This one is up close and personal., here goes.... When I was 8 years old I experienced something that set my life on a path of fear, anxiety and panic attacks. Something that haunted me for a very long time. I recall such terrifying feelings taking over my entire being. That’s another story for another time.
It wasn’t until I was 18, flicking through a magazine and there it was, an article that finally shed light on what I had been experiencing for 10 years that had me live in a state of deep fear - an article that spoke of all of the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.
For a decade I had experienced panic attacks, I lived most days with a sense of dread, not knowing what was ‘wrong’ with me. Where most people love sunset for all the beauty it represents, I would be consumed with fear as the sun went down. As dusk would approach I would feel a fear come over me like a giant wave, the sun setting represented the time when the panic attacks would occur, night time - the time when the original trauma was experienced.
It didn’t stop there. Daily experiences would trigger the panic and the panic attacks began to occur more frequently with anything that I would associate with being out of my comfort zone. A sense of anything to fear, whether that be starting at a new school, being on my own, a school exam, being bullied (as I was) at school – at these times I was frozen with fear.
Everything would get distorted, my vision would blur, I would feel all of my colour drain, my heart would race like a locomotive at full stream, the pounding in my heart sometimes so intense it felt like it was going to explode. I would even black out but be fully conscious. I felt like I was being swallowed by darkness.
In those early years my parents did all they could do to comfort me through it not knowing what it was, meshed in with my inability to put words to the experience. I can now say confidently that I am grateful they didn’t take me to a doctor as back then I’m certain I would have ended up on some radical medication.
Whilst we are trying to live the life we believe we should… we are destined to live a life of tension.
Once I discovered what I was experiencing had a name I went in search of a solution. I had western medicine telling me the only way I could deal with this condition was being on anti-anxiety meds; one doctor telling me it would be for the rest of my life! I felt like I was a flawed human being. I would swing from feeling fearful and depressed… as I couldn’t see a way out. I would look to the external and anything that could distract or numb me from the darkness.
In my desperation I took the meds for a short time and found they made me feel worse, so I took myself off. I spent the majority of 10 years thinking that living with this ‘condition’ was my life.
Reading the article was the catalyst that began my search to find the solution. My last full blown panic attack was at the age of 35. It took 17 additional years and many desperate attempts to escape these terrifying experiences. Not to mention hiding the shame I felt from the world to finally come through the other side!
I now feel I know and understand anxiety and it’s cause. I understand that the event that triggered my terror had planted the seed of ‘danger’ and I was living in fear of the future, specifically nights. And my association to the future was tangled in a web of negative thoughts, associated feelings and limiting belief patterns that would just have me rewrite the story each day. I would feel lost and at the mercy of the storm, desperately searching for the compass and the way out.
If only I had known what I now know today. That said I am grateful for the experience, as strange as that may sound to some, as without it I would not be who I am today, and certainly not be able to guide others to heal.
Anxiety is not something that can be resolved with medicine. Medicine blankets the cause, it numbs who we are. Anxiety can be resolved by learning mindfulness, learning to be in the present moments with our thoughts. Recognizing the old patterns of thought going into the future and deliberately training the mind to be in the present, tracking them to tune them to a certain frequency and intention.
Anxiety sets a trigger in our physical being. Learning to be in your body, meditation, grounding practices and breath work, diet and exercise play a big part in the process. Learning to be true to self.
Sometimes we just have to die a little inside in order to be reborn. To rise again stronger and wiser.
Intentionally surround yourself with people who encourage you, remembering your environment is essential in your experience, as it will either create a sense of peace or tension. Be mindful and deliberate each and every day of the people, places and situations you experience knowing you have a choice to say no.
Medication comes at a cost! I recently watched this video and it frames a rather harsh reality of how this epidemic of anti-depressants is literally killing us; killing our sex drive and our natural desires. Helen Fisher did a TED talk on the following (paraphrased): 100 million anti-depressant’s are prescribed in the US each year. They are going generic. Serotonin rises, dopamine decreases. Dopamine is associated with romantic love , sex drive decreases and without orgasm we don’t produce the connection to produce the biology of the brain to fall in love. And a world without love is deadly place.
Watch Helen's TED talk - http://www.ted.com/talks/helen_fisher_tells_us_why_we_love_cheat
Western medicine is not the answer (although I realise it can be the only short term solution for one's survival and there are always exceptions). Through therapy I was able to understand what was at play and with my tenacious nature to find answers I gained many tools to help manage these experiences.
Alternative medicine, acupuncture, somatic practices, psychotherapy slowly but surely helped me tip the power. Coming to understand the brain and how fear plays were incredible gifts. I live FREE of these aspects and have done so now for over a decade, so the good news is, once you know how and have the tools and you do your inner-work you too can live free. Not just free from fear, anxiety and panic, but truly LIVE like never before,
A Paradigm Shift invitation
If you (or someone you know) are struggling with anxiety, panic or depression perhaps welcome these aspects as your soul’s cry to awaken, to realize who you truly are, to heal the parts that have shied away from living fully. Often we need to experience great challenge and adversity to come home to who we truly are, living in our Greatness – Alive, Present, Connected, Free!
Love & Greatness
PS - Please share this with anyone you know who could do with some insight as it can literally save someones life as it did mine on that day I read the article.
PSS - For those who follow me on social media, now you have insight into why I post some many photos of sunsets as it's the symbolism of my celebration of life.. ahhh....
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About the Author
Lara Wilson lives in Melbourne Australia. Her passion is to educate, inspire and empower you towards creating the life you love, in your GREATNESS. As a Warrior for Greatness, Lara shares insights as a speaker, writer, facilitator, trainer and change agent.