Panic attacks, chicken soup and learning to be kind. 5


My week went a little awry and worry laced its hinges. Last night I came up with the perfect solution for my worrisome heart; Chicken Soup. Chicken soup is for the soul, it heals, it calms and it soothes. Doesn’t it?

You see this time last week I was waking up from anaesthetic quite badly. Four surgeries in 5 months has had its toll and this last surgery knocked me for six. I struggled out of the forced sleep in the midst of a panic attack. I screamed for my person. The nurse ran to find my husband. I was deeply distraught and unsure of where my body had surfaced.

I haven’t had a panic attack in years, since the days when I burned the candles at both ends, whispering

“you can work one more hour, strive a little more, do a little more and then maybe they will be happy with me.”

So to have combated my striving self and learnt new ways of living a fully immersed life, it was a total shock to my system to feel fear and worry deep down in my bones. To struggle to breathe. To be ripped raw open with fear and to be found waiting in the grip of worry. It has taken me all week to find my safe place again and yesterday was the first day I left the house and my pjs all week.

As I stood in our kitchen, still raw from the surgery on my leg and my heart a little sore from the searing pain I felt in my soul, chicken soup, chicken soup, that was what I needed. As I brought my hot chicken soup to its finale in the blender, the lid popped off and splashed hot soup across my face. Cold water and a hurried call to my husband, I found myself splashing my face saying

“what else possibly could go wrong, how crazy does my season need to get, what a clutz, what if I have burnt my face, what, how, you, should have, why didn’t you, what were you thinking….”

My worries peaked at an all time high. My chicken soup solution had turned into my greatest foe.

And then a soft voice reminded me;

“You are okay.

You got this.

Your face isn’t going to fall off.

It’s just a mistake.

You’ve had a bad week, which doesn’t equal bad life.

Text a friend.

Deep breathe a prayer.

You are okay.

You’ve got this.

He’s got you.

He is good.

He is kind.

He brings all things together for good.”

One thing I have learnt in these few years of novice motherhood is to allow the kindness I extend to others, to be reciprocal. I am learning to change the way I speak to myself. I am learning to accept myself and I am becoming okay with my abnormal. My clumsy, sometimes loud, awkward self. My “chicken soup explosion” all over our newly painted kitchen self. My “I feel deeply afraid” sometimes self. My “overwhelmed” with worry, beautiful little self.

When I am kind to myself, then my worries fade into the background and encouragement surfaces in my foreground.

Philippians says it this way;

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

So here I am writing to you today, with peeling eye lids and a smile on my face. Thinking wow, that was one crazy week.

Next please,

Surely it can’t get any worse?


Amanda Viviers

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About Amanda

Amanda Viviers has published ten books and is a presenter on radio across New Zealand and Australia. She is also the co-founder of Kinwomen; a network created to inspire women to start conversations that matter. Head of Narrative for Compassion Australia, she is driven by a passion for social justice, she loves supporting projects for women in developing countries. Teaching women to live creative lives, beyond the circumstances, is something she pursues daily. Wife of Charl and Mum of Maximus and Liberty, she lives a creative life, longing to see people live inspired. Pinterest/ Twitter/ @Mandaviviers Instagram: @amandaviviers Facebook: @amandaviviersperth

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