Many reading this may not have been on the journey with me last summer recounting the move to our current home at 1905 S. Dixie Hwy so I will give some backstory:
When I signed the lease for our current home, we were to move in the end of August when our lease at 319 Belvedere ended. My plan was to close the month of September giving us 30 days to set the store. For once I thought I would have time to do things and have a quality of life and not feel the pressure and stress of a short turn around. Grand opening date of October 1st sounded perfect.
August arrived and it became very clear the plan was not a reality and we would be lucky to get in by the end of September. In the middle of what at moments felt like a nightmare my body decided it needed to get my attention. On August 29th around 3:00 pm while I was driving back from Fort Lauderdale my chest started getting tight, legs felt heavy, my cheeks were tingling and my arms were tingling all the way to my finger tips. I am in good shape, my heart is strong and I was not having trouble breathing but something was wrong. My normal self pushes through but since I was getting ready to go by JFK hospital I decided it might be best to stop into the emergency room.
I love my primary care physician but if I have to see him more than my annual physical I feel like my body has failed me; going to the ER was a big deal for me. Long story short my doctor confirmed the next day what the ER doctor said - I had a panic attack. He told me tingling all the way to your fingertips is also hyperventilating. I was perplexed as the shoppe was closed that day and outside of an Internet business rep who “whipping me up” with her incompetence and texting me non-stop that day, everything was good. I surely couldn’t believe she could be the cause.
My doctor reminded me I had a lot going on and my body was telling me it was “overwhelmed”. Well that would be an understatement for sure but I still struggled with the diagnosis. During my 12 years in logistics overseeing store deliveries for portions of North America and 7 of those years being accountable for all North America for Gap, Banana, Old Navy and Outlet and having to deal with all kinds of weather, strikes, trucking company drama, I never once had any signs/symptoms of anxiety. If you were to ask people to describe me they would never use the word anxious. I’ve been in airports and been redirected during flight changes to go deal with a trucking company and never missed a beat.
My pride really wrestled with this and I challenged my doctor on did I really need to take the medicine he was prescribing and he said “yes”. Knowing me well he said I will see you back in 2 weeks when your medication runs out and we will go from there. The shortened time frame made me feel better (my fear was getting addicted to a drug).
What became clear is after the event on August 29th my body had found release and I started finding my chest getting tight, getting nauseas, waking up in sweats (not hot flashes) - I was having anxiety issues. I found myself spending more time in prayer and breathing deeply before I got out of bed as it was clear anxiety had found her voice, I needed the medicine.
This is a sampler I made with my grandmother years ago.
I told my team what was going on and laugh when I think about the girls bringing my phone to me wherever I was in the shoppe when the alarm went off to say it was time to take my pill and wait for me to take it. I am thankful for them. They didn’t think less of me for needing to take medication; deep down were thankful so I could operate at the highest level and lead them well.
For those part of the journey last summer and fall you know the shoppe had more downs than I care to recount. I actually needed to stay on medication through December.
Now here is the story within the story.
For years I had debated about getting a tattoo and just hadn’t felt the time was right or knew what I wanted. During Sisterhood (Bible Study) last fall we were studying Mary Kassian’s Knowing God By Name and my tattoo became clear.
Going through the journey of getting to our new home I had deemed the “one in a million” and truly feeling like every step I took was a battle and then the anxiety issue I knew my tattoo was going to be a name of God.
Deciding my tattoo needed to be a conversation piece, I chose to use Hebrew. I ended up choosing arrows as part of the tattoo reminding me I am always moving forward even when it feels like I am going backwards or sideways.
So what do my tattoos mean?
Far right: Yahweh Chelqui – The Lord is my portion. It is a reminder of God’s sufficiency in my life. He is my light, counselor, hope, helper, refuge, strength, comfort, peace, healer, keeper, deliverer, confidence and my life. He gives me everything I need (not want) because He is sufficient.
Far left: Yahweh Raah – The Lord is my shepherd. It reminds me I am under His care. As a shepherd He provides for every one of my needs and in Him I find rest and can rest.
Just as Moses gave the Children of Israel the Shema (Deuteronomy 6: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.) My tattoo would make it impossible for me to forget God’s sufficiency and provision in my life. Even if I forget, someone is always asking me about my tattoo.
So back to where this blog post started, the journey of the shoppe moving had more plot twists than I would have ever imagined. As always God provided and we opened, not the way I would have wanted but as a good friend said, a year from now it won’t matter, let it go. The event of August 29th in hindsight would be one I was grateful for as it helped me navigate reopening in our old space with folding tables, operating as a pop up shoppe in the Grato parking lot for 6 days and having 1 ½ days to transform our new home from nothing to opening.
I had my eyes set to Christmas Day where I could finally rest and reset for 2017. Little did I know my life had a big plot twist coming on Christmas Day………
Note regarding medication for anxiety: I am a big believer in your doctor is one of the few people who can help you determine what is best for you because he/she knows your medical history. There are so many root causes for anxiety and there is no one perfect solution and it isn’t something with an easy fix. I trust my doctor implicitly and he has closely monitored my prescription with no refills allowed without a visit to his office. Your medical professional is equipped to help determine what support you need to manage your anxiety.