Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A young mans letter to His parents about his panic disorder

I gasped for air as I felt the life go out of me. I was repeatedly being plunged into darkness and brought up just long enough to know that air was available to the world around me, but not at my disposal. My throat was being fused together by an unseen force and I had the incredible urge to vomit, but my body did not have the strength to eject my stomach’s contents. Besides, I didn’t have the urge to vomit partially digested food anyway. The only thing that I thought would come out was gallons of blood. I fully expected to see sticky clots of blood and pieces of my internal organs hanging out of my mouth as my body was ravaged by the unseen enemy within. My chest tightened and my body contorted with pain as my mind raced. The pressure building in my head from the house of horrors made every noise I heard sound like the high-pitched whir of a band saw that was surely coming to slowly dismember me piece by piece. The thought of being cut to pieces was slowly fading as more important things took control of me. I could not breathe any longer, and the only thing left to do was to take my last frantic breath and die. That is when the real horror began, however. I was dying a horrible death, but death would not consummate its horrific union with me. I cried out to God to kill me, and feverishly looked around for some way out. I had to escape! Where could I go? How would I get out of this hellish torture chamber? Then the sinking realization dawned on me that there was no escape, and I would not have the good fortune of perishing. The prisoner, the prison, and the blood thirsty murderer seeking to destroy me all dwelt in the same place- my own mind.
I looked around the room and couldn’t help but notice all the smiling faces. Men chuckling, women beaming from ear to ear, and little children giggling was a common site that day. Cameras flashed and people murmured at how beautiful everything turned out. I wanted to stand up and scream for everyone to run for their life! Didn’t they know what was going on? We were all surely going to die. Were we being gassed? Was there an extremist group loitering in the wings that was using some highly sophisticated weapon to cripple our minds and take over our land? No one seemed to be concerned about the impending tragedy, however. They were living in blissful ignorance, I suppose, and attempting to enjoy the wedding.
That day, as I quietly sat in my shirt and tie, cleanly shaven with my pants pressed nicely, I was experiencing the most horrific things anyone could ever imagine. Two of my close friends were sharing their special day and showing the world how much they loved one another, but I was in a torture chamber. I was being beaten repeatedly, my family was being raped and mutilated in front of me, and I could do nothing to stop any of it. Actually, my brain (the small organ encased inside your skull so often taken for granted) was malfunctioning, and electrical impulses that are normally reserved for harrowing situations went rogue. The same chemical response one’s brain initiates during a time of the most intense crisis was happening to me that day inside a quiet Midwest church hall. I felt like a prisoner of war in my own mind. To the outside observer, I made have looked tired, or maybe even bored. Inside, however, was a different story.
Fortunately, there is help. Panic Disorder affects millions of people each year, and there are multiple pharmaceutical solutions to treat this disease of the brain. Much like penicillin will combat Strep throat, many different medications will help restore brain chemistry to its original setting. If you suffer from Panic Disorder, treat your brain like you would a broken bone. Don’t you think it deserves the care?
If you would like to more about Panic Disorder, please consider Steve and Robyn's book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, Kregel Publications. If you are ot of the country please visit