I've turned into one of those people who blogs to process stuff, and as I struggled with some recently-received news, I wanted to head straight for the keyboard and get it all out.
But I had to wait--not only because my loved ones deserve time to hear things and process in their own ways, but also because, as transparent and real as I try to be about my journey, there are some things that are just a little too raw and real to talk about right away.
I finally have a name for what I've been experiencing, which has been above and beyond my severe adrenal fatigue (which way better now, by the way!) Puzzled by the panic attacks and chronic anxiety that persisted and even worsened as I rested, I finally went to see someone. And I heard words that were a surprise and yet not surprising at all.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
When I got myself home from the appointment and turned to the internet for answers (oh, come on, you do it, too), I read descriptions that matched me perfectly. This was not just a case where reading stuff on the internet turns you into an instant hypochondriac. I really have those things.
So yes, that IS me, I am so sorry and so FLABBERGASTED to say.
Flabbergasted is the best word. Webster's Dictionary says it conveys "astonishment with bewilderment and dismay." Yup, and a fair degree of hysteria, to boot. Have you EVER heard of anything more ridiculous? I've actually got agoraphobia. I mean, seriously? Come on! Who GETS agoraphobia?
Even now I'm both laughing and aghast as I type this outrageous, wildly improbable occurrence. How on EARTH does something like this happen? What turns an active Christian businesswoman, wife and mom, into someone who can't even go to church, let alone get on a plane to speak at a conference, or even sit in a restaurant with friends for lunch, in the space of about twelve months?
It's dumbfounding. Yet, here we are.
Anxiety attack on Aisle 4. Panic episode in the school pickup lane. Rescheduled reservations finally cancelled altogether.
Well, we'll be picking this apart for a long time. But in the end, my reality is exactly what it was the day before the diagnosis. It's news that doesn't really change anything.
You don't just "get over" agoraphobia by yourself. I cannot make depression disappear by willing it to go POOF! I can't drag myself out of this panic pit and overcome anxiety with heavy doses of sheer stubborn. That's really comforting, actually. To hear and to know, finally, that I cannot fix myself. I've had thirteen months of intense struggle and interrupted life to arrive at a place where it is clear and undeniable that I need outside help and intervention.
And as there always is, there's a grace in that moment of letting go. There's a peace that tempers the grief, when I release what I wish was true, and accept what actually is true. The truth sets us free.
Sometimes we get news that changes things, but alters nothing about God's goodness or His ultimate plan for us.
Sometimes it wasn't truly a surprise, but we still have to experience the shock... and process the grief.
And always--never sometimes, but always ALWAYS, for the believer-- there is a grace and peace for that moment.
Even the ones that flabbergast us.