PTSD, Panic & Prayer

The lights feel brighter and the sounds feel louder and the minor annoyances loom large in my mind.

And my heart clenches and I can't breathe and my grasp on the present moment slips. I feel
alternately numb and then intense pain. It's a crippling helplessness. Right now it's a literal numbness and tingling down the left side of my body. It's feeling like I'm not truly in my body. Not grounded. Like I'm watching myself outside of my self.

I am thankful that this is not my constant present reality but in the last week or so my PTSD and grief have caught up with me. My brain, heart, mind, body and spirit have been on overload.

Over the years I have learned how to mange. I cry out to the Lord in prayer. I use essential oils to help ground me, lift my mood, and help me breathe when I'm anxious. I take concentrated fruits and vegetables and berries to boost my nutrition. I go to counseling and receive therapy. I ask for others to pray for and with me. I know the importance of exercise for stress relief and I take medicine to help with my chemical imbalance.

But some days even with my best efforts I feel so alone and isolated. I read everyone's signal of busyness as a rejection notice. I feel disapproved, unaccepted and unwanted. The guilt and shame of my inability to cope mounts.

It's been 14 years tomorrow since my sister's death and I have grown in many, many ways but the loss can still take my breath away. The ache is still there and some ways increases as the space of time lengthens between the last time I saw her face, heard her laugh, see her with her hands on her hips, and be bossed by her. Baby sister or not- she was the bossy one!

I miss hearing her strumming her guitar. Miss seeing her nose scrunch up.

Do you know I have yet to see my wedding videos?

You know why? She's all over them I'm sure... and I was married only 6 months before she died. This September is Mike and my 15th anniversary and I still haven't seen my wedding on video.

I desperately want to put my house and belongings in order and I feel crippled. Unable to put things away. Unable to get rid of stuff that is stressing me out.

So what do you do in these situations?

Look for a way to numb the pain? To drink or eat or shop or gamble or watch til you're sick or passed out or gotten some kind of high. Until you don't feel anymore.

That's what I would like to do. But instead I'm crying out to Jesus. Asking Him to continue to heal me. To meet me in my weakness. To help me in my inability.

I wish this restless mania and panic would disappear but I'm quieting my heart and asking Jesus to calm the storm in me. I'm breathing as deep as I can.

I stop and recount the good things. The beautiful tulips I received today. The great laugh I had when my shake fell outside, the cup busted and I ended up spilling everywhere, including all over my dog. The most beautiful encouragement note from my daughter. A precious group of 12 year olds to tutor today. Ian made student of the month at his school. Michael received a letter and Cinema Cafe tickets from his principle for picking up the most trash on the playground!

Mike has only been away for work for a few days but is driving home from PA tonight to be with me tomorrow.

So prayer. Gratitude. Some lavender oil. A hot shower. Several liters of water. A handful of cashews. Have gone a long way to soothe some of the ache.

I'm not perfect. Not by a long stretch. But I'm grateful for a God who is perfect and knows all things and working even the most horrible, heartbreaking circumstances for my good.

Come to Jesus and breathe.


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