This past week was one of the worst in my life. After having been on a prescription for 5 days that caused nausea and vomiting, I had a full blown allergic reaction that resulted in tremors, an inability to speak or stuttering speech, and a host of other unpleasant side effects that the ER blew off as a major panic attack. I was relieved when my new doctor (shout out to Pastor Jeff for the hook up) affirmed the allergic reaction to the generic form of the drug. What I was not expecting was his diagnosis, " You're OCD, and your OCD is causing your anxiety." What? Are you serious? But when he said it, it made sense. He said your OCD doesn't result in obsessive hand washing or locking the door all the time, its repetitive thoughts that get trapped in a loop and don't go away, causing anxiety.
Not too many of my friends and family seem to be all that surprised.
Joline and I sat on the front porch and discussed where we have seen this in our relationship: checking the stove and windows multiple times before leaving on a trip, re-locking the door to the coffee shop several times before leaving, checking the doors of the church several times before setting the alarm, checking weather reports on an hourly basis, and so on. Actions that I thought were just being thorough were actually manifestations of my desire for control and making sure I hadn't made a mistake. I was terrified of making a mistake, especially if it reflected poorly on me. While claiming and teaching a faith of total surrender, I was practicing a life of total control. I was trying to live in two worlds.
Through this allergic reaction and diagnosis the veil is beginning to be torn. I do not label myself as a possible OCD person, but a person who might happen to have OCD and is learning to live with it. This is all very new to me; the understanding of it. I know what it looks like because I have lived with it. I just don't know what moving forward looks like yet. Each day is a step in faith.
The thoughts I have all seem very real and plausible and realistic, from my perspective, but when brought into the light of reality they become less so. Many friends and loved ones have reminded me of the past 4 years (particularly the past year) and tell me to chill out and allow myself some grace, but my mind says otherwise. It tells me to be vigilant. It tells me to keep watch. It tells me to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
The temptation is to just look at the physical treatment (Meds). What about the spiritual dimensions? I know that many of you have been in prayer for me. For that I am grateful. I too continue a prayer regiment. I begin each day with prayer that begins with the Lord's prayer, moving through the Shema, and then into intercessory prayer for friends and loved ones. I read scripture and journal. I make time through out the day to listen to the Lord. These discipline are essential, not only for myself, but for every believer who desires to know the Lord and his goodness.
Many of you have followed my blogs on anxiety, and have offered some great insights and transparency. For that I am grateful. Connection is a great tool against anxiety because anxiety isolates. I chose the picture I did above because we often find Jesus alone in the garden. Here we see Jesus ministered to by an angel in his time of need. I can tell you, Jesus has sent angels to me in my time of need. They have been neighbors, church members, pastors, family, phone calls, emails, texts. Thank you for being my angels.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Posted by George Atkins at 10:09 AM