The topic of fear is very near to my heart as the manifestation of fear affected me most of my adult life. And you can surely see the effects of fear in our society. Anytime there is a tragedy albeit it a natural disaster or man-made, there is a constant barrage of images, the death count and the story is told again and again. When there is a turn in the economy we are told repeatedly how if things do not turn around soon, we are doomed, and we will beyond broke, without jobs and in despair. When a food born outbreak occurs we are told of the deaths and how they have no idea what is the source, but they suggest discard the food with this production date or it could happen to you. We are inundated with frightening images, sound bites and the like. It is amazing some of us come out of the house in the morning with the bleak report we hear on a daily basis. And with these negative images and information constantly penetrating our Spirits it’s not surprising many of us are fearful with no positive outlook of the future.
I know personally what fear can do to your psyche and spirit. There was about a five year period in my life that it seemed that I was losing someone close to me each year, the most detrimental was my father. And it planted a seed of fear. Not only was I losing people but I was having major personal lose; jobs, cars, etc. The first death was that of my maternal grandfather and I am sure this is where the seed was initially planted. You have to understand that I did not know my grandfather as he left my grandmother after producing seven children with her. He moved several states away and never cared to have a relationship with us. After I married in 2004, I moved to the state he lived in and my Aunt, who passed 4 years later, encouraged that I develop a relationship with him. I began to visit him and we established a relationship, but unfortunately he passed within six months. And it was not a pleasant experience for me. I experienced finding him semi-conscious, sitting in his feces, putting him the ambulance only to see him slip into a coma and eventually die; it was heartbreaking. And what was more tragic was that I experienced almost the exact same thing with my maternal grandmother twelve years prior. They both had the exact same cause of death and I was there to see it all. And the family drama that ensued afterwards had me in an emotional tailspin. So the first anxiety attack I had was inevitable. The night before we were to bury my grandfather I experienced my first attack. I woke with terror, feeling as though I could not breathe. My heart was pounding, my blood ran cold. I began to gasp for air. I couldn’t even call on anyone as it was just my niece, who was a baby, and I at home. I reach for my cell phone and ran to the porch; thinking I would call the ambulance and maybe run over to a neighbor. As soon as the cool air touch my face, I began to calm some and I began to take deep breaths and I began to pray. My heart slowed down, my breathing became somewhat normal and I began to get my bearings. That night marked the beginning of my night terrors. I didn’t tell anyone except my husband, we dismissed it as stress and that I was tired from all the events that had taken place. But we were wrong. For the months to follow they came more frequently. I was not sleeping and I became a frequent visitor to the hospital. They would check me and would send me home with anti-anxiety medication. The medicine made me feel worse. And it didn’t make matters any better that I was six hours away from my family. It was wreaking havoc in my marriage. My husband was at his wits ends as I would be up all night crying, telling him I was dying. And they began to progressively get worse, especially once my father died and I began to experience health issues. My family and friends had no idea what I was experiencing at night. Stress, depression and worry were taking its toll on me. I was not being productive and it was causing major issues in me and my marriage. I was allowing “fear” to cripple and stifle me spiritually, emotionally and physically. After a while I had enough. I did some research on the causes of anxiety and I knew that medicine was not the answer for me. However I knew who did have the answers and I made an appointment with the Great Physician, Jesus.
I went into my Sanctuary and I prayed and analyzed everything. And that’s when I realized that my fear of dying was tied to all the loss that I experienced around me. That seed was planted and it grew into a nasty weed that was chocking the life out of me. I was struggling with the thought that my dying day was imminent. Why wouldn’t it be? I saw my Daddy and Auntie, who had a deep and meaningful relationship with God, gone. So why would he not take me in a moment? And the issues with my health played a tremendous part in my “fear of death. I came face to face with my mortality and I was afraid. I had a choice, continue to have these attacks and disrupt my home life and eventually tear my marriage apart or I could face my fear. What if God did decide to take me? Would I have lived a life that was pleasing and acceptable? If I did die, where would my soul go? And that’s when I knew that it was time for me to get it right so that when my dying day did come, I would be sure where my soul would rest. I dug my heels in and I did the work and it was not an overnight process. I chose not to do it with medicine but with a holistic approach. I learned how to breathe through the attacks and I would repeat
2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given ME a spirit of fear but of love joy and a sound mind”.
And I repeat it until I felt calm again and I had regained my sound mind. I made sure to feed my spirit as well with positive information and scriptures, I prayed and meditated and I stopped focusing on dying and focused on living.
In one of the last conversations I had with my Daddy before his passing he said something that really brought me insight and it helped me to heal. We were talking about his upcoming surgery and making plans and I asked him was he scared. My daddy had such a way with words and in his way he said, No, I am not scared. You are scared when you are afraid to die. I am not afraid to die because I know where I am going. And that’s exactly the medicine I needed to deliver me from the anxiety attacks. I am getting my life right so that when I take my last and final breath, I will not be afraid — because I know where I am going.
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