I’m going to tell you about one of my most difficult days.
One I rarely allow myself to revisit without the support of someone with several educational degrees behind their name. The memories of this day trigger fear and sadness, still, almost 18 months and a new life later. Truthfully, I just want to skip it, but I can’t. It’s the fulcrum of my story. The pivot point. The day my armor cracked. The day my kingdom started to fall.
I already told you about the morning of the auction, how I was paralyzed and confronted with this new reality in which I could not control my body or my mind. When Justin came to meet me that April morning in 2014, I abandoned my team as they put the finishing touches on the venue. Instead of wrapping up the details, I rode home in silence, went to my bed and curled in a fetal position, unable to move.
I didn’t know what to do. I was shell-shocked. Why couldn’t I move? Why wouldn’t the chaotic thoughts in my head stop? Why was my body wracked with tension? When would the waves of fear subside? I didn’t yet have the words to describe these feelings as “anxiety” or “panic.” I thought I might be dying. I didn’t understand what was happening. My family didn’t understand what was happening. We were all scared, very scared.
“Should I go?” I begged Justin for answers, and I played out scenarios in my head. If I didn’t attend the auction, I would let everyone down. There were 350 people there and $80,000 waiting to be raised. But I had already failed, hadn’t I?
The auction co-leader called me just before the volunteers began arriving at the venue. “I don’t think I can come,” I heard myself say. The champagne toast would take place without my words of thanks, the guests would arrive, and I would not be there.
Dad came into my room to ask one final time if I was going. I just don’t think I can.
“Here,” he said. “Your mom bought you a new dress. You’ve planned this evening for months. You need to go. Your people need you to go. Get your ass out of bed and go.”
I stood in the shower, heaving as the waves of nausea overcame me. I went through the motions of drying my hair, putting on my make-up, and donning the new dress my mom purchased for me.
I went to the auction that night. Somehow I even stood up and spoke to the overflowing room of guests. I have no idea what I said, and I have almost no recollection of being there.
An aunt recently told me that she remembers having a panic attack at a restaurant, going to the bathroom to calm down, and staring at herself in the mirror. She was shocked that the pretty reflection showed no sign of the internal chaos taking place inside.
The inside and the outside didn’t match.
When I look back at this picture of myself from the night of the auction, that’s what I think…
The inside and the outside don’t match. I was terrified, my life was falling apart and there is NO VISIBLE SIGN. Do you know the other strange thing? I didn’t cry that day. Not once did I shed a tear.
Oh my goodness, dear ones, this lovely girl in the picture was in for a rude awakening. A mask this strong does not come off easily. I fought it to the very end. Thankfully, I have a God who knew it was time. It was time for the inside to match the outside again. Time to feel, time to mourn, time to be reborn. It was time for my kingdom to fall. It was time to rumble and time to seek the still.
I made my castle tall
I built up every wall
This is my kingdom and it needs to fall
I want You and no one else
Empty me of myself
Until the only thing that’s left is
More of You
Less of me
Make me who I’m meant to be
– Colton Dixon, More of You
This series is not a tidy story of a fairy tale life. It is messy and truthful. For 31 days, I will share pieces of my journey, practical coping techniques for dealing with anxiety, spiritual insights, emotional struggles, and a whole lot of other. I will likely jump from here to there as the Spirit leads. I invite you along as I share my experience, my strength, and my hope. Thank you for being part of this journey with me. Together, we shall seek the still.