Friday, September 29, 2017

Dealing With Panic Attacks

Written By Don Shetterly

Years ago, when I went through Conversion Disorder, I struggled with moments that the doctors hardly understood, let alone had terminology for.  I remember having a "panic attack", as it was called at the time, and given a pamphlet to be taken home to read.

The only thing is the panic attack was a symptom of a much larger condition.  Up to that point, the doctors had only diagnosed me with Multiple Sclerosis, which was later found to be wrong.  I would not know for some time that the diagnoses were Conversion Disorder, depression, and anxiety.  The doctors kept these things from me in those days.

We were all focused on getting to the point I could walk again, as I was paralyzed at that point.  The goal was to get me integrated back into my regular daily routine and activities as quickly as I could, but I'm not sure anyone thought it was possible.

Noise From A Yard Sale...

When I got home from the hospital, I remember waking up that first morning.  I heard a lot of people outside my door. Peering through the window, I noticed what appeared to be a yard sale by my neighbors.

This would be considered a reasonable thing by most people but all of the sudden, I would find myself shaking, crying, and struggling to catch my breath.  I was scared beyond belief.  I tried to hide on my couch, but the people's noises and talking would not stop.  I had no idea what was going on with me.  I felt as if I was going to die.  I didn't know what to do.

Calling my doctor, he prescribed medication for me and then I made the bold gesture of trying to go out and make it to the pharmacy.  I made it about two blocks before my legs were shaking so much and my breathing was to the point I felt like I was going to pass out.  Driving a stick-shift pickup was not easy, and I managed just to turn around and go back home.

Nothing was calming down.  My breathing was way off and challenging.  I felt so full of despair.  I finally called a co-worker friend to get the prescription for me.  The medication helped, but it knocked me out for hours.

Anxiety Took Me Down...

There would be many more times I'd have to deal with anxiety, from venturing outside my house to trying to get back to work, to going inside a store.  Anxiety would hit me hard and take me down quickly.

I learned to go without stimulants like sugar, coffee, chocolate, soft drinks and anything that might kick my body up.  While that helped, it wasn't the cure - but it helped.  I had many sessions of therapy where we would work through the anxiety issues, but it seemed as if they were never-ending.

Another thing I did was to keep a small rock in my pocket wherever I went.  I learned that if I felt a panic attack coming on, I could reach in my pocket without anyone knowing and just grab ahold of the rock.  To me, it felt grounding and safe so that even when my life felt out of control, the rock helped bring me back.

Would I Make It...

Life was a struggle.  It was difficult.  Normal things to other people were difficult life-challenging issues to me.  In those days, I wondered if I would ever make it.  I wondered if I would get beyond this and back to a normal life.

I have since learned so much more about how to deal with anxiety.  Even at times when it gets the best of me, it is nowhere to the level of full-blown panic attacks that it once was.  I have done so much intense and deep healing work using Unified Therapy that the anxiety is a fraction of what it once was.

While the mind plays a starring role in a panic or anxiety attack, the body is what generates it.  This is the most helpful revelation that I have found in my healing.  Ignoring the physical presence of why it is coming up makes it harder to deal with anxiety.  Dealing with what the cells of the body remember is where freedom and liberation from a whole new level takes place.

I never was one to accept a condition I had or a label handed to me.  I fought those hard, and I still do.  I know that if I latch on to the condition I was given, I see myself as that issue, not as potential for healing.  I desire healing.

I've fought the odds against so much that I was not supposed to conquer.  Even to this day, I do not accept where I am.  I'm always striving to push forward to places that too many believe do not exist.  As I heal more and more, I am finding that there is so much hope and possibility.

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Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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