Growing up in an abusive, neglectful home, life became a roller coaster ride of trying to stay in the corner, hidden from everyone, all the while struggling to find a voice to tell someone that would listen how anxious, fearful and alone I felt even from the earliest age of 4 or 5 years old.
Being a quiet child helped and hindered me in many ways. Hiding became my nature from as early as I can remember as a child until adulthood. I did not believe that I was valuable, loveable, worthy or accepted because how could I be those things to someone else if I wasn’t any of them to my parents or siblings. Hiding not just physically but also socially emotionally and mentally grew and grew over time. All the while, my anxiety, fear and eventually being afraid to drive grew into an almost unbearable state of life. Thoughts of suicide prevailed and permeated my thoughts more and more through the years. The lack of love, support and encouragement from my parents and siblings eventually grew into another form of abuse because of the damaging words that were spoken about me to others as well as to me and my now family of 4. My parents continually called me “not well” and chose to speak badly of me to others within my own extended family. Life continued to spiral out of control and the loss of security, confidence and acceptance of me only worsened. I felt like I could not trust anyone; even myself. How could I trust myself when everyone believed I was “crazy” because of my anxiety and panic attacks? I must be just as crazy as they said; but then how was I able to be married for over 20 years, have two children, hold down a job and be an active member in my community? The two did not seem to line up in my own mind, but for some reason I continued to believe my parents and siblings: I MUST BE CRAZY BECAUSE I AM ANXIOUS AND FEARFUL..
The breaking point came for me after the loss of my grandmother to murder by the hands of my grandfather who then took his own life.
This was a game changer. I gave up on being happy. I gave up on living a life without anxiety, fear or now, agoraphobia. The agoraphobia became so unbearable that I could not even leave my home for a period of time. I tried to believe that I was safe, secure and that everything would be fine, but the fear and anxiety would overwhelm me and my thoughts, which would then lead me to just give up. I lost so much during this time. I lost peace, purpose, love, hope, joy, traveling, making memories with my family… On and on. The agoraphobia led me to eventually not travel away from my home town for over 12 years. This is such a sad statement. I and my family lost so much during this time frame in our lives. Not just due to the suicides/murder but also the tragic consequences of those losses in our own hearts, minds and souls. Suicide and murder changes families. It definitely is a tragedy that will forever be a part of our story, but through the journey that God has called me to walk, I am learning that the story does not have to stay a part of my present.
The anxiety, fear and agoraphobia led me to walk a path that limited me on many aspects of life. Through my journey out of fear, anxiety and agoraphobia, I am pushing myself to walk with God all the while learning to trust myself and that He will walk beside me even in the darkest, loneliest times.
Last year, after much prayer, preparedness and encouragement from many friends, my children and my husband, I sought a plan to make a trip to go visit my only living grandmother who is 95 years old. I also wanted to visit uncles, cousins and extended family that I had not seen in about 10 years. I did not have a clue as how I would make this 10 or 11 hour trip, but I knew it was something that I really felt the need to do for myself but also for those I loved. I wanted to make some memories, see family and have time away from our hometown.
We set out on our trip August 22nd 2012. We were gone for 5 days and had such a tremendous time visiting with family, shopping, going out to eat, and seeing parts of the state of Texas that we had never visited before. God was certainly with me during this trip. I cannot lie; I was anxious and nervous at times but I did not have a panic attack at all during the trip. I truly believe that God was with me through the process. I was able to enjoy the time with our youngest son, make some memories and see those I love..
God has a purpose for our journeys and for our brokenness. Without my struggles, loss and abusive childhood, I don’t believe that I would be the person I am today. Oh, I wish that I had never gone through any of those horrible things and I certainly wish I did not struggle at times with anxiety, but I am so, so thankful for the place I currently am in my life today. FREEDOM IS POSSIBLE..
Angie Webb lives in Texas with her husband of almost 30 years. Angie and Mike have been married since they were in high school. They have two grown sons and three grandchildren Angie loves to write on her blog at http;//angiewebb.wordpress.com. Angie also writes a monthly column for Heartbeat The Magazine at http://www.heartbeatthemagazine.com called Angie’s Insights. Angie also has a Facebook author page at: Joyful Journey by Angie Webb. Angie also has a twitter you connect with at Angiewebb65.