Monday, August 17, 2015

Thank You (#SmallWonder Link-Up)

(This past week marked the one year anniversary of my admission to a local Psychiatric Hospital due to the sudden onset of severe panic attacks.  I took this picture of the outside when I went back this week for a routine appointment.  You can read more about my journey by clicking on the anxiety tab under Topics.)

Sometimes we must talk about darkness in order to better talk about light. - Kelly Chripczuk

Palpable fear, fog descending on the brain, blood pressure slipping and sliding while the extremities go weak.  Dizziness, anxiety and an unbearable desire to flee.

This is what I felt this past Friday morning walking into the lobby of the Behavioral Health Unit where I was hospitalized last summer.  I was there for a routine Psychiatrist appointment.  

I wasn’t feeling well.  Tired and stressed from a long week of classes, I had a brief dizzy spell in the morning.  I wondered if something was off with my blood pressure – it can tend to run low. 

As I drove, I thought about asking the psychiatrist to check my blood pressure.  She’s a medical doctor after all and, at the least, she could call in a nurse.  I pictured myself in her office, with that black cuff around my arm.    

What if they sent me to the ER?  The same ER where I waited for almost twenty hours last year before admission. 

What if going to the ER caused me to panic? What if I couldn’t stop panicking?

I spent the whole thirty minute ride to the hospital psyching myself out.  By the time I got there, I was jacked up on anxiety.
 
After parking, I pulled out my phone and took a few quick pictures of the "courtyard" - a small fenced in area where supervised low-risk patients could take a breath of fresh air in the afternoon and evening.  

Entering the building through double glass doors, I crossed the dim, brown interior.  Facing the receptionists’ large cubicle, I worked hard to force words out of my mouth in a stream that seemed natural.  I wanted to run back out into the sunny blue day.  Instead I sat and waited a good twenty minutes.  I picked up a magazine and read fluff articles about combating clutter while talking myself down.    

On the drive home I was physically sick.  I kept an eye on the shoulder looking for places to pull over and vomit.  A headache formed behind my right eye and stretched its way down into my neck and shoulders.  Thirty minutes later I ran into our empty house and knelt on the floor dry-heaving into the downstairs toilet.  My kids were still out picking berries with a friend.  The dog looked curiously at me. 

When the nausea passed I took some Ibuprophen and sorted laundry, placing the kids’ new school clothes on clean white hangers.  Exhaustion hung around me like a shroud, sleep was all I could think of, but I was scared to sit down, scared to lay down, afraid anxiety would pull me under.    

Finally I walked out the back door and into the yard.  The grass here is brown in patches, scratchy like straw, starving for rain.  I sat down on a little slope facing toward the garden and flowerbed.  The dog flopped down beside me, panting and squinting in the sun.

I leaned back onto the ground, my arms outstretched on either side, palms down into the grass.  The grass pricking my hands reminded me of the summer before, when I stretched out in the grass in the fenced in hospital yard.

“Thank you,” I said, aloud.  The words sprang unbidden from my lips, pure, like water from a deep, cold spring. 

I was home and the earth was solid and the sunshine warm.  No one  was there to hear me.  But I’d like to think the dog and the browning grass and sunflowers nearby nodded their heads ever so slightly in agreement.  

(Friday was the worst day I've had in a long time, but I'm happy to say it's passed and after some good rest, I'm feeling much better.)


*   *   *

Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.

What if we chose to deliberately look for the small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God? 

That's my proposal - that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days.  

You're invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder.  Don't worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right - you're welcome to come as you are.  

While you're here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.  

16 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for your openess and honesty. May God bless you.

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  2. I admire your honesty so much, Kelly. I know your words encourages others who suffer with severe anxiety, but it also encourages those of us who have NOT had it to that extent, but know people who do. The more educated we are, the more compassionate we can be. I'm glad you are feeling better. Praising God with you for that.

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    1. I'm glad my experience can help you gain insight, Lisa. We so need more compassionate people in the world.

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  3. So grateful for your transparency, Kelly. More grateful for the faithfulness of our God to you. May He continue to keep you & use your story to light the way for others. Always grateful to join you!

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    1. Thanks, Joanne. Yes, God's faithfulness is the thread that holds each of our days together.

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  4. Kelly, I just exhaled from the bottom of my heart when I reached your final paragraph. So often I, too, have found that saying "Thank you" has changed my day -- and my soul.

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    1. :) I think I did too, Michele, exhale, that is. Thank you hasn't always been part of my prayer vocabulary, so I'm always grateful when it arises.

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  5. Thank you again, Kelly, for sharing your journey with anxiety. I so understand the feelings of anxiety that come when you revisit a place where you've had an anxiety attack. Our local hospital is a place of caring and healing, but it's also a place of time travel back to stressful times.
    I like to remember how tenderly God dealt with Elijah's physical weakness when he was running from Jezebel and how He provided food and water and made sure he slept. Take care of yourself.

    This week I also found refreshment in the act of giving thanks and singing "Glory to God."

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    1. I love the word "tenderness," Constance, and am learning to lean into it. Thanks for being here.

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  6. Wow, such a vulnerable story. I'm grateful for all the ways God has pursued and transformed you this year and how you so vulnerably share that journey on your blog. It is beautiful!

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  7. Kelly I battled anxiety and depression many years ago and the struggle and symptoms sound familiar. Getting rest is so key--good job taking care of yourself. It's amazing how allright the world can look when you've had enough sleep.
    May the difficult days come seldom....and further apart.

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  8. Dear Kelly, I felt such emotion in your journey back to the hospital, the appointment, the memories. I am sorry you had to go through that yet am grateful that God has brought you through and given you His peace in the midst...eventually. I pray, Kelly, that you stay close and in His hands. May His Power be your strength, His Love your well of refreshment, His Spirit be you calm, the anointing oil.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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