"...and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32b
A few weeks ago I announced I would be publishing my first book, Sacred Phoenix, later this year. With the publication date rapidly approaching my old friend, anxiety, decided to pay me a visit.
Two weekends ago I began having panic attacks like I have not experienced in many years. The anxiety was crippling, blurring the lines between reality and nightmare. Over a 36 hour period I had at least a dozen panic attacks, each one leaving me weaker and emptied of any drive or positive energy. At the same time I was also battling with a physical sickness which had taken my voice and left me largely unable to eat anything for nearly a week. These combined afflictions left me the kind of tired that sleep does not remedy.
The anxiety had been growing beneath the surface, unseen by my conscious mind until it manifested in this series of panic attacks. It was difficult to distinguish what was even triggering these attacks so I felt helpless as how to stop them. Now I have seen I was carrying so much fear of how my book would be received, fear of being seen, fear of my darkness being shown, fear of my words breaking the hearts of those I love...fear of speaking my truth.
While at the gym during this time I had a panic attack and ended up on the floor of one of my friends & mentors office. For hours I stayed there, crying and talking to her. I told her how I feel like a fraud in publishing the book now because I write about this darkness, and more so I write of how there is freedom to be found from it.
Yet, here I was under its spell once again. My mind was tortured, thinking "Maybe I have not healed enough to help others." Through speaking with her I realized this darkness I was again experiencing is exactly why I need to publish the book. The terrifying darkness I faced for those few days reminded me of the continuous darkness I had faced for years in my early twenties, the same darkness others are facing right now.
If this episode had hit me 5 years ago I would have turned to self-harm, pain pills, and isolation...back then the darkness made me feel powerlessly alone and disconnected from everything and everyone except the horrifying stories playing out in my mind. The darkness would have overtaken me just as it did all those years ago.
Instead, this time when it visited I turned to my friends, mentors, parents, sister, and God. Each one providing a different avenue of support. They listened to me, guided me, hugged me, encouraged me, and gave me a place to sleep and rest free of judgement. Most importantly, they allowed me to feel and express what I was experiencing, so I could heal. It is only because I have fought through the darkness before I know it is an illusion, even when everything in my mind tells me it is real. This is the truth I must share with others.
So, maybe I needed to experience this darkness again in order to see not only how far I have come, but also to be reminded of how desperately this message of hope needs to be shared with others.
We all have Light and dark within us. A voice of truth is of the light so when being used to expose the darkness it should be no surprise it causes a bit of a ruckus.
I have lived this story with these specific struggles for a purpose, and was given a voice to share it - So this book telling some of my journey in both the darkness and the light will be released on July 2nd. It is my greatest hope the truth contained within its pages brings light, healing, and freedom for someone. If my story can help one person, this journey will have all been worth it.