Immediately, a voice inside of me said “NO. That isn’t my story.” My soul was speaking to me. It was forceful and I could hear it clear as day. I was literally at the tail end of my first major panic attack. I felt like I was DYING. I couldn't breathe, I was crying a cry I can't fully describe, as if everything was just pouring out of me, my entire body had been convulsing and my head felt like it may explode.
You see, I had been through a major trauma, a bombing. It was the largest traumatic event I'd experienced. The person speaking to me was someone with PTSD, so maybe that means she knew more than me on this subject? Maybe when she says I will have these severe attacks for life, she's right?
Everything inside of me said NO. That may be the story she (maybe unconsciously) was going to hold on to, but it was not going to be mine and I made decisions at that time that shaped where I am today.
I know how hard anxiety is. I had debilitating attacks for quite some time. I decided to not use medication. I wanted to feel and experience all of. I wanted to learn every sensation, so I could feel it coming, identify the triggers immediately and stop it before it could take hold. This method worked for ME. I did work with a psychologist who specialized in trauma/violence who also used mind/body connection techniques.
I combined therapy with many different energy healing modalities along with the process of allowing myself to feel my anxiety fully in the moments when it arose. I didn't push it away when it came. It was really fucking hard, but this combination of things worked for me . Medication may be the right option for some, but do not let anyone tell you that you must live with it forever. There are ways to go THROUGH it and PAST it. Of course, every individual and experience is different but I invite you to explore many healing modalities before assuming that you will always struggle.
The idea that you will always struggle is a false narrative and there is research to back it up. There is a program whose purpose is to help veterans with PTSD called the Headstrong Project. I remember reading an interview with their clinical director years ago where he made this point clear. When talking about PTSD and anxiety, he said, “It’s not weakness. It’s science. And it can be solved.”
Anxiety is unresolved trauma. Anxiety is an energy, and energies can be shifted.
For more than 1.5 years after the bombing, my leg would shake all the time, just like a jackhammer. I remember one particular day, sitting in my favorite coffee shop, shaking as usual.
The owner, an uncle figure to me, walked out of the back and said,
“I was thinking I could tape your legs to the chair and then your leg would stop shaking. But then, I figure your arms would shake and then I’d have to tape those too. Then your head may shake so it may be too much to tape your head down. But you know what I was thinking?”
“What?” I asked.
“That there’s something in there that is just trying to work it’s way out of you. So, you sit there and shake as much as you need. It will make it’s way out.”
“That’s exactly what I feel.” We smiled at each other as he went on his way.
I will tell you, I feel down to my every cell that this particular conversation nailed it. I knew it was an energy needing to be released.
I had absorbed a LOT of tough energy in that few minutes when the bombing happened and I continued to pick up more as I went along. I had a lot to release and that would take time.
During an energy healing session, I had what was similar to one of my panic attacks. I even passed out. When I woke, I felt a peace I hadn't felt in 20 months. I felt lighter, literally. I felt an overwhelming sense of calm. Over the coming weeks, this was tested. I was in situations where my leg would violently shake and I sat there with nothing. Others noticed and commented on it. I had become known as the “shaker” and here I was, completely still.
I went to a holiday party at a packed bar and I mean PACKED, where you could barely make your way through. I had barely been able to be in a busy place before this, running out feeling like I couldn't breathe every time tried. But, here in this bar, I stood in the center, people basically touching me on all sides, loud music and I was still and felt no anxiety at all.
Now, does this mean that I've never had anxiety again? NO. Of course, we can be triggered at times. But, I've never again had panic attacks like I did at that time. When I do have any feelings of anxiety, it's rare and mild.
I am honored to be able to share with you, the tools I have learned for this and other things that hold you back.