One Sunday night in mid October of last year, I began to experience insomnia. On the third night of not being able to sleep, I began to experience extreme fear. Fear of loved ones dying, fear of waking up being all alone. Fear of my children, fear of the house we lived in, fear of people outside. It was so intense I began to not be able to breath. I got up and took my kids to school like usual. And drove to see a doctor. I knew something was not right. The doctor I saw just looked at me and said “you need some zoloft.” I was afraid of taking it. But I went ahead and tried it. It made me nauseous. It was too late, my body needed sleep and rest.
I have had anxiety attacks before, but never a full blown panic attack. I found myself laying on the shower floor, not wanting to live anylonger. The pain of all the sad things in the world was too intense. The fear of losing all those I loved one day, felt unbearable. I did not want to keep living feeling this strong. I closed my eyes and prayed for God to take this away. He did not, but he did send me a little angel, Tyrion. A small maltese mixed with a shih tzu. A fluffy ball of love. Love that licked. He licked the shower door intensely. Knowing something was wrong. Tyrion did not care that I was an emotional mess. I did not scare him, he would not run away. He would draw closer, close enough to lick the shower door. Close enough to make me feel unafraid for a few minutes and get my heart rate down.
As the next weeks continued to be extremely scary and intense. My family gathered around me, some amazing friends came to sit with me in the dark room. All this helped me feel not alone. But one of the most amazing and surprising things was how protective, loving and intune my little dog was with me. He never, and I mean never left my side. If I was throwing up in the bathroom. He would patiently wait outside the door, and scratch on the door if he was worried about me. At least that’s how I interpreted it. This canine sensed my emotions. This canine listened to my fears without any judgement. And this canine licked my tear stained face, with such a tenderness. That tenderness was saying, it’s ok, i love you, you are priceless.
With time, my fears lessened and my heart rate lowered enough for me to be able to get up and walk to the kitchen without almost passing out. I began to think about needing to go outside and get some fresh air. But that frightened me. Their would be people, cars, and a lot of unknown scenarios outside of my dark room. As I tried to convince myself that it would be ok, i started to feel panicky again. Then a lick, and another lick, and finally a adorable howl. It was Tyrion, asking for me to take him on a walk. As i looked into his eyes, it was as if he was saying to me “it’s ok, i’ll protect you, we need fresh air.” I could not muster up the strength on my own to walk down the street. But with my dog by my side I felt life, and love. I no longer felt pain and fear.
I am so grateful for my doggy and for his gift, as most dogs gift. The gift to show love without judgement, to show joy without expectation, and to lick when most needed. It was like he knew when my brain was going down a slippery slope. His licks would interrupt my fearful thoughts. And just for a moment I was not afraid. I felt love, acceptance and peace.
Part of my ongoing self care is to get plenty of time with dogs. And as a wise woman recently told me “you know dog spelled backwards is God.” So really I feel and know God was with me in my darkest hours. With me in my mind and soul, and literally with me as I looked into my puppy’s eyes. It’s amazing how God cares so much, even in our confusing times, God can use anything to show you his nearness. And Tyrion has been my angel and my anxiety meds, and my counselor. If you can’t breath, find a dog and look into it’s eyes. Put your hand on it’s belly and breathe with the loving creature.
Breathe in love
Breathe in acceptance
Breathe in peace
Breathe in hope
The dark night of the soul
does not last forever.
Especially when there is
A Fluffly Friend a tether.