He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3, NIV
Justin always had “gaps” in the memories of his childhood. He didn’t think it was unusual until his son turned four years old. Suddenly, he began having flashbacks to being abused as a child.
He was terrified of these memories that would surface at random moments during the day. One evening, he was waiting to board the subway when a flashback began playing in his mind. He stood rooted to the spot in terror.
After that, Justin was afraid to leave the house. He worried that if he did, the memories would start again. Fortunately, Justin’s wife recognized that her husband needed professional help. She called a local counselor who specialized in dealing with agoraphobia.
Agoraphobia is usually triggered by a panic attack. When someone has a panic attack, they fear it will happen again. For some people, that means they avoid the place where they had the first attack. For others, they fear that just leaving their home might trigger a second attack.
Often (but not always), panic disorders are the result of trauma. This might be trauma that occurred years ago (like in Justin’s case), or it might involve a recent trauma (like surviving a serious car accident).
God can use mental health counselors and other professionals to heal you or your loved one from trauma. It can take a few months to see results, and some people may need daily medication to manage their panic disorder.
Lord, I need help. I feel like there’s a weight on my chest and I can’t breathe. This pain feels all-encompassing. Please give me peace, let me experience the comfort of Your presence. Send others to walk with me through this difficult season in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.