postheadericon Inside a Panic Attack


It’s almost instantaneous as I push the ignition button. The tears well up in my eyes and start to pour over my eyelids and race down my cheeks. I back out of the parking spot anyway and start to drive. I’m on autopilot as I steer my car toward the exit of the school parking lot.

My heart starts pounding and feels like it might explode right out of my chest. Breathe, I tell myself, just breathe. But the more I try to do that, the less I feel like I can. No air is getting in, or at least that’s what I think. What is it that my therapist told me? Focus on what I can see. I look down at the steering wheel. I see the Mazda logo. It’s shiny…silver…pretty. I begin to trace my finger over it slowly. 10…9…8…but before I get to 7, the voice is back.

“She’s mad at you. Surely you screwed everything up again.”

Ugh. I bang my head against the steering wheel. I hate myself. Ouch. I deserved that.

No, focus on the facts. Not the lies.

I see the Mazda logo. I start tracing again. 7…6…

“She didn’t say she loves you. So clearly, she doesn’t. There’s a fact for you.”

God dammit. Why?! The tears are pouring so hard now. I can’t control the sobbing. I should probably pull over. I can’t see the road anymore. It’s like driving through a monsoon with the rain so close to my face that I have no prayer of seeing through it.

Snap out of it! I slam my head into the steering wheel again out of pure frustration and in hopes that I can knock this lying son of a bitch out of my freaking head. I just want to scream!

Breathe.

Think.

5…4…3…

What…breathe…are…breathe…the…breathe…facts…breathe…

I pull off at the next exit and let myself cry. My therapist told me that it’s okay to let myself cry. I scroll back through my phone to find some supportive texts. Focus on the facts. My safe people. The ones who know everything. She didn’t tell me she loves me today, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t. The facts.

1 – It’s summer.

2 – We’re all busy.

3 – It’s not as easy for some people to express their feelings in words as it is for me.

4 – Actions speak louder than words anyway, let them.

5 – No matter what, God loves me and that is where my identity is found.

Breathe…2…1…

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.”
- 1 John 4:18a

Last Updated (Tuesday, 20 June 2017 13:09)

 

postheadericon Grounded on a Sweet Spring Evening

It's been two years and two months since I've posted on this blog... But I suppose now is as good of a night as any. Today was a bit of a rough day for me, but I was blessed to be able to relax at home with my parents for a couple of hours this evening. As we sat on the deck, I worked through a "grounding exercise," or so my therapist calls it, in my head. As I drove home a couple of hours later, this is what came out of me...

I see the orange breasts of the orioles fluttering midair as they fight, or perhaps dance.

I see a strong and sturdy knight staring back at me through his mask; protector of the garden.

I see a blue jay swoop to the ground so quickly that I wince as I prepare for him to get injured with the impact, but land so gracefully my breath catches in my throat.

I see a watering can. Its metal shell a cold, stark contrast to all the life happening around it.

I see a lazy, black dog relaxing at my feet. His deep, slow breaths filling me with a sense of calm as I feel a rhythm to this evening emerging.

I hear water running in the fountains. Dripping and splashing. The memory of buying one with my dad last summer brings a smile to my face as I close my eyes and let myself focus on only the water...the healing and cleansing water.

I hear birds chirp all around me. Are they communicating with each other? With me? Amazing grace, oh what a sweet, sweet sound!

I hear the soft breeze rustle through the trees. Like God and like love, I cannot see the wind. But I hear it. I sense and feel it. I know it's all around me.

I hear my own breath. As I begin to think about it, I hear myself hold it for only just a moment. But then I hear the rhythm again. I find peace in my own body.

I smell my mom's bug spray. It's comforting somehow. It smells like baby powder with a hint of something...vanilla, maybe? It reminds me of her and transports me instantly to the golf course.

I smell barbeque sauce, sweet and tangy, wafting from the kitchen. I don't really even like barbeque sauce, but I cherish quiet, casual, unplanned evenings like this with just Mom and Dad so I don't mind.

I smell spring. The air a mixture of flowers, fresh rain, humidity (how do I even smell that?), sweat, and jelly all colliding together.

I taste Mom's iced tea on my tongue. Somehow bitter, but just a tiny bit sweet. Cool and refreshing as I let it slowly pour down my sore, dry, tired throat.

I taste the bug spray that still hangs in the air. Vanilla, definitely vanilla.

I feel content. Loved. Home.

Last Updated (Thursday, 25 May 2017 20:57)

 

postheadericon Let Your Life Be A Gift


As I sit here on the last Wednesday night in Lent, I can't help but be reflective. Lent can be such a healing time as we journey through Christ's ministry and realize all the incredible things that He did for us. But here's the deal...the bottom line. Christ loved us such an incredible amount that He was willing to die for us. He gave His life for us all those years ago. And through His death and sacrifice, We are redeemed.

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or a sister in need
but has no pity for them, how can the love of God be in that person?
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
- 1 John 3:16-18

Because He gave up His life as a giftfor us, we now get to let our lives be agiftto others.

I don't often feel like my life is a gift, but it is. In more ways that I can even imagine.

A new baby is a gift. To parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and friends. So 33 years ago, I was a gift in a tiny package.

A child is a gift. To my family, teachers, and others that I don't even know, I was a gift as I grew up right before their very eyes.

A friend is a gift. So even on my lowest days, I could be brigthening someone else's.

A teacher is a gift. So even though I don't realize the impact I might be making, I have hope that I am.

To be perfectly honest, it's really hard to see myself that way. But that's the way God sees me. Two different friends recently told me that they loved me, and to my recollection, it was the first time I had heard it from them. What a gift that was! And today, I was thanked for sending some mail to a friend. For me, I just like writing and sending mail. But in a way, isn't that being a gift?

As we approach Easter and remember the greatest sacrifice ever made for us, I encourage you to find a way to use your life as a gift. Make it an Easter to remember!