My Story- The Giant I Face and my Rock Bottom
It’s been 12 years now since it all began. If I’m completely honest with myself, it’s probably been a part of me my whole life in some form. I guess it didn’t truly manifest into the Giant until then, and since then it’s evolved into many different forms. Though it was lurking, it came on fast and strong. Truthfully, I’m not really sure if I know what it feels like to not have to deal with this Giant… it’s been a part of my life too long. I’m writing this to share with anyone who may also be affected by this Giant, with hopes my story may help you. If you don’t face this Giant, you are blessed! Perhaps you may know exactly how to pray for me. It’s possible that this story will help you with a different Giant you face- for we all are fighting some sort of battle.
Most of the time, I can hide the Giant very well. Because I truly am a happy person, it seems naturally easy for me to mask what’s going on inside. Those who know me well, family and close friends, all know my Giant and have seen my good days and bad days. They’ve all been with me through canceled plan after canceled plan because I simply just couldn’t do it. They have all seen first hand how real this Giant can be, and some even know what it feels like as they too suffer.
God, bless my three kids and my husband Kyle, for the patience, love, and unending support they have all had through these 12 years as I battle my Giant. There truly are not enough words to express how thankful I am to have them on my team. At times I worry my kids’ childhoods will be filled with memories of my bad days… They have witnessed so much of the Giant. From canceled plans, trips/vacations abandoned too soon, and the many disruptions to their daily schedules they have dealt with me through so, so much. They don’t even seem to skip a beat anymore. Is this really their normal? Yet as things come up, and I apologize for any disruption to their lives, they always make me feel as though everything in the world will be okay, and that they are okay too. I love my family. My prayer is that instead of causing dysfunction and scars from my fighting the Giant, they will be able to look back on these last 12 years and see a victory! I believe with everything in me that I will conquer the Giant through Christ Jesus. I hope my kids see perseverance and unending faith. I hope they remember how hard I truly do fight. I try and I try, and one day – – I will!
Recently, about two years ago, my hopes and dreams came true and I became a published children’s author. This should have been a happy time in my life. I should have been able. I should have been okay… I had a full events calendar with a publisher, agent, publicist and all… The whole shebang!!! ONLY to get to the beginning of my tour dates and have to call the whole thing off! Cancelling my whole tour for my books! I CANCELLED MY WHOLE BOOK TOUR… I. Just. Couldn’t. Do. It. Some people still ask me about those books. The Giant won this battle.
I’ve been silent long enough, and I feel like the stigma around the Giant isn’t the way it once was. It used to be so taboo, and no one would talk about it. Why are we ashamed? Why am I ashamed? It can’t be that way! I won’t let it be that way for me anymore. It chose me… I didn’t choose this! What if it chose you? What if me sharing my story can help someone else who is holding it in? Hiding it. Fighting alone. It can choose anyone. It does not discriminate.
I’m letting it go
Laying it down
Surrendering it to God…
and sharing it in hopes that God will use my story to help someone else. After all, my hopes are my suffering and my fight wouldn’t have been in vain, and God would use my fight to help someone else!
I have a very happy home, a wonderful husband, a great marriage, awesome kids and everything in my life is pretty much the way I always dreamed it’d be. I knew what I didn’t want it to be… My childhood was less than perfect. Although my parents both loved me so much, they did not have a healthy marriage at times and things were hard. As a young child, I remember hoping when I grew up my family would be different than what I had been brought up in…I wanted it to be “normal” and “healthy”. My marriage isn’t perfect, my children make mistakes, but my family is exactly the way I hoped. We are a family where grace is extended and perfection is not expected. All things are perfectly not perfect, yet orderly to God’s desire, and we trust Him with our lives. Absolutely nothing to complain about! I make counselors and therapists scratch their heads… What’s the problem then? Nothings wrong! Worry free and happy life! Right?
Right! EXCEPT… the Giant is constantly lurking around, always in my mind…the way I feel, and in my thoughts. The “what ifs’ that circle my thoughts night and day until I can’t take it anymore. The Giant seems to always find me.
The Giant is Panic and Anxiety Disorder.
I said it.
I have it…
But it doesn’t have me!
People throw the word “anxiety” around so much. It’s a normal word used to describe stress. Let me break it down…There is anxiety and stress, and then there is Panic and Anxiety Disorder. Let us not confuse the two. Literally every human at some point in his or her life experiences a normal form of anxiety. Normal anxiety doesn’t quite define what people with Panic and Anxiety Disorder deal with on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it is not an occasional stress feeling. It is being in a constant state of disarray and panic all day, everyday. Panic and Anxiety Disorder is exhausting. Just to name a few, here is a list of what this disorder (AKA the Giant) looks like for me (I’m not going to focus on the many doctor visits, hospital visits, heart monitoring, supplements, vitamins, medications, drastic diet changes, exercise regimens etc. in this post however, if you have any questions about all of the things I’ve been through and tried please don’t hesitate to reach out) :
-Panic attacks- At times I can’t even feel them building, they come out of the blue… During one, I sometimes feel as though I’ve lost my mind or I am losing control. At times, I am fearful I will die. Panic attacks cause me to be scared to be alone. Panic attacks are the most hellacious feeling in the world. In my opinion, they are straight from the pits of hell.
-The inability to rationalize in a healthy manner
-Fear of being alone- at home, shopping, anywhere!
-Fear of passing out
-Heart palpitations- I have even had to visit the hospital for this one a few times.
An example of the way this affects me is my family has not been regular in church for about 2 years. Week after week I would try my best to go and sit through church only to feel the panic and fear, and have to leave because I am so overwhelmed. I feel as though I can’t catch my breath, and I just have to get out. I feel stuck. I feel alone. I feel scared. Some days, I can’t even leave the house to try to sit through church.
My most recent battle brought on by the Giant is losing one of my favorite freedoms, driving a car. I completely lost the ability to drive at all. Try that one out when you have kids who have places they need to be, errands that need to be ran, and life has to go on anyways! I literally left everyone scrambling to find rides and arrange errands, and there was nothing I could do about it. This battle started in April. As I am writing this, it’s September and I still have trouble.
Here is what this has looked like for me:
I was driving a normal route on a highway near our house to pick my son up from basketball practice in April. While I was driving, my vision started closing in and I felt like I had tunnel vision. I thought I was going to pass out behind the wheel. I was terrified. I literally stopped the car in the middle of the road… NOT SAFE! Luckily my husband was with me, and he consoled me and told me I was okay. He was able to convince me that I should go up the road a little more to a safe spot and pull over. I did. We changed seats and he drove the rest of the way. I cried and cried. When we arrived home, I sat in my closet and cried for hours. It was literally hours. I talked to God, and I vividly recall literally screaming “WHY GOD? WHY” over and over… I felt that night in my closet that anxiety had taken so much from me through the years, but until that moment, until the attack in the car, I still was able to somewhat hide things… I at least still had my freedom to get in the car and come and go as I pleased. I literally felt as though anxiety had now taken what little bit of dignity I had left… It was gone.
The days, weeks, months to follow:
At first, I couldn’t even sit in the driver seat of a car. The exact feelings of that day in the car were forever embedded in my thoughts, and it caused me such awful pain and worry. Every time I sat in the car I feared I would pass out while driving, or feel completely out of control again like that horrendous day… The rational part of me felt so stupid and useless for thinking that way. I would even look myself in the mirror and say, “Really, Amy? Really? Just GET OVER IT! This is so stupid. Why are you being so dumb?” And yet I couldn’t get past it. At times just the thought of driving would literally cause my legs and feet to feel numb. The Giant gave a whole new meaning to anxiety. I felt so unable.
At the time when this all happened my saintly in-laws, Mimi and Pops, had moved in to our house temporarily while they were building a new house. I truly believe God’s divine plan was their living with us during those early days, weeks, and months after the driving incident. Yes, I absolutely see God’s grace in this situation, and I know He has a plan. My in-laws were super confused and unsure of what I was dealing with, yet they didn’t miss a beat picking up the pieces. They put on my “mom taxi” hat and became me in transportation form. What a blessing they were, and are, to my family. They were the hands and feet of God, and I am forever grateful for them. Even though the situation is hard to understand, they gave freely and still do when needed.
About two weeks after the incident, my family told me it was time to get back behind the wheel. Mostly, it was Kyle and Mimi encouraging me to drive… They kept saying it was time to leave the driveway. The first month and a half, the very best I was capable of doing was driving the car around my neighborhood. Keep in mind I never was willing to try driving alone. I was too afraid… It was always with my Mimi or Kyle.
First, I started on my street until eventually I was able to circle the neighborhood. Those of you who know my neighborhood may think this is nuts; after all, it’s not a very big neighborhood. Regardless, it was hard for me. Somewhere around month two, I was ready to go out of the neighborhood on our bordering road. Some very dear friends of ours who know I fight the Giant live about a mile up the road, and their house was my goal. I did it! I did it first try! I got to their house, blew my horn, circled their cul-de-sac, and headed back home. I will never, as long as I live, forget how proud I was, and how proud Kyle and everyone else was of me that day! I did it!
For the next month following this accomplishment, I would get in the car at least four times a week to drive around the neighborhood, up and down my main road by our neighborhood, and stopping at our friend’s house and then back! I did it successfully every time, no passing out or significant panic. I had good days and bad days, but I still managed to put one foot in front of the other, push the pedal, and make myself do it. By July, I was driving to our grocery store and other places nearby. One day, I even drove to a town about 35 minutes away. Although I was still only driving with another driver in the car for my own nerves, it was a victory! I was doing it!
On August the 2nd, I knew I was ready. My feelings and my thoughts were less than agreeable, but I had to go with my gut. My son was at home, and the rest of us were helping Mimi and Pops move. My son wanted to come to help, and someone needed to pick him up. I grabbed my keys and headed to the car. I pulled out of the driveway. I was full of adrenaline, and not quite sure if I was capable. Their new house is only 7 minutes away from our house. I would be lying if I said the 14 minute round-trip was easy. It definitely was extremely challenging. I pulled into our driveway, he hopped in the car and I had no choice but to get us back to our destination. I remember my tight grip on the steering wheel, my hands were clammy and my feet felt tingly and numb. My stomach was in knots, and I’m pretty sure there was some arm-pit sweating going on. Earlier that week I had listened to a sermon about digging the ditches and God sending the water. I prayed all the way back to their house… professing the lessons from the sermon. I literally was saying it aloud. My son just stared at me!!! I said, “God, here I am. You know how I’m feeling. You know this is hard for me, but here I am. I am digging the ditches and I trust you to send the water.” I was so nervous the whole ride. But I did it! When I got back, I was so proud. I knew I could do it again. I knew I had to do it again, and I would need to keep doing it over and over until it became okay again. I have to trust God will send the water as long as I dig the ditches. Digging the ditches sometimes isn’t easy, but that’s where faith and trust come in.
It took 5 months for me to drive alone again. 5 months of a battle against the Giant. Things at this point are so much better, but I’m still in the battle. Still overcoming the daily struggle of driving alone. I still do it when I need to, but it’s not my favorite YET! It will be, because He’s not finished with me yet.
When this all started back in April and I lost my ability to drive, I was so sad and angry. It was so good for me to be angry though… A lot of times as Christians our anger is misdirected at God. We have to remember who to direct the anger at… Satan. Once the anger retreated, and my spiritual wisdom took over, I was determined I wasn’t going to let Satan steal anything else from me. That’s when I wrote the prayer posted below. I read it aloud daily to God as a reminder of what I seek from him: (I still read this prayer, but A LOT of it has been altered because SO much of it has already been answered!!!! God is so AWESOME!).
Change my genetics as it pertains to fear, anxiety, and panic attacks. I pray that the curse be broken and this will NOT be passed on to my children. I WILL drive again, I WILL feel normal again, I WILL overcome all these things in YOU! Father God, heal me, make me whole. You are the God of the universe. You made and created me to do so much more for Your kingdom than to succumb to this state of mind. I pray and command this curse to be broken in the powerful name of Jesus Christ! Satan has no ground and no right to attack me. This battle is not mine it’s Your’s and I give it to You in full surrender. I love You Lord, and I thank You for healing me. Let your Holy Spirit guide me in the path that You want me to go. In Jesus name, amen.
I prayed this EVERYDAY.
EVERYDAY for the last 5 months.
The greatest thing about this prayer, and other prayers, is seeing God’s work come to pass! I’m seeing prayers being answered, and my prayers are changing. They’re evolving… just like we as Christians do. When we allow God to come in and we surrender it all to Him, we constantly are changing/evolving into what He has called us to be! I get really excited about this!
Little did I know there was so much for me to spiritually learn from fighting the Giant, hitting rock bottom, and losing my ability to drive a car. Had this not happened, had I not hit rock bottom, I can confidently say I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am today. Learning to live a life where God has given me NO choice but to fully surrender everything to Him daily! I NEED HIM! I need Him Every single day! I crave my time with Him. I love spending time in His presence. He’s everything to me. I can’t live without Him!
Anxiety and Panic disorder is real. But you know what? God is more real. He is more powerful than any diagnosis in the world. He is GOD! He is healing me. I see it happening bit-by-bit and day-by-day, and I am loving watching what He’s doing in my life!
Yes… It’s a Giant! But so was Goliath and look what little David did through Jesus with one little stone. A Giant in your life that you face can be anything that you face that opposes the will of God.
The good news is that I believe in miracles! I believe my miracle is coming very soon! I believe sharing my story with you is a large part of my miracle! It’s part of the process. I believe God allowed me to go through the last 12 years for a purpose far greater than I can see or know! The good news is I serve a God who I not only believe is going to heal me and make me completely whole and better than EVER, but also I serve a God who will do the same for you!
I know how this story will end. It will end where Jesus gets the victory. This is not my battle it’s His. It’s not your battle it’s His. He will fight for us all. Whether it’s anxiety, depression, addiction, lust whatever your Giant is you face, that you hide from everyone, that you keep secret in your thoughts… if you believe Jesus for your miracle, it WILL end and He WILL be victorious!
It took many, many years to come to the place I am today. I can honestly say I’m so thankful for the Giant of anxiety and the struggles it has brought me, because without these last 12 years who knows where I’d be. Where I am now in Christ is far better than living a life free of suffering where I don’t HAVE to lean on Jesus. I know Him in a more intimate way than I did 12 years ago. He’s my comforter, my refuge, He’s my present help when I need Him. He’s always here for me when I feel alone. When I’m in the dark crying I can just whisper His name and He’s there with me.
Keep sowing for your miracle. Keep believing God will answer your prayers. If this post resonated with you in any way please feel free to share it, or reach out to me. If you need prayer for a Giant you face please reach out to me. I will pray with you and for you. I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe in healing. We will see a victory!
“The seed I sewed was planted in God’s garden where He will cause resurrection to my miracle!!! It’s a garden not a grave”. – Steven Furtick