Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Whole Truth and Nothing but..Almost.

It's that flutter in my chest. The one where it feels like a bird is flapping against my sternum, trapped behind a cage, begging for freedom.

It's when I put my head back on a fluffy white pillow and feel my breath go shallow, and for a moment I wonder if oxygen has just been vacuumed out of my room and I take a slow draw of air.

It's when my knees go out from beneath me and I catch myself on the door jamb, squeeze my eyes shut and see the white stars flash behind my lids.

It's called a panic attack. An agonizing burst of anxiety.  

The unforeseen emergence of everything I've felt but didn't actually feel.

I've tried taking deep breaths, yoga, baths, walking... and still almost every evening, the sun sets and my chest pounds.

I'm not good at this. Not like you think I am.

I'm not that strong, or brave, or grateful, or content.

I'm restless from twilight to dusk. I'm begging for sleep. I'm praying for grace for the next day. I'm longing for some of that peace that passes understanding. I hope for some of that Psalm 34, some of the "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." I could rattle off the "His power is perfected in my weakness" stuff, which is absolutely true...but it still means I'm weak.

Because there's some stuff I can't tell you. Some things I'm unlucky enough to have to hide away and cage in my heart, for now. There's things I can't explain, and I just hope that maybe you have some patience to extend my way, some gracious knowing nods to let me know you're not about to walk away.

So that's the truth. In case you wondered.


  1. oh yes, i do know...praying and believing for you and with you

  2. i don't know about panic attacks but i know restlessness from twilight to dusk. i know praying for grace for one more day. i'm praying with you. for you. love you friend!

  3. There's nothing wrong with being weak, and as your aunt Mel says- that is the key..though it doesn't feel very good and .she always hated it when people thought she was 'strong'.
    I might not know everything, but I also know I don't need to know all to say- I am with you in prayer, whether I am quiet or in communication with you and I am so proud of you! You are loved!!.

  4. toby - thank you.

    kim - thanks for being a good friend! :)

    mom - love you so much! thanks for loving me the way you do!

  5. If what you describe is a panic attack then that's what was happening to me almost every night just before having Sarah, and then for a while after she was heart would pound as I lay my head down on my pillow...sometimes the heart flutters would begin at dinner time, completely taking away my appetite. Sleep was elusive, and the less sleep I got the harder it was for me to fall asleep the next night. I can't explain why they happened, or pinpoint one particular thing that was making me anxious. But it was not pleasant. And for that reason, I know how you feel. I will be praying for you, as one who has experienced that kind of anxiety recently. Not too long ago, after sharing with some dear women my anxiety, they shared that they, too, were experiencing anxiety--at night--with sleeplessness. So we all decided we would pray for one another, during those middle of the night anxiety moments. It was very comforting to know I was being prayed for, and distracting enough to get me through an anxious moment in the middle of the night to pray for someone else's peace. So...all that to say--tonight, when Sarah wakes me in the middle of the night, know I'll be praying for you. For real. And maybe you could say a prayer for me if you find yourself needing peace... much love across the miles.

  6. maureen - thank you so much. i love that idea of praying when you find you can't fix your own anxiety and restlessness. thank you for praying, for being a friend across the miles. it means so much, more than you know.