I wrote before of spending 28 days in a in-patient mental health facility, due to panic attacks and anxiety. I was not expecting to have to stay in a hospital, but the attacks were so severe that I could not work or function at all. I was so scared, not knowing what the experience was going to be, and being constantly watched was nerve-wracking. I don’t know if mental health professionals know that their ever-seeing eyes may contribute to people being uncomfortable around them.
I had no suicidal tendencies, so I could not understand why I could not close the door to my room, something that we take for granted in our homes. It has no meaning until you are forced to leave the door open for strangers to keep tabs on your behaviors around the clock. We were locked in a ward, so we did not have the freedom to leave when we thought we were fine.
I had a chemical imbalance in the brain from overloading my mind and body with too much work. I was in motion nearly 20 hours of every day, refusing to take the cues that told me that I needed to stop and rest my body, mind, and soul. My stress levels were so high that it took 28 days to find a combination of drugs to stop the panic attacks and take away feelings of anxiety.
In that time period, I gained 20 pounds, as the only thing we were free to do was eat, and, boy, there was every kind of comfort food one could desire. Cookies, candy, ice cream, potato chips, waffles, pancakes, and other fattening foods were available around the clock, and with me having a tendency to eat sweets when stressed out, I had a ball eating everything that did not eat me!
Today, I am careful to listen to my body. When I am too stressed, I can feel a heat in my body that warns me to stop and rest my body and mind. I also experience mild panic attacks. They let me know that it is time for me to let go of some problem and give it to God.
I have learned that if you do not pay attention to your body, it will continue to try to get you to let up, and when you don’t, the body and the mind will work together to basically save your life! It does not feel like that is what happening, but it really is a life-saving strategy.
I never want to find myself again in a place where others control my every move, ever watching and constantly seeing me. Today, I ask God to help me stay calm in difficult situations. I listen when that still small voice touches my spirit and reminds me to be still and know that He is God and that I am not alone.
I recognize that there are some things impossible for me to do all at once, and that I have to prioritize what is most important in life, and then let all the rest wait for their turn. It keeps my brain chemicals in balance, which, in turn, keeps my mind, soul, and body in balance. That keeps me free of the watching eyes!
This is written in response to a new challenge Kira’s Sunday Scribbles Challenge.