Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Panic attacks, mine and Sophie's

Like mother, like daughter.  Or so the saying goes.  

This morning as I was preparing for our day, I had a mild panic attack, complete with shortness of breath, chest pains, brought on by feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.  I was anxious about a number of things, but I had been entertaining thoughts about not being to get everything done every day for the next 18 years or so.

As we were leaving for the library, Sophie couldn't find one of her shoes.  She was sitting in the mudroom, looking for it by the shoe rack, and the rest of us filed out the door one by one to load up into the car.  I took Caroline out the buckle her in the car seat, and when I got outside, I heard a blood curdling scream (that girl can really scream), "Don't leave me!!!"

Now I have never left Sophie anywhere.  She is always very close by except when she sneaks in the boy's bedroom to watch a princess movie.  I usually take Caroline outside, get her settled in the car seat, and then head back in to finish Sophie up.  And almost every time in the midst of this process she calls out for us not to leave her.  "Sophie, we are not going to leave you.  Mommy would never leave without you..." are words familiar to our household.

Today the emotion was much higher than usual and so was the pitch and volume of her exclamation, but this is not something new for her. Just like my panic attack was nothing new for me, although today's was worse than normal.  I don't usually have such clear physical symptoms, but anxiety is never too far away, and loves to come right on in and make itself known if I just open the door.  Sometimes I don't even have to open the door, I just have to stop paying attention and anxiety barges right on in before I know what is happening.

Is there a cure for this anxiety problem?  I see commercials every day for one drug or another and the commercials play a lot, so I'm guessing that this is a major problem for lots of people everywhere.  And there is a lot to be anxious about- the economy, the presidential election, that pesky war our country is in right now, gas and energy prices and if the laundry will ever get caught up.

Well, the Bible is clear about anxiety.  Jesus himself told us, "Do not worry about anything," calling on our trust in God and his goodness and faithfulness to his people (Matthew 6).  Our trust in God is grounded in who he is, in his abilities, and in his character.  This great God, who can do nothing wrong, and who sovereignly orchestrates everything that comes to pass, works all things for his glory and for the good of those who love him.  This great God has told us, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)  That is a powerful promise.

Paul also said, "Be anxious for nothing," telling us instead to, "in everything in prayer and supplication make your requests known to God."  That command comes with a pretty powerful promise, "and the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:6-7) 

It sounds like the anxiety problem is nothing new.  People have always had lots of problems, at least since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden.  We have always been worried about feeding our families, keeping them clothed, and if our 401ks will be there or not when we retire. 

 And God is good.  He cares for his children, and provides help and comfort.  We are told in 1 Peter 5:7 to "cast all your anxiety upon him for he cares for you," and that includes our cares about whether our kids will turn out right, global warming, tornadoes, and the never ending pile of laundry. 


Kearsie said...

This may sound dumb, but I was told once to keep a box and every time something made me anxious or worried, to write it down and put it in the box. It's kind of symbolically handing over the weight of carrying it around and placing it in God's lap. I don't have the strength, the energy or the wisdom to know how to handle everything, so I am handing them all over to God. Anyways, it may help, especially Caroline, to learn to hand things over to God.

Tami@ourhouse said...

Thanks, Kearsie. I do think it can help to have a visual way of casting our cares upon the Lord, esp until it becomes a habit.

Cristy said...

Tami, I love you so much! We are so N with our panic attacks. (At least you didn't go to the stupid hospital for yours;)Thank you for reminding me to cast my cares upon HIM. I needed that today. I remember Allison's dad once quoting that verse to me. I have loved it ever since.

cristy said...

Oh, and by the way, I just love Sophie. A girl after my own heart.

Kearsie said...

Oops, just realized I used the wrong child's name. Caroline for Sophie. Sorry!

Tami@ourhouse said...

Kearsie- you know, my mom always used to call us the wrong name, and now I'm sad to say I do the same to my kids. No problem!

Cristy- I had already written some of this post when we talked the other day. So many of our friends have gone through this. I think it is telling that more than one of my very closest friends have ended up in the emergency room for these symptoms (I hope it has nothing to do with my friendship!!).