I pray there comes a time in every one’s life when they are taken by surprise by their sudden and unexpected reactions to their surroundings or their thoughts and it is revealed who they are supposed to become. The reason why I pray for this is because I certainly wouldn’t pray for the way it happened to me. It has been a long excruciating journey for me to find a direction. I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to go through the confusion of 50 years before their compass finally started to work.
I have blathered on all my life about those people who profess to have grown up already knowing who they wanted to be and they talk about the one directional journey. You know who I mean, they are spotlighted on news programs. But when I was pinned down once to exactly who these people where I couldn’t come up with anyone I knew for certain was one of “those people”. I went for the joke then and said something to the effect of “you know, those people who say the grass is always greener, a stitch in time saves nine, never leave the house without wearing clean underwear in case you are in a car accident…” . Then correcting myself because I realized the last one was not one of “those people” that one was my mother. I found myself knowing most of us on earth are not pre-wired for one certain purpose. I had been lying to myself, perhaps because of my hard wiring, or maybe just as an excuse… to be less than. To give up. To date, the only one person I “know” who knew his role/destiny/purpose that I can really name as “cradle to grave” one directional, one intentional, is Jesus.
It was strange to realize that my disappointment with myself was just another unrealistic self-expectation I have carried around since childhood. Another way to beat myself up for not knowing everything. Its unsettling to have a pillar of your belief system crumble into nothingness. It was never real in the first place. Many pillars and walls disappear like that for me and it isn’t an easy happening. There were/are times I feel as if there is nothing real to prop me up. It is as if a mountain of false belief has been rattled and it comes down upon you. Everything you believed, or used to get you through, is gone.
It is such an opportunity each time these inside landslides happen. It doesn’t feel like an opportunity it feels claustrophobic. It feels frightening. We feel dangerous. We mentally, emotionally, or physically claw for air and scream for help before we suffocate. The super heated moment passes. Some doctors say a panic attack only lasts about 25 minutes. If you find comfort in that then hold on to it. But if it is a deep seeded issue the confusion, and shame, and the”hang over” can last for a very long time. And if you suffer from this even once, you know just how long life can be…. no matter how short it is said it to be.
There are many treatments for the panic attack itself. I do not have an opinion about which is best. I don’t believe there is any wrong way to treat it either. Only levels of “better” for the individual. I believe the only person who can decide “better” is the person clawing for air and living through the aftermath. Personally though, I hope with all my heart that “ignoring”it isn’t what is decided. That feeling really is there to tell you something. I ignored it for years. Then one day, I sat down in a blue chair and firmly said, “I’m not here to goof around. I need to understand why and the how to fix it now. I am 50, life is too short, no matter how long it feels…”
Who knows how many times the blue chair had heard this from others. But it met me where I was and believed me. Believed me and waited to see if I was lying…