As a child, I battled anxiety. I did not know it was anxiety. All I knew was that I had moments of intense fear that lead to physical symptoms. I did not know how to handle this huge, overwhelming feelings. I did not have a name for them. It was incredibly difficult to leave with something so powerful and nameless. It was as if I was fighting an invisible dragon.
As an adult, I sought a diagnosis. It helped. Not all diagnoses help but this one did. The doctor told me I was struggling with a generalized anxiety disorder. My symptoms, he said, were textbook. Understanding that I was normal for my diagnosis brought me freedom. I learned how to keep myself from having a panic attack. I learned that if I did have a panic attack it was ok to tell people, "Hey, I'm having a panic attack!" In other words, I learned to have no shame in my fight. After all, I am in good company. Heck, I'm in amazing company!
The more I learned about anxiety, the more I became comfortable with it and it no longer controlled me. It still continues to be a learning process, though. There are times when I notice that I need a tune-up in the way I approach it. There are times I need to ask for help. Supplements help and my sweet friends remind me to take them when they notice I am revving up. Sometimes I need to step away from life in order to regroup. And, it's ok. It is ok for me to need help, or to take time. It is totally ok.
My middle daughter was born with similar anxiety issues. I feel incredibly thankful that I have gone through what I am gone through so that I can help her to be successful in fighting her fight. There are times when I need to push her and there are times that I need to respect her fight enough to give her time. The most interesting thing I have found is that the gift of time has been the what has offered her the most in terms of healing. It has given her a firm foundation in which to plant her feet. She has gone from needing me on a near constant basis to venturing out on her own terms to pursue new opportunities.
Taking time to listen to a person's experience has two purposes: taking in information and bearing witness to what their journey. My doctor took in my information and validated me by offering a diagnoses (and a plan). In turn, I have been able to listen to my daughter and respect her journey. Listening opened up the doors to healing.
If a loved one is trying to tell you their journey, listen. Do not tell them what their journey is, just listen. You may have an opinion, or an idea, or a story to tell...don't...just...listen. They may be fighting invisible dragons that you no nothing about.
In Hebrew, this means "our dance". It is through our dance that healing in found. Come before the throne and dance for your King!