The Healing Trees (chapter 1)
I'm writing a book called "The Healing Trees" about a middle school girl who begins having panic attacks. I began this book last year, but got distracted with other things. With our current mental health crisis, however, God has brought it back to the forefront of my mind. 

I want to shed light on what's happening to our young people, and how we can help them get better. God has called us to care for others, not just our own families. We MUST help our children develop excellent mental health. Once we know better, we can do better. 

This is chapter 1. I will be posting 1 chapter every week until the book is done. Please share this blog with others who might find comfort in reading it.


Maya was startled awake by the sound of her alarm clock. 

6am. Time to get ready for school.

Her seventh grade year at Harmony Middle School was halfway over, but she was already ready for summer break.

Still tired and in a daze, she stumbled out of bed and headed to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror, she noticed more bags under her eyes. “Not again. I’m only 13. Why am I going through this?”

After getting dressed, Maya headed to the kitchen for breakfast. Her mom had oatmeal, hash browns, fruit, and orange juice waiting for her. 

“Are you okay, dear?” asked her mother. “I’m not sure”, said Maya. “I feel really tired and a little ‘off’. “Off?” questioned her mother. “I can’t explain it. I just feel weird. It may just be because I’m so tired.” “Okay, honey, let’s go ahead and eat, then, and I'll take you to school.”

After breakfast, Maya grabbed her backpack and headed for the car. Settling into the passenger seat, she threw her backpack in the backseat, leaned back, and closed her eyes. After what seemed like just a few minutes, Maya’s mom announced their arrival. Maya hugged her mom goodbye, grabbed her backpack, and stepped outside the car. Walking up the sidewalk to the high school building, she silently prayed for God to help her stay awake and stay focused. 

Maya’s first two classes went fairly well. She was able to somewhat pay attention in class, and thankfully, didn’t fall asleep. God was answering her prayer so far. At the sound of the bell signaling the end of second period, she grabbed her backpack from the back of her chair and headed for the door. She was halfway to her locker when she began to feel warm. “Maybe it’s just because I’m walking fast.” 

Maya slowed her pace, but her heart began to race and it felt like it was going to beat right out of her chest. Her breathing became increasingly difficult as her chest began to tighten. “WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME?!?” Her left arm went numb and started to tingle. She frantically tried to call out for someone to help her, but all she could manage was a squeak “Help!” as her body grew weak and her legs felt like jello. She slowly collapsed to the floor. 

Her best friend Lizzy noticed what was happening and called for help. Mrs. Thompson, a school para, came running, helped Maya up, and slowly walked her outside to a wooden bench nestled between two beautiful oak trees. 

Under the canopy of calming green leaves, she helped Maya sit down and begin to slow her breathing. 

“Deep breaths, Maya. Breathe in the smell of the trees through your nose. Breathe out slowly through your mouth.”
Maya took several breaths, but fear and dread began to overtake her once more as her chest tightened and her breath became shallow.

Mrs. Thompson noticed and encouraged Maya.

"Keep breathing slowly, Maya. No need to fear. God is with you, and he will help you overcome this. Breathe in His goodness. Breathe out the fear.” 

Maya took several deep breaths, following the advice Mrs. Thompson gave her. After a few moments, Maya began gaining her strength back. Able to speak again, she turned to Mrs. Thompson. “Thank you”, she said with tears in her eyes. “You’re very welcome, Maya”, Mrs. Thompson responded.

Feeling very concerned, Maya asked, “What just happened?”

 “I believe you experienced a panic attack.”

Maya looked surprised as she had never had a panic attack before. 

“What caused it? Will it happen again? I’m scared.” 

Mrs. Thompson reassured Maya that together, along with Maya’s mom, they would get to the bottom of it and that she would be okay. Mrs. Thompson then asked Maya to come with her to her classroom while she called Maya’s mom to notify her of the incident. 

Ms. Bennett sounded very worried on the phone, and thanked Mrs. Thompson for helping her daughter. Mrs. Thompson had Ms. Bennett on speakerphone, and she, along with Maya, assured Maya’s mom that everything would be okay.


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