I had been suffering for about three years.
I would have some good days, but the bad days outweighed the good, making it hard to function regularly in society.
I had an issue, but it wasn’t something I could be open about.
Luckily (or not), my issue had symptoms that would mimic other issues…and after a few trips to the emergency room, I finally learned what I had.
I had to hide it though, mainly because attached to this issue are stigmas that follow you the rest of your life.
I’d like to take a time out right here and thank society (in my sarcastic font) for that.
My symptoms were this:
rapid heartbeat, accompanied by palpitations
left arm would go numb
shortness of breath
trembling all over my body, but mainly my legs
All the signs of a heart attack, but seeing as to how I was only 16, there were some questions.
My mental symptoms:
I felt like I was dying and dying was all I could think about.
I only thought about all the bad things that could happen to me or a family member throughout the day.
That first attack changed the course of my life forever.
Trying not to die became the focus of my life.
I would think “if I can make it to next Friday’s big event…”
Fear ruled my world.
And distraction became the king.
I would calculate the risk of everything I did, to include basic, everyday tasks.
Normal 16-year-old stuff, I didn’t do.
I was too scared.
Medication was out of the question as my momma was sure that I would get addicted.
Counseling was not an option either because I’d be seen going into the “crazy center”.
So, there I was, 16–dealing with shit I had no idea how to deal with.
I learned a little trick though: if I could get my mind focused on a movie/relationship/book/anything, my panic would subside long enough to fall asleep.
And I dared not to pray, that made me even more fearful.
The first time I had an attack, I went downstairs to get my mom up, because I was positive I was dying. Her response: well, are you scared you’ll go to hell?
I’m scared that I’m dying.
Anyway, fear ruled my world for three years.
During that time, I was in the most unhealthy, abusive relationship ever as it served the purpose of distraction for me.
I spent over 1000 days like this.
My favorite story in the Bible: the woman with the issue of blood.
Why? Because I was her.
So there I sat, in the middle of fear, stuck in a religion that would have condemned me further had I even admitted what was going on, all alone and too afraid to turn to Him.
No one noticed.
No one noticed that I couldn’t be alone.
No one noticed the bags under my eyes from lack of sleep.
No one noticed the weight loss.
No one noticed the blank stares.
But, one day, in a last ditch effort to get me back on the path of righteousness, my momma took me to some conference in Missouri.
I have no idea what the conference was about nor do I know who was speaking (although I think it was Kay Arthur or Beth Moore).
That’s not the point though.
We went to this conference that I remember nothing about with five other women from a different church.
There was this woman there:
Her name was Pat.
She looked like a “Pat” too. She was shorter, with short strawberry blonde hair.
She didn’t know me and I didn’t know her.
I was miserable that trip and it all came to a head on the third night.
I had skipped the big meeting at 6 because I was in full on panic attack mode.
It was worse than the first one I had.
I couldn’t calm down, my thoughts raced along with my heart.
So I decided to go find my mom and make her take me to the emergency room.
My trembling subsided as I looked for her, because I knew we’d be going soon to the place that would assure me everything was okay.
But I met them all in the hallway and out of the clear blue, Pat looked at me and said “God told me to pray for you.”
I’ve done been prayed for Lady.
I just looked at her like she was crazy.
But, I thought “hey, why not?–It can’t get any worse. And Lord knows I’m tired of this. And why not me?”
So I let her.
I let her, because I was done.
I was emotionally spent.
I was desperate.
I was the woman breaking through the crowd trying to touch the hem of his robe.
I was broken and through all the mess, I still had enough sense in me to know who my healer was.
I don’t remember what she said.
I didn’t see angels or feel a tingle.
I didn’t fall out.
I didn’t even cry.
She prayed and that was it.
And then I waited.
By then, I thought my distraction had payed off.
And I waited.
It didn’t happen.
Could it be?
And I knew it.
AND PRAISE THE LORD!!!
Shame has kept me from telling this story for many years, not because of what He done, but because of what I went through.
Mental illness sucks.
There’s hope for the hopeless, though.
And I’m living proof.
Jehovah Rapha, the God that heals.
In Him, I am whole.