Alive, and Alive Again

Mental health and my response

by Joshua Hritz

Just a few days ago I had a neurological breakdown. Doctors admitted me to the hospital as my heart rate skyrocketed. The cardiologist was 99% sure that I had a condition called “Supraventricular Tachycardia” or better known as “SVT”. One day it was so intense, I thought the paramedics were going to have to shock me to stabilize my heart. They used emergency medicine that didn’t seem to work and then proceeded to rush me to the hospital with lights and sirens blaring. This time was different. I sat in the emergency room and simply begged the nurses to give me anxiety medicine. I recall hearing “code blue” on the intercom scarcely representing the code for someone’s heart that had just stopped. Another alert comes loud and clear, “Stroke alert! Stroke alert!” Sitting in the hospital was tormenting, but was it possible to have peace in such a dreadful moment? I even asked the doctor to put me to sleep after I was given special anxiety medicine, better known as “tranquillizers”. The terrible feelings overwhelmed me. It seemed impossible to have peace without medicine. It was a very serious moment. There is nothing technically wrong with my heart, but at times when you have a panic attack or are emotionally upset it can trigger a high heart rate or more dangerously an episode of “SVT”. What on earth should I do? I pondered on the thought. How do I get healed? Well, I ventured to see a Psychiatrist recently that prescribed me medicine for emergency situations, but is medicine where the healing really comes from or is it the Band-Aid on the problem?

In the United States and many other countries, we all share a fair sense of anxiety. We then go home, relax, and proceed to subconsciously leave the sick and dying to hospitals/hospice centers. It’s hard to take a sincere look at our own life to realize how transient it is; yet reality shows us the opposite: we’re here one day and gone the next. If we do proceed to talk about the reality of death in a society of comfort and pleasure, we’re likely to be remembered as barbaric and morbid. Death should be remembered (Psalms 90:12), but in the horizon of the world’s tragedies, it’s equally important to realign our focus. Look and see how special you are today; you’re hand picked to be alive in a broken and cruel world. There’s tremendous fear, suffering, and torment in the world right now that begs the question, what on earth are we going to do about it? Was I handpicked to suffer? Are nice things enough? Will we ever have true peace again? I was caught in earth’s tragedies and took upon the effects of death, but little did I realize, we are not valueless in the progression of earth’s suffering, we are filled with purpose nonetheless. Encourage someone today. So now that suffering and mental illness is increasing, how do we respond? 

There is a comforting Bible verse where Paul the Apostle goes on to translate the idea of suffering in the earth vs. the glory that is to come (heaven). Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (NASB, 1995). This is a reassuring scripture to believe and know that our suffering will not last forever, but the most promising scripture in the Bible that I think contains the cure to anxiety resides in 1 John 4. In this script, John writes about love and fear. He says, “perfect love casts out fear” and “there is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18, NASB, 1995). But if you take a closer look at the scripture before this, John scribes, “We have come to know and believe the love which God has for us… By this, love is perfected with us” (1 John 4:16–17, NASB, 1995). So if perfect love casts out fear and love is perfected in believing that God loves us, as long as we embed in our mind and hearts that God loves us, then we should assuredly be empowered to live without fear. Mental health is very surreal and at times reacts in a debilitating behavior, yet I know with this specific mindset that I can be healed. Realigning our focus to our creator is the most empowering thing in the world. Renewing my mind is the most important thing in the world. I am known and loved by God. Repeat it. I am known and loved by God. We’re in this fight together. Peace is here to stay.

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