Fear now controlled me.
While I had always tended to be a cautious and fearful person – in fact, some of my first words were, “I scared!” – I still would not have said I was controlled by fear. Now I was.
I was no longer just scared of normal things like snakes, robbers, and the dark. I was scared of everything. I did not want to be home alone during the day. I didn’t even want to be alone in my own room unless someone was just outside the door. At one time, I would have eagerly jumped in the car to run an errand or go shopping with a friend. Now I did not sit in a car unless there were no other options.
I did not like what was happening to me, but I couldn’t seem to stop it. I was reading my Bible every day with a new appreciation and dedication. I was praying almost all the time. I was memorizing verse after verse on the topic of fear. And still, I was not getting better. My family did not know what to do with me and I didn’t know what to do with myself! The frustration of my family and my own guilt over not being able to “get better” only fed the raging fear monster and I just continued to sink lower into a pit of darkness.
Sometime in late January or early February my Mom insisted that I go see a Christian counselor at our local Bible college. The thought of this was utterly embarrassing to me and I did my best to try and talk her out of the idea. But it was useless, and I soon found myself sitting across from the head counseling professor. He listened to me and verified that the things I was struggling with were real and normal and also identified that I was suffering from panic attacks. This helped my parents understand that I wasn’t just being “emotional” or making things up and that in turn caused them to be more understanding in my worst moments when I couldn’t even make sense of what I was feeling. They also made my brothers stop teasing me which helped relieve some of the pressure to “just get over this”.
Over the next few weeks the counselor continued to work with me, reminding me each session that God was in control. I agreed and believed that, but it also made me question why He had allowed the accident to happen in the first place. Meanwhile, as I was doubting God would ever help me overcome this fear, He was working in ways that I could not see nor would I understand for years to come.
On Friday night, March 30, 2001 I went to a conference that my counselor highly urged me to attend. It was there that God brought a guy, named Justin Hoffman, into my life.
In one weekend, my downward spiral began to plateau.
To be continued…