I think you are brave


The first time I had a panic attack, I thought it was just asthma. I was at church surrounded by friends, singing, and suddenly, I couldn't breathe right. I wound up sitting on a bench in the bathroom, watching the white tiled room shrink. It's the most afraid I've ever felt.

Two mates ended up taking me to the hospital, which I don't remember. When I was released around midnight, I had a bag full of brochures, a hospital bracelet, and somehow, only one shoe.

The people in that church whom I looked to didn't think about anxiety as a medical condition. There was this unspoken belief that anxiety was something people chose. Most conversations implied that anxiety was about how I “didn't trust God enough,” or how if I just prayed harder, everything would go away. I was taught that anxiety was about what I personally lacked, not about medicine or chemistry or hard seasons of life.

After my panic attack, I knew I owed a few people an explanation of something I didn't even fully understand. When we got back to the house that night, a good friend stood outside. He had no idea what had happened, and I didn't know how or what I should have told him. I was unsure how to start, and I remember feeling incredibly nervous.

He asked me where I'd been that night. I leaned against the wall of my bedroom and stared out the window, catching a glimpse of the horizon. It was beautiful and honest, and I wanted to be like it. So I dove in.

“I went to the hospital.”

“Why? Are you sick?”

“No.” (Wait, was I sick?) “Yes.”

I stopped.

I wanted to tell him I'd had an asthma attack, but I knew that wasn't the truth. I knew I wanted friendships that were authentic and honest, friendships that could take in big questions without many answers and still be OK. I thought, perhaps, this could be one of them.

“Kind of both,” I remember finally saying. “It's just been a long night.”

“Well.” My friend's voice was quiet and honest. “I'm listening.”

I opened my mouth and was surprised at how strong my voice sounded. I told him everything. How I'd gone from totally fine to completely unraveled in about five seconds. How my hands shook, my palms clammy. How my heart raced, and fear descended like a big black cloud. He got up and stood next to me, just there, listening. I even mentioned I'd lost one of my shoes.

He stayed quiet until I was done, and then he said it.

“I think you're really brave.”

Me? Brave? This was the opposite of what I expected. But listening and grace - that was just what I needed.

Then, with a smile I couldn't interpret, he bent down and took off one of his shoes. I just stood there in disbelief, my words still raw in the back of my throat. And then I understood exactly what he meant: He was meeting me where I was. We were the same.

_

Today is world suicide prevention day and whilst this is not directly related to suicide, it's just a glimpse of a moment in the life of one who struggles with the black dog. ( depression and anxiety). Please never ever be afraid to call out for help. Know that's it's okay to not be okay. Any if you are on cb and are walking these roads, know that you are not alone and there are so manypeople on here who are willing to walk it with you.

 Shani
  I have been a member of ChristianBlog.Com for 9 years, 2 months and 3 days.

  I have published 92 blogs and 267 comments.

 I currently live in: Australia.
K Reynolds+

I think you are brave.

It can be very difficult for Christians who walk a road that involves physical illness. There are people (often well-meaning but sometimes not) who are certain that if God says you must endure something unpleasant it is because you don't have enough faith, are being punished, etc. In other words, they blame the person who is suffering which is something Jesus never did.

As hard as that can be, I believe that it is even more difficult when mental illness is involved. We have this idea that a Christian can never battle mental illness. That is like saying a Christian can never get cancer, never lose their job, never have a failed marriage and so forth. We live in a fallen world and have fleshly bodies therefore, we are going to face the same sort of things everyone faces regardless of whether they are a Christian or not. It is glorious, so glorious when God instantaneously heals you. At the same time, it is glorious when people like you and others I know on this site demonstrate that God is bigger than your anxiety. I know that you have been able to minister to a lot of young people simply because you are "meeting them where they are".

I usually don't do this but I know you will not mind if I put in a plug for the Survivor's Group here at CB because you know and love it. :mrgreen:. I want everyone who reads this to know that there is a private group here at CB where you can connect with others who deal with chronic physical and mental illness. It never ceases to amaze me at how quickly these people will rush to someone's side when they cry out. We walk together as we walk with God and isn't that exactly what we are supposed to be doing?

Blessings!

K :princess:

Alison Stewart

Now THIS is the Shani I know and love. Pure and powerful words that get right to the heart of the matter. Thank you for sharing this.
xx
kb

Sarah VM+

Thank you Shani for sharing.
I praise God for placing this lovely friend in your life to tell you the truth: you're brave.
God bless you, this can't have been an easy thing to put into words.
Sarah

joyce+

I think a Skype date is overdue.

Darlin you are one of the bravest,compassionate and inspiring individuals I know.

More later.xxxxx

Les B+

Shani,

As one who has gone down "The Road Less Traveled" for 40+ years. I am so thankful God has placed you here on CB. Your honesty and care as a fellow one who has suffered the same for four decades brings great encouragement and has lifted me up.

I've tried EVERYTHING over the decades - really ALL. Medically, "faith healing," "deliverance" binding, casting, prayer etc...

The simplicity of truth you posses and share bless me much and others greatly; as I can see! He has you and I in the palm of His hand, carrying, comforting, sustaining, and loving us as your friend did ... right where we're at.

I thank and praise Him for you and your friendship!

In Christ,
Les

Beth+

I love you Shani.

From someone who experiences panic attacks when driving, you described it perfectly.

And yes, you are brave.

to you, Lovely

... now, when are you coming for a visit? :bigear:

:bearhug: blest