I am sorry I have been absent for a couple of weeks. I have been working hard on healing and learning.
A few weeks ago there was a festival in our town. I have been going to it since I was a kid and I have always had fun, hopped on a ride or two, bumped into friends, and indulged in the fair food. This year was different. Out of nowhere, while watching my kids ride the caterpillar roller-coaster; I felt my arms start to go numb, felt faint and the sudden race of my pulse, and soon realized I was beginning to have a panic attack. My vision tunneled and every loud noise, bright color, and crowd around me became amplified in a horrifying way. The worst part was I had left the house without my anxiety arsenal (huge fail) and we had just arrived there. My kids were having fun, my husband was enjoying himself too, and there I was dying inside and searching for a way out.
I was able to get through the next two hours using coping tools from EMDR. Identifying sounds, picking a color and finding as many things as I could that color, holding ice cubes in my hands until they melted, and praying – not for me, but for each person that was passed me.
This panic attack, though not as serious as my others, took several days to recover from. My anxiety was crippling the rest of that day, I was up multiple times through the night, and I had to chaperon ballet rehearsals and didn’t want to break breakfast plans with my best friend who was in town for a few hours – so life had to go on. I had to navigate through it. All of that junk under the surface that no one around me can see. A silent illness that makes me feel nuts on the inside as I put on my lipstick and try and move forward.
My husband was traveling this week so I was on my own to manage the kids and their activities and my therapy schedule. I floated, had EMDR, went to hypnotherapy, worked, packed lunches, shuttled kids between baseball and ballet; all while fighting through my PTSD wave. It takes an incredible amount of energy and faith for me to get through days when I feel this way.
Finally, I felt a break-through during a moment when I found myself alone in my car. It was sent straight from heaven. I found myself wondering if all of this; the bombing, last year’s hospitalization, my on-going battle with PTSD, is all God’s way of bringing me closer to Him. I felt myself thanking God for giving this all to me because I now truly know that He is by my side every moment, guiding me with His love.
It might seem crazy to the average person that I be thankful for all of these struggles but I think if it leads me closer to God or inspires me to help others, then my life will be full of purpose and grace. As I continue my hard work to recover and heal, I know that God is right beside me and carrying me when I need Him to.