“PANIC” by Emmy Joy Shepherd

Updated: Mar 23, 2019

I wish I could make sense of it. I try to fight the bubbling anxiety rising in my chest, it slowly turns into a brick that gets heavier and heavier until I can’t breathe. I lose control, I lose my breath, I start to sweat and shake and before I know it, I’ve lost control completely. I wonder if I could stop it. If I just thought hard enough, if I focused really well, maybe I can will myself to stop. I’ve been too afraid to try. Too afraid that I can stop it if I wanted to, but that I don’t because I’m not strong. Or maybe I’m afraid that I make it all up in my head for some reason I don’t know yet. Afterwards, I breathe deeply. I dig my fingernails into my hands, I don’t even notice I do it until I see the marks later. I’m exhausted, I try to keep my eyes open to make sense of it.

Even In all this, there’s this sense of inner peace that remains the same, I can’t explain it. Even when I can’t control anything, in the middle of my 3rd panic attack in rural Africa , it’s like that little ball of peace deep inside me is what helps me stay above water. I know it’s the Holy Spirit, it lives in me. It runs through my veins and pumps the blood to my heart. And with it, the peace. It’s a comforting feeling, to know I’m never alone even in my own body. I often feel the need to apologize for making my body and mind such a messy place to live. Full of darkness so dark I can’t see my hand right in front of my face. Full of fear, fear that sometimes swallows me whole. Fear that I’m not as special as I thought I was, fear that I’m not even close to being worthy of representing the love of Jesus. Fear that I’ll die having spent my whole life waiting to start living.

But I’m sure Jesus would just chuckle and touch my blushing cheek if I apologized for the chaos that runs through my veins. He’d call me his daughter, his beloved. He’d list off all of the wonderful and special things about me that He knew about before I was even an idea in anyone’s mind. He’d stroke my hair and spin me around and probably tell me to stop taking myself so seriously. To stop doubting, to stop mocking and picking at his beautiful creation.

He’d probably remind me of how strong I am, how I sell myself short and how every little quirk and quality that I deem as a mistake was meticulously crafted by him before anyone knew I existed. He’d tell me he doesn’t make mistakes, he makes miracles.