A year ago, one Saturday, I woke up and after getting out of bed, I started looking for clothes in the dresser for that day. And then the image in front of my eyes seemed to shift for a moment. A moment later I heard and felt my heart beating persistently. I placed my fingers near my wrist – my pulse was 120 beats per minute and was not slowing down. As if on cue, my legs started shaking and I couldn’t catch my breath. How did I know that? Because it wasn’t a new feeling for me!
Then a lot of things went wrong. There’s a lot I could write, but in August ’22 I began a tour of doctors, diagnoses, tests, and eventually I had spine problems for a long time (nothing new), which suddenly appeared and became more intense; my condition getting worse, getting better and so on… and in between… anxiety attacks.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety (Latin: anxietas) is an undesirable, unpleasant emotional state dominated by an unjustified sense of strong threat. Anxiety is the body’s response to an irrational threat.
How does anxiety manifest itself?
Anxiety attacks and panic attacks are most often specific somatic symptoms such as:
– sweating (often cold sweat)
– muscle strengthening
– stomach pain
– palpitations, pain around the heart
– difficulty breathing/hyperventilation
– feeling of madness, fear of losing control over one’s life or some aspect of one’s life, e.g. health.
Anxiety /panic attacks usually last from a few to several minutes, but calming down can take up to an hour.
I will not delve into the causes of fear and anxiety, I will rather focus on how to tame it – today, I will start this topic.
As I mentioned, my health left much to be desired and it continued. It lasted for months, it took me out of normal functioning, but the next day it felt as good as never before! So anxiety and panic attacks came back to me from time to time and it was really nasty!
I was worried about my health, I was sad about possible scenarios, I was afraid that I would never feel good again!
Because suddenly, from a fierce swimmer and pole dancer, I suddenly became a person who couldn’t go to the nearby grocery store, a 12-minute walk away! At that time, I only dreamed of ever going to the mountains again – it seemed unrealistic to me.
At the same time, thanks to this experience, I listened to myself and what God had to say about such a situation, and I slowly started to implement further, life-giving solutions into my life. Solutions that really helped me – regardless of this bodily health condition.
Fear is not equal to fear
Sometimes we use two terms to describe situations in which we are afraid; anxiety and fear. But in reality, these are two different concepts. One is sometimes quite necessary, and the other can destroy lives, returning like a boomerang and never allowing a person to get out of his cell.
The first is fear. The thing about fear is that it is triggered by a specific situation and lasts a short time. Yes, the above-mentioned somatic symptoms occur when feeling fear, but they last for a short time – usually as long as a dangerous situation, e.g. an encounter with a bear in the mountains. Fear can help us – it usually forces us to use a flight or fight attitude (or freeze!) in a real threat situation.
I feel strongly afraid when flying by plane. It means less and less because I’m working on it, but my body still reacts negatively to the turbulence situation. Because when they’re not there, I’m almost completely relaxed. However, when I fly on a plane, my body… stiffens; jaw, arms, calves. However, my mind is now completely under my control. Because I’m working on it. Only my body reacts, because it is evolutionarily programmed that way, but there is peace in my heart and head.
Anxiety attacks are a different story! I have the image of a snowball – growing and accelerating at a dizzying pace! And picking up everything along the way! And you are sitting in this snowball. You can’t direct it, just pray to survive!
Stop. It won’t be like that. You can direct it. Because you have influence on what you feed your thoughts and your heart. You and I have a say in what we give meaning to. There is a simple truth:
Nothing has meaning until you give it meaning.
And if something is worth special care, it is our thoughts; there is the entire command center: the sense of one’s own identity, values, perception of the world. It is also there that we can be deceived, robbed, sterilized and imprisoned the most.
My thoughts are my home, my fortress – from there I „descend” into the world and turn thoughts into actions. It is me who decides whether my thoughts and then my words and deeds will have the power to give life and take it away. And above all: will my thoughts, words and deeds be coherent?
Only such interplay makes sense.
Prince of peace
I will expand on the topic of thoughts and fear, but for now I have one main, and best, recommendation: if you want to regain (s)peace, invite the Prince of Peace into your heart and thoughts. For this is He Who promised:
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
He promised many other things that he would give to anyone who wanted them. He brings peace, light, healing, joy, meaning, purpose, fulfillment. So the first thing you should do is turn to the Prince of Peace – Jesus Christ. He not only can help you, but he also wants to. You can use simple words:
“Jesus, I need Your help because I don’t want to feel fear! Let me into Your room, let me live in it. Amen”.
To be continued. In the next post, I will give you more practical tips on how to deal with anxiety attacks.
Today, focus only on this one thing: the invitation of the Prince of Peace to this place of the greatest storm – He will be able to handle it, He was sleeping during the storm at sea, on the head of the boat and did not understand why his disciples were waking him up, shouting „Don’t you care that we are drowning?!” „
He cares. He slept because He had everything under control. He has one in your life too – and he wants to invite you to his boat’s headboard.
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