Today I’d like to begin to give you some detailed information about my journey to the freedom (at least one aspect of the freedom Jesus sacrificed His life for) Jesus talks about in John 8:31-32 – “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
But before I get started, I need to commit this testimony to my Deliverer, my Jesus.
My Prayer of Thanksgiving and For Divine Inspiration
Father in heaven, I come before You in the name of my Jesus to thank You. My healing testimony, I share with You. It is the work of Your tender love and mighty power. Thank You for placing Your saints (other born-again believers) around me to lead me to the divine health I so desperately yearned for. You walked with me through my journey, out of darkness into Your marvelous light. By the power of Your Spirit (through the Sozo ministry at Gateway Church) and with the help of Your saints (Janine, Phebian, Barb, and Donna), You empowered me to untangle the mass of confusion that clouded my mind and path.
Now I depend on You once again to walk with me through this new journey, as I make a record of Your goodness and acknowledge the ministry of Your Holy Spirit and Your ministering saints. Your saints who interceded for me in faith and spoke Your living Words of truth and life, to and over my life and mind. In gratitude, I stand today with a sound mind, and in awe of You. Amen.
First Panic Attack
It was at a summer family reunion/pool party at my mother’s cousin’s house. I was there with my mother, father, grandmother and my brother. The feeling came upon me with no warning. All of a sudden I felt overwhelming, paralyzing fear. I think I was about eight or nine years old. I can still see myself standing there in my bathing suit looking around at everyone, feeling frozen in time and like everyone was looking at me. They weren’t looking at me and I knew that, but I could still feel their eyes staring me down. I wanted to go into the pool to escape but I couldn’t move. That’s all the memory I have about it now. The next attack happened probably four-five years later.
Junior High School & 3 More Panic Attacks
I started to smoke cigarettes in junior high school. One day I was outside in the courtyard at school with a few friends. I think we were smoking but I’m not sure. One thing I do know is that as I stood there, that same feeling of fear that hit me a few years earlier, rose up again. I couldn’t talk and couldn’t move, even though I wanted to run to ‘safety.’ I looked around again, like at the family reunion and remember seeing (I understand now that my vision was very exaggerated) very segregated groups of kids standing together. And then looking at the group of friends I was standing with, I began to wonder if they really were my friends – I felt like I didn’t belong with them. I felt like a little jerk. That ‘little jerk’ phrase would replay in my mind over and over again (in the seasons of darkness that would follow after me) for the next forty years.
After junior high school, I had three more major panic attacks. One was when I was about 17 or 18 years old, in a bar playing Pac-Man with my boyfriend. We were having fun and all of a sudden the feeling of doom and fear enclosed around me. I stopped playing, ran outside and couldn’t explain to my boyfriend what had just happened. I didn’t know? The next panic attack was similar – same overpowering fear, same venue (a bar with a friend).
The last panic attack I had was at a work Christmas party (before my days at Yale). I was feeling very nervous, very uncomfortable all night. I couldn’t speak and again my vision seemed to be exaggerated as I looked around at my co-workers. My boss, Sig (short for Sigmund), noticing how extremely quiet I had been all night, commented on my silence. He then said to me “Annie, say something.” All I could say was “something.”
A Few Final Words For Today
Up until this point in my life, I did not know the lifesaving, freely given, healing love of Jesus. I struggled for a few more years after the event at my work Christmas party. In March 1988 I started work at Yale. Soon after, I found my way into therapy after seeking psychiatric help for someone else. It was during this time when a counselor started asking questions about me, that it occurred to me that I too, needed help. The help did come, in the form of the Helper (Jesus). But as I will continue to explain, the darkness changed over time, grew darker and more debilitating and almost turned to complete blackness as it tried to take my life.
I by no means think that I am alone in the battles of my past. This is one of the reasons I want to share with you. Depression, nervousness, anxiety, fear in general and the fear of man (of what others think about us), addictions/obsessions (of all kinds) have their roots in pain, discouragement, frustrations, guilt, shame, etc. We were not meant to carry our own burdens. Jesus beckons us to – Come to Me… in Matthew 11: 28-30. And Peter tells us to – Cast all your cares/anxiety on Jesus because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). I believe that all the problems in our lives (that we carry) are curable in His loving arms.
More to come, when and as He leads.