Struggles with Anxiety and Depression (Part 1)

I've always leaned more on the "worry wart" side of things. Growing up, ringing doorbells and running away with my friends, I remember being the one who was just a little "too" concerned about getting in trouble, always searching for justifiable excuses to not do something too crazy. A

Worrier

rather than a

Warrior

And my mom would probably agree that I got this honest from her, as she got it from her mom, and my grandma probably got it from her mom or someone else, and on down the good ole' family line...

However, I know for a fact, that something changed in me on my mission trip to Peru with a group of my friends from Clemson University. On our way home, in order to protect myself from a nauseated seven hour bus ride down the mountainside, to the city of Lima, I accidentally, (and I do mean accidentally), overdosed on some medicine, and I literally 'thought' I was going to die on the streets of a foreign country. I was terrified. And this experience left its mark on me.When I got back to the States, I would have these sudden moments of terror. They would come out of the nowhere! I thought I was having a heart attack every time. I thought I was losing my mind! I was breathing into paper bags. I thought I was going to die. I was afraid. I went to a local doctor. They checked my heart rate, blood pressure, and hooked me up with all of those fancy cords. I was come completely healthy. And that was when I first heard of "panic attacks." I remember the doctor, who was a member of the local church I grew up at, and when he told me,

"Zach, I know you're a Christian, and there is the option for medicine, but I know you, and I know your faith, and I understand if you'd like to try a different route with no medicine assistance."

Take medicine?? for anxiety?!? There's no way I'm taking medicine. Nope-not me! I trust the Lord and He will rescue me from this pit. I will not take medicine.

So, over the next few years, I would experience seasons of intense anxiety, where I knew I wasn't being myself; where I was making every decision based on self protection. (For example, if you were to look for me in one of my classes at Clemson, you could probably find me in the front row, in the chair closest to the Exit door. Not just because I couldn't see well from the back, but more importantly, in the case that fear came over me and I needed a quick exit.) These seasons of anxiety would never last long. The anxiety would rear its ugly head for a couple months, then it would go away, but it would always come back. Each time it came back, it seemed as if it was coming back with more its buddies. It was getting harder to handle...

Part 2 coming tomorrow