Last Saturday I heard myself snap at a comment my 18-year-old daughter said. My reaction to her was unemotional, insensitive, unnecessary, and extremely rude. Definitely not deserving.
I quickly recanted: “I am sorry sweetheart, I am not really mad at you. What I really am doing is fighting off an anxiety attack. Can we work on this later?”
I am not thrilled my daughter has to navigate her day around my anxiety attack. Just a few weeks ago she commented on how happy she was that I was able to get through shopping for her prom dress on a busy Saturday morning in an extremely noisy and busy store! She said she was so proud of me for not having to have to take “quiet time” to sit away to calm my nerves; she was so excited I could enjoy the entire experience of trying on dresses with her. Hearing her tell me this breaks my heart.
Fortunately, I know the main source of my anxiety attack; I attended a funeral for a little child and found myself drifting back to the horrors of my daughter’s fight against her cancer. For me, knowing the source is a great indication of the growth I have encountered during my transition to survivor.
But identifying the trigger and controlling the anxiety are two separate things. Feeling stronger than other times in the past, I confronted this anxiety attack with a deliberate approach:
I felt the attack. Knowing that my ability to fight off previous anxiety attacks hasn’t usually been successful, I instead tried to identify it for what it was: a painful trigger from my past. But, I also have learned that pushing the attack aside, plowing through it, brings the memories back stronger at another inconvenient moment. So, instead, I identified the source and let my mind remember that the horrors I experienced watching my daughter fight her cancer battle are real. My anxiety attack had a source and it had a “life.” Once the anxiety hormones shot up within me, there was little I could do to stop the rush. But, I now know that if I work on regaining control of my thoughts, the anxiety hormones will reside and I’ll regain my non-anxious thought pattern again.
I prayed through the anxiety attack. Instead of praying God please take this away from me, I prayed God please get me through this. This deliberate shift in my prayer from God take this away from me to God walk me through this greatly calmed my spirit. I felt empowered; I could get through this anxiety attack if God walked through it with me. The attack was still debilitating, but my fight against it wasn’t lonely.
I kept pressing forward knowing the harder I stayed in tune with the anxiety, redirecting my thoughts and actions as quickly as possible, the smoother the attack will run its course. Common sense told me to avoid doing certain things, which I did. I activated my coping skills. I isolated myself to avoid any further unnecessary stimulation and agitation.
Within 48 hours, I started to feel my mind calm down. By the next day the residual anxiety hormones were still there, but barely affecting me.
Thank you, Father, for carrying me through this anxiety attack,
Blessings to all, Sue
Hi, I'm Sue
Welcome to my blog! I served twenty-one honorable years on active duty, living a double life of capability and accomplishment in the service while enduring brutality and abusiveness in my twenty-one year oppressive marriage. Today I'm happily married and have three children who are my inspiration and motivation.
My goal is to help combat the lies of abusers with the truth of God. I hope you find my words to be healing and helpful through your own life experiences.
Being separated from my abusive husband didn't make me a domestic violence survivor. It surely didn't release me from the grip of his brainwashing control and the innate power he had on me.
Read the full raw story in my new book, Rock Bottom and Faithless.