When Anxiety Happens

Several mothers in conversations at last week’s Walk to Remember in Houston told me that some of the most comfort they found was in the posts where I was real about the broken stuff. It is why I try to not hide behind facades…and why I try to be open about struggles, even though that’s often misunderstood or judged by some. But, it’s in the realness others are encouraged.

I’ve never been a person prone to panic attacks. The idea of loss of control is abhorrent to me…well for myself. I’m quite gracious and understanding if someone else feels a loss of control. But, apparently I don’t afford myself the same grace.

After my mother died, having suffered more than I ever thought was possible for a human being to suffer, I felt differently about health issues or visiting the doctor. I developed a strong aversion and outright fear of any medical intervention or concern. The depth of this fear was realized when I had a migraine that landed me in the emergency room, disoriented from effects of medication on a trip home from a visit to our NE Ohio branch to offer trainings a couple years ago.

I stood beside the bed asking why my hands and feet were numb, refusing to lay down in the bed.

“You’re having a panic attack ma’am.”

“I don’t have panic attacks,” I protested vehemently, “I take care of other people. I don’t lose control.”

But, the lack of control was quite evident as panic literally gripped my body, squeezing my heart, stealing the air from my lungs, making my legs and arms feel like jello covered weights hanging from me. Five hundred anxious thoughts raced through my brain and I could barely pick out just one…enough to discern through the tangled mess of my brain to write a text to my husband to come and get me.

Later, we found out I was having a reaction to some of the migraine medicine I was given, which caused serotonin toxicity, a condition triggering unreasonably high anxiety and irritability. The loss of control for me was incredibly traumatic. And I’ve been hesitant to see a doctor for much of anything since that fateful Emergency Room experience. The entire ordeal…and the intense fear of being out of control of my body and mind, mixed with the stark reality of my own mortality caused me to make some changes in my own Healthcare regimen…and part of that included limiting any medical interventions.

Which brings us to yesterday.

When I….a woman who has birthed five babies and buried three, who has been poked and prodded…scarred from IVs and shots, had a couple surgeries, had needles placed in her uterus, stands in birthing rooms, holding the hands of mothers while amniotic fluid splashes and birth happens without missing a beat, a woman who calmly and gently cares for tiny babies…sometimes in various stages of broken and sees only their beauty…stares death in the face again and again, standing in the place where heaven meets earth again and again…

I had a panic attack. At the dentist. Tears streamed down my face as I tried to hide my racing heartbeat, the tightness of my chest, the rapid breathing, the legs and arms turning to utter jello. Embarrassed by the image of my forty year old self crying silently, unable to keep the tears from falling while in the dentist chair, I heard myself apologize, while making every effort to keep my breathing steady and my voice calm.

“I’m having a bit of anxiety. This is so embarrassing.”

They tried to explain the procedure, thinking I was afraid of the minor dental procedure. As a teenager I had 8 teeth pulled to make room for braces, and my wisdom teeth. Without missing a beat. I’m not afraid of the dentist.

Yet, the tears fell, as I willed myself to remain in the chair. Reminding me…that deep inside, there are still some broken places. Places that don’t listen to reason. Places that know how fragile life is, how we are not exempt from suffering this side of heaven, places that fear any medical procedure or lack of control.

It is something so misunderstood. Something I will admit I once perceived as weakness, at least in myself. Anxiety. Panic attacks. I choose to pray through mine. And use other natural remedies, like essential oils. I think of scripture that offers solid truth that’s unchanging when fear grips me….taking those thoughts captive as the bible instructs. But, in my human flesh, I can’t control my body’s fight or flight response.

I just want to speak to the stigma for a moment. Anxiety is a very real thing. It’s an intense battle in the mind. And having that battle doesn’t make a person weak or inept or unable to perform well. I am typically calm in many trauma-induced situations, entering into raw grief with others on an almost daily basis. My triggers are when my own health is somehow compromised and I fear medical interventions that affect me in ways I can’t control. I think anxiety is often trigger specific for people. And, at other times it can come over you without provocation. This post isn’t meant to be an in-depth research on the subject.

I just want to share one of my personal broken places…to say that being a bit broken doesn’t mean we are weak or less capable. Loss and trauma can leave a person susceptible to anxiety and post traumatic stress responses. Speaking it aloud can often help us understand one another as we all walk together with our own broken places, open and vulnerable…and real.

Real is my favorite…even in the broken.

SGM Day of Remembrance and Hope 2015


SGM Day of Remembrance and Hope 2015
October 10, 2015
9:00am to Noon
Deshler Elementary School
221 E. Maple St.
Deshler, Ohio 43516

REGISTRATION FORM BELOW…please register to include your baby’s name whether attending in person or in spirit.
Information about registering whether you are attending in person or from afar to have a candle lit in your baby’s memory as well as how to submit a photo is found in the last few paragraphs of this section. :)

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. If you have lost a baby or child an any age, you’re invited to join us for a day of Remembrance and Hope on Saturday, October 10, 2015.

We wanted the day to be filled with not just remembrance, but hope and celebration of the lives of our babies. So, we are planning some special activities that are family friendly as well as some activities that are quieter for parents/grandparents, etc.

You can still have your baby’s name included and take part from a distance even if you are not local. Last year we read over 745 names and lit at least that many candles to honor babies around the world. Information about how you can register for the event…whether locally or from a distance can be found at the bottom of this information.


8:45 check-in
9am to 10am Booth activities
in the cafeteria

There will be a special photo booth. You’re encouraged to bring a memorial item, Comfort Bear, etc…something that represents your baby to take a family picture, compliments of SGM.

There will be a cupcake decorating booth to create a cupcake in celebration of your baby.

A Flying Wish Paper booth where you can write a letter, wish, or prayer on paper sent up to heaven.

A Comfort Bear Stuffing Booth

And, a card-making booth to write a special note to go in a Dreams of You package for another family walking through loss.

Balloon Release
(We will be using biodegradeable balloons without strings to be environmentally friendly)

10:20 – Noon
Children will join SGM Support Companion, Emily Smiddy for a movie, story, and activities while adults will go to the auditorium for the duration of the service

We ask that parents not bring children to the auditorium for this portion of the festivities.

10:20- Noon
In the auditorium we will listen to a speaker, light candles for remembrance, watch a special slideshow honoring all the babies submitted with pictures of families with Comfort Bears, pictures and names of babies, etc.

This year we will also have a special HOPE CIRCLE where families will have an opportunity to share their stories and talk together.


This is going to be such a special day, and we would love to have you join us in person if you’re able. If you cannot make it in person, you can still join in from afar. You can email a picture of your family with your Comfort Bear or another memorial item, or a picture of your baby to be included in our slideshow to: sufficientgraceministries@gmail.com.

You can also fill out the registration form below to have your baby’s name included on the slideshow and to have a candle lit in his/her memory. We will not be reading all the names this year, but we will include them on the candles and they will appear on the slideshow.

Join the Facebook Event Page for updates and to view and post photos!

Register on the form below:

When You Can’t Hide Your Mess


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Celebrating Every Moment ~ Scarlett & Vivienne

Amanda feet

I listened to her message on the way home from a vacation in the mountains. When I called her back, she didn’t answer. I left a message. And, called again a few days later. Because I know the courage it took for her to pick up that phone and make the call to ask for [...]

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