning here.