Monday, April 4, 2011

Panic

 If you felt an urge to pray for me this past week, then it was the Spirit working. I had some panic attacks, beginning on Thursday at 2 a.m. when our new dog starting barking and wouldn’t quit till 4 a.m.
When I woke, I felt all my problems crashing down on me. It was agony: shallow breathing, my mind racing from worry to worry, I couldn’t lie down, and I wandered the house till my legs ached. Finally I slept but woke feeling exactly the same. I couldn’t concentrate, and the smallest problem seemed mountainous. Food gave no comfort – I was nauseous. At my morning Bible study, I confessed by weakness and asked for a prayer while fighting back tears.
My work seemed like it was going nowhere, no light at the end of the tunnel, I was stuck in despair, a funk that was never going to end.
The claustrophobic feeling terrified me, but spiritually this was a moment of growth – it stripped away all my props and securities: my family, my work, my health, my finances, my home – they all seemed utterly worthless. I lay down in a hammock and spoke over and over, “Lord, I only have you; Lord, I only have you.” I read Romans 8 about the working of the Holy Spirit within us. I didn’t feel better, but the spiritual reality was true, and I renewed my commitment to the Lord of my life.
I don’t envy anybody who suffers from panic disorder – it must be horrible. My panic attacks were probably a combination of factors: I was getting over a virus (possibly a light strain of dengue fever) and sleep deprivation. Then on Tuesday night, just one day before my attack, I got sprayed by poison. While teaching the kids in the square about Jesus, a truck came by pumping dengue mosquito poison into the air. We tried to get away from it, but it circled the square. Poison inhalation can cause depression.
By Saturday life was back to normal: the world was beautiful again, the sun was shining, and happiness filled me. I felt joy watching the kids playing, and food tasted delicious again. I went to my Bible study with an excitement to share the things I had learned.
            Your prayers are so appreciated.

                                                Joseph McKinney


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