You Are Never Alone
by Jannette Fuller
| PTSD: My Story Project #008
So much of my inner life has been stuck in a never-ending loop of examining my anxiety and fears. I was obsessed with solving the mystery of specific thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations that accompanied my distress. I believed if I could find the answers, I’d then be able to resolve my issues. At least the ones that caused me the most turmoil. But years of researching, and the numerous possibilities of why I was suffering, left me more frustrated and hopeless. The desire to be set free and healed became more of a dream than a reality. During my disappointment, however, God strengthened me with hope, perseverance, and courage. The invisible tools needed to continue my quest for wholeness. And I was never alone…
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand (Isaiah 41:10 NLT).
Still, my deep desire to experience the power of God had not ceased. I wanted Him to remove all my anxieties, fears, and phobias without the need for human intervention—I wanted a miracle—because the weight of my soul and physical wounds was too much to bear. And even though my petitions were not answered, I still encountered Him in a supernatural way. This occurrence took place in my late teens.
My friend invited me to a party, and before we left, she warned me not to take anything that would be offered. Meaning, illegal substances. I didn’t listen, though. So, my plans of having a ‘good time’ turned into a near-death experience. Although I had no intention of harming myself, I overdosed on drugs. It was the most foolish thing I’ve ever done! During this traumatic experience, my perceptions of life, myself, and God were drastically changed. Come to find out…I wasn’t invincible. Yet God reached out to me with mercy and grace, saving my life from physical death. (My eternal salvation followed many years later.) He truly is loving and compassionate, but not only to the sheep in His fold. But to those who have strayed, and to those who have yet to be found.
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 NLT).
I knew God was with me but still doubted Him, wondering why I wasn’t getting better. The internal suffering continued (as the anxieties and fears gained momentum), but so did my relationships and social life. After the drug overdose, I was never the same. I was terrified to be home alone, and I couldn’t be in public without a loved one at my side, fearing something bad would happen to me. This is where panic disorder, anticipatory anxiety, social anxiety, and agoraphobia took over my life. (I was scared and insecure all the time.) And because of this, my life became smaller and smaller over the years. No wonder I struggled with depression and loneliness too. That said, God continued to encourage me from the inside out.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:29-31 NLT).
As my hope increased to pursue wholeness, with God’s guidance, the more everything became clear. What I experienced at the party became the catalyst to living a life with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even though it caused me great distress, from the inside out, so did the mistreatment I endured throughout my life. In many ways, this created more damage to my overall wellbeing. The continual disrespect, being taken advantage of, the mocking, rejection, criticizing, and gaslighting conditioned me to a negative mindset. I expected the worse from life and others. Because of that, my thoughts and emotions gravitated more often toward hopelessness.
At least I wasn’t alone
I desired to see the goodness in life and humanity. But the amount of harm I suffered, including the intensity of them, made it difficult to do so. The wounds received from co-workers, neighbors, and strangers made it hard to deal with. And to heal from. Yet they didn’t compare to the ones that came from certain family members and so-called friends. The pain they caused was much harder to cope with. Let alone get over. At times, it seemed impossible. Which made me realize that if I couldn’t trust those who were closest to me… then I couldn’t trust anyone.
Although I continued to allow others into my life, and into my heart, the fears of expecting negative outcomes…tormented me. My safety and emotions were not the only things at risk—so were my self-worth and self-esteem. I felt inadequate and helpless when it came to defending myself from others. And during anxiety and panic, I couldn’t help myself either. That said, I was overpowered by the effects of the drug overdose and the actions of others. Again, I knew God was with me. I wasn’t alone, but I couldn’t understand why He allowed me to go through so many hardships.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33 NLT).
It all started to make perfect sense
Since the time I gave my life to Christ (at the age of twenty-two, then again at thirty years old), everything started to make sense. My struggles—the heartaches, insecurities, injustices, and traumas—were a combination of personal choices and behaviors. From the behaviors and actions of others as well. Aside from that, the schemes of the devil also played a major part in my inner and outer battles. His mission was to discourage, deceive, and confuse me. To steal, destroy, and kill me: spiritually, soulishly, and physically.
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10 NLT). And he wanted to do the same to my relationships, my calling, and to all that God has purposed for me. Though he won a lot of those battles, he didn’t win the war. And he never will. No matter how many times the devil, and my earthly enemies, have attacked me—stolen from me, harmed me, and caused destruction—God always wins. But there’s more. He also gives me victory and makes all things work for my good.
Do not gloat over me, my enemies!
For though I fall, I will rise again.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light (Micah 7:8 NLT).
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28 NLT).
Despite the years of invisible scars—the anxiousness and fears I still contend with—God never ceases from preserving my life. He continues to infuse me with hope, trust, and perseverance. Joy and thankfulness too. The prayers, research, and answers I’ve accumulated over twenty-some years have given me an abundance of explanations concerning panic disorder, anticipatory anxiety, and agoraphobia. (Along with the other issues that have impacted my life as well.)
Everything is possible
I’m so grateful for the people and resources God has guided me to throughout my healing journey: the psychologists, videos, webinars, blog posts, books…that have helped me to manage the symptoms of my chronic and debilitating struggles. Even though the use of psychological tools (CBT, DBT, and other therapeutic modalities) helps me to self-regulate when the thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations become unmanageable, it’s God alone who helps me the most. His guidance, support, and strength fuel my faith in believing that ALL things are possible with Him.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26 NLT).
“I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NLT).
You are not alone
It also concludes the PTSD: My Story Project. Thank you, Katy, for allowing me to share my struggles with PTSD and complex PTSD on Journeyofsmiley blog. And to the reader, I hope my testimony brings you comfort, and reassurance, knowing that you’re not alone in your struggles. Whatever they may be. I also hope that God’s unconditional, perfect, and eternal LOVE will soothe and heal your wounds. Seen and unseen. Along with His LOVE wrapping around you like the best-weighted blanket ever.
He heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their wounds (Psalm 147:3 NLT).
His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you. You can run under his covering of majesty and hide. His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm (Psalm 91:4 TPT).
Know, that you are never alone.
If Jannette had wings, she’d sprinkle lovingkindness over everyone she comes across. Since that’s not the case, however, she uses her words to reach others through blogging and fictional narratives, hoping to uplift those in need. Because she knows all too well about living with various soul wounds due to life’s hardships and trauma. Personal choices included. You can check out her work here, Jannette Fuller.
Although acceptance, letting go, and coping can be difficult, seemingly impossible at times, God continues to strengthen Jannette to manage her own struggles with anticipatory anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. Her physical health too. Whether or not she overcomes all her issues, she remains grateful for her progress—her journey to healing, one day at a time. You can find Jannette also on IG or Pinterest.
Read some more real-life stories from trauma survivors here: ‘PTSD: My Story Project‘.
Do you have experience with PTSD, or do you take care of / live with someone who has? Would you like to share your story in a guest blog post?
I’m not an expert or a health professional, so the aim of this project isn’t to offer professional advice. Neither is it to pity those who experience PTSD. That’s not what I want. My aim is to raise awareness of PTSD. By sharing your story, you can inspire and empower others. You can highlight the methods that helped you. This way, you can encourage others to reach out for help.
And it may help you as well. Perhaps it’s something you feel like you’re not able to talk about within your closest circle and would like to connect with others in a similar situation. It’s nothing more than bearing an untold story inside you. The fact is that our society still lacks an understanding of mental health. Therefore, I’ve decided to share my story and invite others to join me in this project and write a blog post about their experience. By working together, we can help destigmatise mental health problems and promote wellbeing.
To be featured
If you would like to join in and share your story on my blog but don’t have the experience of writing a blog post, this isn’t a problem. You can still contact me, and I’d be happy to assist you with the writing. And you can use a pseudonym if you wish to stay anonymous. You can share as much of your story as you want in a way you feel comfortable with.
The only thing I ask is that you mention ‘PTSD: My story project’ in your post and briefly state why you have chosen to take part in it. You will be allowed to approve the post before publishing it, should it be edited.Follow Journeyofsmiley on WordPress.com