So how can I describe my journey in a few paragraphs of a blog? I remember having Panic attacks at a very young age. I did not understand them then, but with advancing age I learned enough about them to retroactively call them that. I was from a “normal” family, went to church on Sundays, Catechism on Wednesdays and school. When I was grade school age, I felt a real closeness to God and the afterlife. I was by no means perfect, but I had no doubts of my Salvation. I was the one who would pray with friends who were lost, or at least the ones who felt like they were. I would hang out with the people who were a little off center-a little different. Since I believed that I may become a preacher someday it seemed to me that they would be the people who would need the help, or spiritual guidance. I thought I might even be a preacher for lost sheep-like biker “gangs”, the homeless or others who were struggling.
As I advanced into my teens and early 20’s things began to change. My attacks were more frequent, longer in duration and I was having to avoid situations that made me so panicked that I felt like I was having an actual breakdown. I turned to my Faith, and began attending church more regularly-first 3 days a week and almost daily. The thing that confused me, however, was it seemed the more I prayed, and the more I attended church the worse I was getting. I started thinking that maybe I was doing something wrong, and the seeds of doubt in my Faith took hold of me. I started talking to people of other faiths, different religions and beliefs. I was still a Christian but decided that since I wasn’t getting better it I must be going at it the wrong way. I became close to a few people who had been “Born Again”. It sounded like all I needed to do was invite Jesus into my heart and my life would change-nothing would be too difficult, and the Lord would bring calm in to my heart and give me the strength to overcome anything put in my way. This seemed to work for a few weeks, but then as I questioned things that were still happening to me-the attacke, the depression, etc. that this new approach was not working either. All I could think of at that time was I still was doing something wrong, and sank further into Depression and Panic. I even started questioning my faith-maybe I was not, in fact , saved? Maybe I was not worth it? Whenever I would start thinking about these things I would just become more nervous and my conditions would worsen.
Gradually I had two more obstacles to overcome-I was diagnosed with Agoraphobia, which cost me a few jobs. Also, 3 deaths in a row within a short amount of time-this included some of my children. This added to the resignation that I was being punished, and I completely lost my faith. It was quite a few years before I went back again. I guess I had to work through my anger at everyone-including God. I also needed to realize that I had a condition, and I was not being punished for anything.