Yesterday a memory from 2 years ago appeared on my Facebook page. It was a prayer I had prayed often, but that particular night must have been especially difficult because I posted it in the moment, both as a cry for help and as a declaration of faith.
“Dear Lord…I’m so very tired, bone weary. Please make the nightmares stop. ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me….’ “
I’m sharing this memory in order to also share with you a victory. I so clearly remember the place of desperation out of which I prayed this prayer, what now seems like another lifetime ago. It was a place of complete exhaustion from the lack of sleep due to the nightmares that plagued me, causing me to wake up in the middle of a panic attack, unable to breathe, crying or screaming, trembling with fear in a cold sweat, unable to sleep again for hours… almost every… single… night. I had become terrified to go to sleep. Sometimes the sleep meds helped, but most of the time they didn’t.
PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from trauma or abuse is a scary thing to face when your defenses are down and you are at your most vulnerable. For me it had turned a time that should be peaceful, safe and healing into a war zone, but I had only my bare hands and zero strength left to fight. I don’t know why they didn’t stop sooner, but I do know that as I continued to cry out to God for deliverance, slowly but surely the nightmares subsided. As I gained more strength and tools to recognize and combat triggers during my waking hours, the night hours became less frightening. Finally they stopped tormenting me altogether. The utter terror I had lived with for so long has faded away.
Recently, however, I had the opportunity to come face to face with some of my worst fears and was in the middle of a very intense situation for THREE HOURS. It was a place so chalk full of PTSD triggers and bad memories that I probably should have had severe nightmares for weeks. But I didn’t. I knew beyond all doubt that God was with me in and through that situation, that he had held my hand safely through all the nightmares that had gone before and would see me through this real life one too. And He did.
When I knew I would be going into that situation, immediately the old fears tried to grab hold of me. But I asked some dear friends to pray for me. They rallied around me to hold me up in prayer, to encourage me and to remind me of all the victories I’ve seen so far.
Not too long ago that circumstance would have drug me right back to the nightmare zone. But miraculously I didn’t experience one bit of anxiety, no panic attacks, no nightmares. And I realized something so beautiful. Those terrors no longer have any power over me and I am now the boss of my own emotions, not the other way around. I AM FREE!!!! Thank God, I am truly free!!!
I thank God every day for all those He’s brought into my life to help me along this journey of healing. And I pray for you too, my readers, that He would bring you the same and that this blog would be a place of encouragement and support for you along your own journey.
If you are struggling with nightmares, PTSD, depression or anxiety and you would like some personal encouragement, support or prayer, please email or message me or comment on this post and I would love to offer whatever help I can. I know the battle can seem never ending and that there are times when the fight is too hard. But keep putting one foot in front of the other and crying out to God to reveal Himself to you. Your healing will come!