Friday, April 30, 2010

Fear....Part One

There is a reason that I chose “Be Not Afraid” for my blog title, though it has more to do with what I am than what I am not. To be honest, I have suffered with an anxiety/panic disorder for most of my life. It has taken on different forms at different times. Although I didn’t understand the seriousness of this issue until I was well into adulthood, I can remember exactly when “fear” began to take over my senses. I was about 6 or 7 years old and it involved being separated from my father, because of divorce, and being left alone with an alcoholic mother who was at times, out of control.

I used different coping mechanisms to handle it all. Sometimes, I would just talk to myself. I know it sounds simple, but sometimes just telling myself that I was going to be ok…that nothing was going to happen to me…would be enough. However, sometimes, it wasn’t. Routine and ritual was another way of coping. This meant counting the days and the hours until it was my dad’s weekend to have us. I actually ticked off the hours on a calendar or on a piece of paper that I kept in my pocket. I can also remember watching television after school and every time a particular commercial would come on (it was for Wells Fargo Bank) I would think about how much closer I was to being with my dad since the last time that commercial was on. Even at 6 or 7 years old, I knew that sometimes taking lots of deep breaths would help that awful feeling to pass.

At 9 years old, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I risked everything and told my mom that I no longer wanted to live with her….that I needed to live with my dad. She didn’t speak to me for weeks. But, within a short time, we were living with my dad at my grandmother’s house. The panic/anxiety attacks went away forever….or so I thought.

Stay tuned for Part Two.

6 comments:

Mary333 said...

Thank you for sharing this, Nancy. You and I have this in common. I had my first panic attack when I was 9 years old. My parents took me to the hospital because I couldn't breathe. I learned to cope with them over the years by taking deep slow breaths and rarely have them anymore. I still get anxious sometimes though. I throw myself at Jesus now :)

Therese said...

Thank you for sharing. I have had to deal with depression/anxiety for a long time...looking forward to part 2...

Colleen said...

Great post. I am an incest survivor and we usually have a lot in common with adult children of alcoholic parents. A lot of the same kind of "survival techniques." I think that is awesome how you got the nerve up to tell your mom you wanted to live with your dad. Courageous. Hugs and prayers.

Barb, sfo said...

You know, it takes a lot of COURAGE to share this! And don't feel alone. I'm another who deals with anxiety and depression. I appreciate your willingness to share your experiences. God bless!

Sarah Oldham said...

I suffer from anxiety, but I've never had a panic attack - the feisty Irish in me won't allow it, I guess - I digress. I know so many people who have varying degrees of fear, anxiety and depression, so you have my prayers and support!

It does take great courage to share that which is most personal to us.

Frizzy and Bird said...

I have to agree with Barb and the others. It takes a lot to share such private details of your life. I'm proud of you for stepping out and taking such a risk. I pray you find nothing but support and love! Lifting you up in prayers and looking forward to part 2.

My password is oomoo. Kinda funny.