I had not had a panic attack in over 10 years. When I was a teenager I had them with pretty regular frequency. While lying in bed at night, trying to sleep, my mind would start to get scared then my whole body would tense up, I'd cry uncontrollably and the frozen feelings of fear, sadness, and panic would keep me in the same spot for...who knows how long.
At that point I didn't know what they were called. I just felt when they were coming. Always at night. They also made me feel some self-hatred too. After it would pass I would just lay there trying to breathe normally and fall asleep again.
After I married Jordan I saw a homeopathic doctor that help rid me of my anxiety medication. I was feeling so good and so ready to be done with the medication that I went off of it. Apparently I was too quick about it because I had three days of crying, panic, shaking, nervousness, and upset. Jordan worked from home and so he cared for me for three days. His new wife of 6 months. He didn't know what to do. So, he held me. He let me cry for a long time. He made food for me. He was just there.
After that hell of a weekend, they stopped. I mean quite literally, stopped. Anxiety was gone. Everything.
Fast-forward about 10 years and I was laying in bed, in the dark. I had just read some scriptures that really made me feel low as a woman. And I felt the panic coming on. I knew what was coming. But this time, I knew why it was coming. I brought it on because I was ready to face this horribly dark place I had been avoiding: "God doesn't care about me as a woman." Horribly. Dark.
I felt the tensing. I was tensing because I didn't want to feel it. So, I let go. I decided to sob, breathe erratically, sink into and allow all the horrible thoughts to come up. Jordan woke up, of course. He rubbed my back, listed to me try to explain the thoughts and feelings that were coming up. When I was finished, he held me. I fell asleep exhausted.
That was the beginning of the end of some major changes in my life. I sank into it. I allowed my dark feelings to come to the surface. I named them. "Unworthy. Useless. Property." Instead of trying to keep them shoved down deep, I felt them and cried. I cried at different times for months. Instead of not wanting to feel, I named the feelings. I burned letters, I offered forgiveness.
Sinking into the panic was different than just experiencing it. The story of the Goddess Inanna, which I learned after the panic attack happened explains it better than any metaphor I could try to come up with.
Inanna ruled above. She willingly descended into the underworld, where her sister Ereshkigal was the ruling queen. Inana was killed by Ereshkigal and hung on a wooden post for three days. Two messengers from above came looking for her three days later and were allowed to take her home. Ereshkigal wasn't overpowered, or killed in order for Inanna to be released. When they took her home, she came back to life. She now rules again in the heavens. She didn't fight her sister afterwards. She allowed the darkness to exist without fearing it. She went through the darkness of death, and with new understanding was reborn into an even better version of herself for passing through that darkness.
"Our willingness to face the dark is the key to our own development. What we're afraid is actually the treasure at the center of our being, the female source energy from which we have so long been severed." (Vicki Noble, Shakti Woman)
I sat in the darkness underneath the panic for months. I cried a lot. I named a lot of things that were under the surface that I had not wanted to face because I was fearful.
Because I do energy work, over the last year I've been releasing these untrue things (and so many other negative energetic things). I've been purging my insides to let go, find relief, and release. Some emotions cleared quickly while some have had so many layers. But, I'm mending. In some ways I am already mended. I am marching on now knowing that I can face what felt like hell (to me), look at it, and release the untrue parts. Sinking into my own personal darkness is transforming me.
If you'd like to start being more mindful about your life and learn the basics to energy work and moving energy using visualizing, check out my class. If you'd like to become my client, click here to learn about my policies and find out how to contact me.
I am not advocating for everyone to just sink into panic attacks. Please find professional help if you feel that's what you need. My heart is with yours.