Vanquishing Panic Attacks


Once you emerge from an unpleasant chapter in life, it is best to go your way and never look back–right?  After overcoming the demons, discovering an abundance you never dreamed you could have, and leaving the ghosts of those wasted, unhappy years so far behind you no longer see them anymore, why revisit them?  What good could that possibly do?  Sometimes, a lot of good.

I had endured 16 years of crippling and debilitating panic attacks that claimed almost half of my twenties and all of my thirties, attacks so severe they bordered on agoraphobia.  I would have gladly sequestered myself, except I had no one willing to support me.  I functioned, if you could call it that, in the shadows, restricting grocery runs to all-night stores in the wee hours when the stores stood largely empty, and only attending functions if I could find a seat near the door so I could beat a hasty retreat in the face of an oncoming attack.  I never dated.  I had no social life.  In fact, I had no life at all–just a pseudo-existence filled with loneliness and misery.  And no one understood.

Miraculously, I functioned well enough to hold a job as a computer programmer, tucked away in a protective cocoon hidden in the bowels of the corporate office.  I brought my own lunch and ate at my desk, arriving early and staying late to avoid as much traffic as possible.  I tried counseling, pills–nothing worked.  The counselors left me feeling worse, while the pills made me foggy and less functional than ever.

One night I was forced to leave early.  A road rage incident in rush hour traffic propelled me straight home and into my bedroom bent on committing suicide.  In that dark room, backed into a corner, I came to terms with how I’d been living.  God asked some pointed questions, not audibly, but through thoughts put into my mind.  I confessed my sin and gave my heart and life to Jesus Christ.  In the days that followed God began to move and the miracles began.  The chains fell away and for the first time in years I could breathe.  In June of 1992 the panic attacks were forever vanquished and my life restored.

3 Yellow Leaves Over Pond

After publishing BELLA I intended to start formatting a children’s book but for some reason felt compelled to revisit this chapter and to write the story of my journey out of darkness into light, out of bondage into perfect freedom with my sanity intact.  The story ends joyfully.  How can I NOT tell it?  And if it helps draw others to freedom and new life, it will have all been worth it.  Looking back, I don’t even consider it an ordeal anymore, but simply another leg of my life’s journey.

Today I start organizing my thoughts and notes for this amazing story.  As the book comes together, I will share on this blog.  Often what helps a suffering person most is access to someone who not only sympathizes, but can empathize with what they are enduring.  Hopefully, I can be that person.

© Everthedreamer, 2019 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given.


***In the first guest post to ever appear on #MillennialLifeCrisis, the following post was written by the talented Mathew from Blog of the Wolf Boy. “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch Becoming the Shepherd This thought […]

via Guest Post: Shepherd or Sheep — #MILLENNIALLIFECRISIS

What are you made of?

Cloud over Eden

No one likes adversity. I know I don’t. When storm clouds gather over my peaceful world I tend to pray for God’s divine winds to drive them away.  Yet nothing makes one appreciate the good in life nor reveals the true character more than fate tossing a monkey wrench into one’s well-ordered routine. Such a monkey wrench smacked me square in the teeth and gave me a profound respect that remains to this day for anyone suffering disability. Early in 2010 I noticed a nagging pain in my neck and right shoulder—not an uncommon thing for someone who spends most days staring at a computer screen. I sought the usual remedies: massage, therapeutic massage, chiropractic—even acupuncture. The pain only worsened. Over-the-counter remedies offered no relief. I began losing motion in my right arm and the pain from laying on it or positioning it wrong kept me awake. Any relief gained from whatever treatment I tried vanished by the time I got home. After a few months I had raw, burning pain that never stopped and I could no longer reach around behind me or lift my arm above my head. I went to a surgeon.

Severe degeneration in my neck had pinched a nerve. In December 2010 I underwent a cervical fusion to fuse my C3 through C7 vertebrae. The surgery went well, but the following morning I could not move my right arm. I had been told that this condition, called C5 palsy, sometimes occurred but usually passed with time. After days and then weeks passed with no improvement I became depressed. I told myself this nerve had been under tremendous pressure for months and simply needed time to heal. You really find out what you are made of during something like this and, sadly, I proved myself a pathetic wimp. What if that arm never came back? What I should have considered, however, was that my mind was still sharp; my dominant arm had taken a nap but the other still functioned; I could still walk; and, to a lot of people’s dismay, I could still talk. I was not disabled by any means! More important, I was blessed with a wonderfully supportive family who rallied around me. I especially appreciated my mother’s care, encouragement, and prayers. I had the care of an excellent doctor. Each day I did the exercises he gave me and tried to move my arm. Finally, one evening in late February I lifted my hand and forearm! I could bend the elbow! I couldn’t lift the elbow but that didn’t matter. My stricken limb was waking up. Five days later I raised the entire arm and after three months of physical therapy regained the full use of it.

I wish I could offer my experience as an inspiration, but I can’t. I was inconvenienced for a time but by God’s grace recovered. Had my arm remained nonfunctional I would have adjusted eventually. But would I have glorified God the way I did when He restored me? Would I have glorified Him at all? The truly inspiring people are those who, although permanently debilitated, not only adjust but surmount their obstacles and then reach out to others. I did some research and discovered the following: a survivor of a land mine who now helps craft artificial limbs; a man left a quadriplegic by muscular dystrophy who helps people with disabilities give back by organizing events where disabled volunteers put together care packages for needy children; a climber who, rendered a paraplegic after a fall, designed a machine that enabled, not only himself, but other paraplegics to continue their passion. I personally knew a man who, wracked by muscular dystrophy, spent his last years in a nursing home. George could turn his head and had almost imperceptible movement in the little finger of his left hand; otherwise, he was totally paralyzed. Yet who did the staff go to when they needed cheering up? George! He entertained everyone with jokes and stories but more important, testified of God’s love and goodness. These people faced inconceivable adversity but looked beyond themselves and extended hope, compassion, and purpose to others. They have bettered the world.

Have I the fortitude—and do I care enough—to do the same?

Ocean sunset 4

© Everthedreamer, 2019 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given

It’s Only After We’ve Lost Everything

Cristian Mihai

The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.

I know. Another one of those quotes that has been used and abused by people that it has become a cliche. But make no mistake: failure is inevitable, and the more you fail, the more you succeed.

I have lost time and time again. I have lost everything a couple of times, or so it felt to me. I have lost friends, family, all my money, my soulmate, my joy, my hope, my passion, my patience, my health…

Yes, it wasn’t much, but it was everything I had.

I have lost time and time again.

And this is why I keep going.

Quite strange, isn’t it?

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Bella Preview


Laughter and the chatter of happy sixth-graders enjoying a last class outing before summer vacation melded with the cries of circling sea birds and the waves slapping the shore lining Seattle’s Puget Sound. It was one of those warm clear days rarely seen in springtime Seattle, when sunbeams danced, unobstructed, on the Sound’s restless waters and Mt. Rainier, robed in glistening white, soared into a cloudless cerulean sky. Miss Pinkle and Miss Deveraux had pondered and planned the entire year to find the perfect activity for making the passage from the elementary grades to the higher levels a memorable milestone in these young peoples’ lives. Their pupils’ squeals of delight as they hunted the rocky shore for shells and the Sound’s other treasures told them they had indeed achieved their objective.

Several yards away a girl walked alone. The ruffled hem of her light-green skirt swished about her ankles as she searched the sand and rocks for something extraordinary. Bella Jacqueline Gaviano loved beautiful and extraordinary things. Likely Miss Pinkle would order her return; but sixty pairs of feet would trample anything Bella considered precious before she could get to it. Alone on this secluded stretch she could pick and choose as she pleased.

Even without turning she knew he was following. . .

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© Everthedreamer, 2019 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given.

Character Quotes from “The Windwilder Haunting”


“Well, that’s our mystery lady.  I’m just surprised that portrait survived the fire.”  Dorian Andress, volunteer coordinator.

“That lady knows something.  I’m going to request an interview and, like it or not, she’s going to talk to me.  Madelyn Springer

“You’ll have to get used to Philip Windwilder.  He’s–what shall we say–eccentric.”  Dorian Andress

“I…I saw a little girl.  Maybe the shadows were playing tricks on me but…I swear I saw…I tried to talk to her but she turned as if to run and just–vanished!”  Madelyn Springer

“Arleta Willoughby’s sole function is bedding the lord of the manor, and I understand she does that well and often.  Well, often anyway.”  Tess Carpenter, docent

“Oh-ho-ho.  John Edmonds?  You haven’t met his dark side.  That man has a temper and one of the foulest mouths I have ever heard in my life!  But then, so does Philip Windwilder.”  Tess Carpenter

“It was a long time ago.  I’m over her now and. . .well, life goes on.  Anyway, I wonder if I could interest you in, say, dinner or a movie sometime?”  John Edmonds, curator

“I’m getting sick of the crap Arleta is dishing out.  Speaking of which, it appears we’re under the scrutiny of the wicked witch herself.”  Tess Carpenter

“For the last time, John: No…damn…way!  I mean it!  This creeps me out like nothing ever has before.  I’m not just disappointed, John, I’m flat-out angry.  Angry and disgusted.”  Madelyn Springer

“That medium–Madame Corviere–was totally out of her mind.  They kept her in the hospital here overnight but Saturday she insisted on going home.  Sunday morning they found her in bed–dead.”  Riva Winston, historical society

“The last time I spoke with John, when we had the fight–he growled.  Like an animal.  It’s like he was possessed.”  Madelyn Springer

“Get out of there, Philip!  Edmonds set the house on fire!”  Madelyn Springer

“Something happened during that seance to everyone involved, especially Edmonds.  Dorian described him as flat-out frightening afterwards.”  Riva Winston

The Windwilder Haunting is available on in Kindle and paperback formats.

© Everthedreamer, 2019 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given.