Ted recently shared publicly what has been going on within him. I personally hadn’t felt I should share details unless he wanted to himself. And I was shocked when he shared publicly but felt it was so profound in his journey too. Letting people in. Please read.
At the table of brokenness By Ted.
Opening scene: Sitting on the couch mindlessly looking through Facebook when all of the sudden this unexplainable feeling of terror hits. These are the last moments of what I have called life thus far. I took in a deep breath then slowly released it hoping to feel life come back to me. With closed eyes I tell myself “it’s going to be ok”. Jami looks over and asks, “Is it happening again?” I manage to get out a yes before I stand. I clasp my hands over my ears and close my eyes. Moments later I am crying in the shower wondering if this will ever end. Scene fades out…
I have always desired to get the most out of life. Even in my “darkest days” I have always dreamed of what was to come. Imaging a life in which my family and I are taking in all that our Creator has created. You could say that most of my life I have had my head in the clouds. Not out of touch with reality (though some may disagree and they may be right…. to some extent) but trying to follow that deep instinct in me that says “No!” to the status quo (I know I’m so original…. some may even say hipster).
This has been my daily existence that is until it happened.
A few months ago I was sitting in my cubicle at work (I work in a call center) and something weird began to happen. I felt some pain in my chest and realized that I was dying. MY whole body tingled and I knew that this must be the euphoric feeling that people feel before passing from this life into the next stage. As I worked with a customer on the phone to close a debit card I was slowly dying and trying to process that my last moments would be in a florescent filled room occupied by others doing the same as me, helping customers with their banking needs. As soon as the call ending I jumped up walked quickly (not to quickly because I didn’t want to cause a scene…I mean that would be embarrassing…right?) to my supervisor’s office and told him that I felt like I was going to pass out. I was to embarrassed to let him in on the fact that I knew I was dying.
An hour later I was at home with a doctors appointment to talk to the doctor about high blood pressure. That was the only conclusion that the EMTs could come up with. So off I went to see the doctor and they got me on meds and all was good.
Fast forward to around a month ago. It was another normal day at the office and again I was on the phone helping someone with their account when all of the sudden I felt a sharp pain in my chest. I knew that one of the valves of my heart had burst and I was bleeding out inside. I began to feel a chill and that euphoric feel that people experience before going into the light. The room began to get dark and my mind raced with fear and regret. I somehow kept myself composed finished the call and walk to my supervisors office and let them know that something is not right. Again the ambulance came and they checked everything they could but all seemed well. I was humiliated…especially since it was the same people who had seen me last time.
Obviously this warranted another doctors appointment. During that meeting the doctor said that she thinks I have anxiety. Honestly I didn’t really believer her but I went with it. She gave me some meds and said we would start there.
The scene I started with above happened moments ago. I have experienced that last moments of my life everyday since the second episode at work…sometimes multiple times in a day. That feeling of terror has been a looming reality that has haunted me. It doesn’t matter where I am or what is going on it just comes. It breaks into a moment like an intruder who is coming for nothing else except to pillage and destroy.
Now I have come to know that these moments are called Panic attacks. The word panic comes from the Greek god Pan. Pan was a terrifying presence. They say his voice terrified the hearts of men. Interestingly Pan is one of the few Greek gods who died. They say his death occurred during the life of Jesus. Pan has also been an inspiration for the images we see of the devil. Horns on head the torso of a man and hoof like feet. GK Chesterton suggested that the death of Pan (Mythology) made way for Theology.
Sorry I got side tracked…
In the midst of all this I have felt lost. I don’t mean a fleeting emotional twinge but a dark feeling of being disconnected. I have wondered what is the purpose of even dreaming? I feel that the lens I view life through has a large crack and the reflected light that comes back is distorted.
I know logically that this is not reality. My counselor said we are interconnected beings who are complex. We are spirit, mind, and body and there is not a simple fix but a wholistic healing (now I know some of you may think I am speaking some weird “new age” verbiage but don’t worry more than ever I am connected to the truth of Jesus). These panic attacks did not just arrive like an uninvited guest but have been lurking in the back ground for many years.
I am writing this know because I have realized something. I live most of my life in my head as we all do; however my head is filled with fear. Most of my life has been lived with fear. As a child I was terrified of things and insecure. I embraced a lifestyle of Anger and drugs. I felt some sense of power through it all. Even after I found Jesus this continued in different ways. I found ways of coping with the fear by chasing after different expression of my faith. However if I am honest deep down I was still that scared child repeating to myself that I am brave enough to get through another day.
As a 32 year old man I now admit I am scared. I am lost. I am lonely. I am…broken.
I believe this broken place, the truest sense of broken humanity is where Jesus will dine with me. At the dinner table of brokenness is where I can truly be found and place where my wild soul will come out and drink of the water that truly satisfies. This is my hope. I also realize that this dinner table has more than two chairs. The table is also set for others. There is space for friends, family, and any others who care to dine.
This is why I write this post (as scattered as it may be). This is an invitation. I know I need you. The ecclesiastical community where the salt and light can be found is where I want to be found, the place where life is shared and discovered together not just lived out in our minds. I don’t expect people to enter into my brokenness but I expect myself to share my real self with you. Here I go.
Jami here now. If you have struggled with similar things as he has shared here, please let me know what has worked for you. We have changed his diet and we are pursuing other ways to help (I can share those personally if you’re interested or have wisdom).
We have also pulled him from his job (he did give his work notice of course). Which I know sounds insane… I mean, we have 4 kids. I totally get it and that definitely weighs on us, but honestly I have watched him digress for weeks and this was the best decision.
Before these attacks began, we had begun to pursue working in ministry again. We felt God giving us abundantly clear direction for our family. We have actually been in the process of re-joining a ministry since April (sharing more on this soon!) So we had planned by August to into YWAM working with Business As Mission full time but these attacks have put this on hold for us.
We actually feel a component of this is spiritual. Not all, but definitely some. We feel, like he shared, isn’t all new for him… the panic is.
The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I’ve come that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10
I have had enough of the damn schemes of the enemy. We are saying no more and fighting however possible to find healing and peace for Ted and our family.
Please pray for our fam in this time? I was talking with a friend recently and she made a good point, this isn’t a “quick fix” thing.
It will take time. And it will need extra doses of peace and grace and strength in this time. But like Ted shared… we need people. Will you please be praying? Sending wisdom our way would be great too.
Thank you to all who’ve already walked along this with us/Ted and those just joining in now in reading this post now.