I cannot breath… I cannot think rationally… My mind races, but I cannot comprehend what is going on inside of me; meanwhile, I am very cognizant of everything that is going around me. My breathing is painful and laborious and all that I can wish is that this moment passes quickly. My hands are shaking like I have Tourette’s. I double over as if I am in pain, but truthfully I am trying to stop the shaking and the hard breathing… Finally, sobbing uncontrollably with no end in sight; funerals have less tears and heaving bodies. My mind drifts to thoughts of better times.
Xanax has become my pharmaceutical Jesus.
Working through the panic attack is exactly that – work. Anxiety and tension course through the body and can take a long time to get over all of the symptoms and get the body worked up. All the endorphins and dopamine levels get worked up in the body – it is a full body workout. It can take many hours to come down from the “fight or flight” tenseness that comes to the body. In my case, I have a fight tendency. I am a Combat Veteran.
I am a warrior and a fighter. My anxiety is combat related. It is from “shell shock.” It is from bad leadership – leaders that said they wanted to get a Purple Heart, it is from mortar attacks coming in while doing a PT test, it is from being threatened by an American Sergeant First Class to have me shot by a Ugandan soldier. It is from having one of the highest amounts of missions, it is from having a discharged weapon because of negligence and faulty equipment, it is from going outside the wire night after night after night, and not because I volunteered – no, I was “volun-told!” Finally, it is from having survivor’s remorse/guilt. I will get through all of them. I am an Infantryman.
Breath in… Breath out… Breath in… Breath out… Anxiety slowly starts to subside. Stretch out those war torn muscles and ligaments, the pain is slowly going away. Thoughts are coming back to a normal rate. Body is allowing the oxygen to reach all parts of my anatomy – allowing it to relax and slip into the next stage of recovery. The psychiatrist says we need pills to be normal. I refuse this. I want to feel my feelings, for worse or better.
Numb is not my life. But has become my personal hell.
Resounding sounds run through my head. Traumatic in nature. Torn by thunder. Scorned by many. Whispered and dealt with in caution. Trials ran by a judge of my own in my mind. The jurors are me. Twelve of me with two alternates in the box as well. My personalities that I have acquired over the years to help deal with the pain. They say it is better to be tried by twelve than carried by eight. It is unfortunate that the twelve that are conducting the orchestra of this trial are all me. Because in my head there is no escape from something that has been found to not be my fault, but I find myself guilty.
Deep breaths in through the nose. Hold it. Release slow and easy. Breathe methodical and slowly, clear the cobwebs from the head. Escape the prison of solitude that keeps you locked in your mind. Deep, slow breaths, slower now… know that you are not alone. There are others out there that count on you. Know that you are a life beacon. God has a plan for you. Personal guilt will kill any hope.
Forgive yourself. Then accept others forgiveness.
Mind starts to clear. Easier time breathing. Fist become soft hands again. The Word of the Lord has set in. The ‘script has also helped relax. Eyes are heavy. Body feels like a was just in a train wreck. Five to ten minutes has passed. Breathing is still laborious, but the dawn of hope is on the horizon. Hell no longer has its grips on me, for the time being.
I have found myself. Time is no longer waiting in the balance, but it is moving slowly to the next hour. Seeing a familiar face helps. Seeing one that is loved helps more. Truth and justice have met their match and will-power has beaten it. The power of the Lord has helped me through. God’s Grace has kept me safe. He will never put me through more than I can handle. This sounds cliché, but is Truth. Times will send us reeling through uneven parallel bars that makes us want to vomit; furthermore, we are being tested and the Lord is our Savior in this.
Fear not brothers and sisters battling horror images that enter your mind even when you are enjoying your morning coffee. There is help. There is an answer. There is hope. It is not easy. It is not going to be simple, but it is going to be better. Just hang in tight. There will be help.
At times pharmaceuticals are tools to get us through. But in the end we are able to overcome the hellacious events that enter our minds in the form of shell shock, combat fatigue, combat neurosis, or PTSD. Many of us deal with it. Be the person you were meant to be. Adapt, overcome, and drive on!
“Dear Heavenly Father,
I ask that you forgive me all my sins. For those of which I know and that you can see that are laid out to you on my heart, and of those sins that I am not aware that I did unintentionally. Jesus, give me peace. Give me solitude. Lord, help me! Take me to the highest heights and keep me from falling.
Keep me safe from Satan’s ideals that tries to keep me from accomplishing my goals of fulfilling your will, Lord. Keep me in your steadfast Love and Courage.
I pray that you will keep me safe from harm and show me the way through the Holy Spirit.
PSALM 34:14 – “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”
There is always someone out there that is willing to listen to your needs. Even if you are not a person of religion. Your worst fears become less feared when spoken. Speak to someone that you can trust. See a counselor if that does not work. There is always someone in your life that needs you – so keep that in mind if someone needs you then you need them.
Until we meet again!