Panic attacks were paralysing Tina until she met God at a Salvo church.
For me, anxiety came in the form of panic attacks. I was 32 years old and 25 weeks pregnant with twins when I experienced the start of the severest of these attacks.
I was gripped by a paralysing and illogical fear. It felt like someone was messing with my mind and I wanted it to stop. I had no control. I felt powerless. I had always been a very easy-going, calm person who functioned at a high level. Everything I was had been stripped away as the panic crippled me.
As the war raged inside my head I was at my wits’ end and had suicidal thoughts. My obstetrician saw how desperate I was and put me on medication.
The rest of my pregnancy went smoothly and the attacks were kept at bay. I had my twins and went off the tablets but experienced another panic attack two and a half years later when I fell pregnant again.
I went on medication, had my third child, and went off the tablets. It would be sometime later before the attacks would happen sporadically — in a train, bus, movie theatre, elevator, traffic jam.
My world was slowly getting smaller. I desperately wanted to avoid medication, so I kept away from everything that I associated with my attacks. My doctor prescribed a sedative, which I took only when necessary.
However, after a traumatic event which tipped me over the edge three years ago, I finally succumbed trying to do it on my own and was prescribed anti-depressants. They kept my panic under control.
Two years ago, I had an urge to go to the local Salvation Army church, Kingston Gardens Corps (Vic.), to thank God for something wonderful that had happened in my life. I had stopped going to church in my twenties. My relationship with God was a very distant one — I knew very little about him. After returning to church I found I really loved the service. The worship music and the message were inspiring. I returned week after week and left with a sense of peace and felt empowered to tackle another week.
Months later, I invited Jesus into my life and went on to do a life-changing Alpha course. I was excited to learn about the Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — and super-excited that I could have a personal relationship with God. I found myself drawing closer to him and had a hunger to learn more.
One day I realised that I hadn’t been taking my anti-depressants for four to five months. I was shocked that I was in such a good place that I hadn’t even noticed. I don’t know where or when it happened, but I do know that as I got closer to God, he had miraculously healed me. It has now been two years off the tablets and no sign of panic attacks.
These days if I am fearful of anything, I pray the scriptures from the Bible (Philippians 4:13) which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I thank God for giving me supernatural strength to deal with whatever comes my way. I trust him and know that he fights against my enemies to give me victory.
If you know someone who suffers from anxiety or panic attacks, offer them your love, support and understanding as it can often be a very lonely, silent battle for them. As for me, I am continuing my exciting journey with God and knowing I am not doing this on my own gives me daily faith, hope and strength.