Friday, July 8, 2011

31 Days of Hope Day 8

In 2007 I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, along with panic and anxiety. My diagnosis came after I suffered a severe panic attack.  I awoke from a deep sleep with intense nausea, shortness of breath, chest pain, chills, sweating, and my heart beating wildly. I thought I was dying.  I woke my husband and he called 911. Once I was in the ambulance I was given medication for the chest pain and rapid heart beat and taken to the hospital. At the hospital, I was immediately hooked to IV's, monitors, and given more medication to ease the nausea and get my heart rate down. My heart rate was at 140.  A normal resting heart rate is 60-100.  I was kept overnight and had several tests lined up for the morning.  My doctor came in the next morning and said, "this sounds like a panic attack".  I was offended that she would say such a thing.  I knew I was a "worry wart" and that I tend to internalize things, however, I knew I was dying.  I felt something was seriously wrong with me, this was more than a "panic attack". 

Needless to say after two ambulance rides, three ER visits, numerous doctor visits, tests and much prayer, my doctor was correct. I did indeed have a panic attack.  Once I began to open my eyes to this diagnosis I was determined to figure it out and get well  We found an amazing doctor who diagnosed me with ptsd and panic/anxiety, she worked with me for nine months.  Those initial nine months were emotionally draining for me.  I spent hours with her pulling everything out from under the rug.Talking about things that I thought I had "dealt" with over the years and realizing at the time I hadn't.

For me ptsd was not one event or situation. It was an accumulation of things from childhood that primed me for an abusive first marriage. I do not blame my family or even my ex-husband. I take full responsibility for choices I made and for decisions I allowed. I had become accustomed and comfortable in taking responsibility for other people's choices and behavior, ignoring red flags in relationships, and pushing things under the rug.

After nine months of therapy my doctor referred me to another doctor who has helped me tremendously using EMDR. EMDR does not erase the memories or events from your mind, however it does reprocess those memories and events so that you are not affected by them as you once were.  

With the Lord's help and the wisdom and therapy of my doctor's, I have been on a journey that is filled with hope.  You see, I lived a life full of guilt, shame, and fear.  You might not have seen it on the outside because I was good at hiding it. I look back at myself and wonder how I managed to keep everything so controlled on the outside, but I if I look deeper into my heart and mind, I see it.  They (the guilt, shame, and fear) were constant companions to me.  

Even though I accepted Christ into my heart at fifteen I did not fully understand the Gospel nor accept all that Christ offers. I never struggled with "why me God",  my struggle was more like, I am so unworthy. I am unforgivable. I deserve all that has happened. If only, I was better. Why would God care about me?

It has been a process within the last fifteen years that I have started believing and accepting God's mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  I am worthy and so are you!  That is why the topic of HOPE resonates so deeply within my heart. As long as there is breathe there IS hope!

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  Hebrews 10:23

For an explanation of:
ptsd click here 
panic and anxiety click here
EMDR click here
To hear more about my story you can read my book A Scarlet Cord of Hope...My Journey Through Guilt, Shame, and Fear


  1. I truly understand how debilitating panic can be. I am proud of you for taking the time to look at the root of your anxiety. Thanks for sharing your hope-filled story!

  2. Sheryl, thanks for sharing your personal journey to wholeness and HOPE. I appreciate your transparency and vulnerability, Sister!

  3. Sheryl, like Jennifer, I understand panic anxiety. I've been there... Thank you for sharing so openly. I think many of us can relate to your real story. How beautiful that there is always hope!

  4. Sheryl, I can relate to your PTSD and painic attacks-and EMDR. Thank you for your courage to share.


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