Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Introduction chapter to A Scarlet Cord of life living with guilt, shame, and fear

I would like to give you a preview of my book. Here is the introduction chapter.


As I sat on the front room couch with a blanket over me, I was watching the 10:00 news. I realized I was more tired than I thought I was. I normally watch the local news and flip through various channels until I feel tired enough for sleep. I suddenly felt more than ready for bed. I turned off the TV and went to my bedroom. I got into my bed, next to my sleeping husband, I laid my head on my pillow; I could feel myself ready for sleep. I woke up a few hours later, at 12:30 a.m., I was feeling very nauseous and disoriented. I felt I was suddenly coming down with the flu. I got up and went to the bathroom. As I stood up, my heart started racing wildly. I felt even more nauseous. I felt very afraid. My body was sweaty and clammy. My head was spinning. My chest was hurting. I slowly made it back to the bed after I realized I was not going to get sick. I thought maybe that I just needed to lie down. I felt relief for only a brief moment. Then all of the sudden waves of nausea hit me, as I have never felt before. I felt a strong heat wave go through my body from my head to my toes. I felt my heart beating so fast that I thought it might beat out of my chest! I felt as if I could barely breathe. I was frantically trying to fill my lungs with air. I was very afraid. I felt like I was dying.

In February 2007, I was diagnosed with Anxiety, Panic, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. At first, I fought this diagnosis. I thought PTSD was only for people who served during wartime or who had some sort of major disaster happen in their life. I also did not believe that I had a panic attack. After my first attack, as I lay in the emergency room, I knew this was MUCH more serious than simply being anxious or worried. On that hospital bed, I knew there was something seriously wrong. I knew I was dying.

From all I have learned over the past few years this diagnosis is much more intricate and PTSD, panic and anxiety can go hand in hand. I realize now my diagnosis was correct. With God’s strength, a supportive loving husband and children, as well as two amazing doctors, I am now on a path learning how to control and deal with my panic and anxiety. I am learning trigger points and how to use “the tools in my basket” to help me when situations come up that trigger my anxious response. I am on a journey! For me I know this will be a life-long journey. I know there are many others who are also on a similar journey. Recognizing this fact has also helped me. It is important that we know we are not alone. Our symptoms, triggers, and story may differ, but the underlining issue is the same.

I have felt like my life experiences have been a series of puzzle pieces. I did not know what the final puzzle would look like, but I knew that I needed to put the pieces together to bring order to my life. The goal of this book is to honestly examine each piece as an individual and with God’s help, put them together.

This is not a book complaining about my childhood, or being a victim. This book is not meant to tell every aspect of my life. The events, situations and experiences I tell about are what I feel propelled me into PTSD, panic and anxiety. It was not one event for me; it was a lifetime of events, circumstances and people. As I look back I can see each of these situations and experiences as threads in my life, threads that are not necessarily strong on their own but woven together they created a cord that hung firmly from my neck. The threads, scarlet in color, signify the guilt and shame I felt over different situation and events in my life.

Some things that I mention are to show the patterns I was in that propelled me towards PTSD. I take full responsibility for the things I chose to do and for the relationships, I chose to pursue and stay in. While I do not blame anyone or anything, you will see I was primed for relationships and situations that would plunge me into PTSD, panic and anxiety. You will see certain patterns emerge very early on for me. Perhaps you will be able to recognize patterns and situations in your life and make corrections earlier than I was able to. My heart’s desire is to help someone who needs to hear my story.

As I began this journey of writing I was not sure why or exactly what would come of it. I just knew that I needed to do it. It was very evident to me, as I got closer to the end that God was showing me clearly He was there from the very beginning to the present time. The picture of this is all of the scriptures woven through each chapter. It was as if God was walking through this with me and very lovingly and gently proving Himself to me repeatedly.
I have also added a section called What I Know Now at the end of each chapter. The concept behind this is give you some perspective into what I have learned since then, or a spiritual truth that helped me along the way as I was searching for hope. There is always hope...
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope”.


  1. Thank You Sheryl,

    I can't even begin to say what I felt just now reading your words. I was there with you fully feeling the intensity. Like nothing I have ever read or experienced before.. I have read every self help book, etc since before you were even born. You are the first and only person who knows what I've been feeling and living with.
    God Bless You, Marilynn

  2. I am so glad that you had the courage to write your book. I can't wait to read it.

  3. Sheryl, I LOVE how God works! I would love to speak with you!!! Paula just contacted me about our blog having similar title to your book so I had to investigate. We have much in common and yet the storyline is different.

    The Lord gave me "The Scarlet Rope of Hope" from an entirely different perspective, but I have experienced anxiety, panic attacks and not being able to get over it lead to depression. I always call it depression because of the shame that I felt for having the attacks. So I will have to get a copy of your book, I'd like to share it with one who I am encouraging right now.

    The Lord walked me out to victory too! Halleluiah!

    Blessings in Jesus!


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