Putting a Face to Panic – Surviving Anxiety Disorder

When I started my recovery program in June 2002, I could not imagine a life free from Panic Disorder and Anxiety. Now I am grateful to be living that life.

For 30 years of my life, I was hosted to sometimes-daily Panic Attacks. I was plagued by fears of dying from a heart attack, stroke or something equally fatal. I lost count of how many times a day I checked my pulse. Calling 911 was my lifeline and the Paramedics were regular visitors to my home.

Functioning from day to day and continuing to work was difficult at times. When a Panic Attack started, I would go to the restroom or to my car and ride out the episode, head back to work and try to get through the day. At times, I just could not accept and had to go home.

It is difficult to describe the dynamics of what I was experiencing prior to working with the women who brought me into recovery and keep me in recovery. It was different from a Panic Attack. I can best describe it as feeling out of body, feeling completely ungrounded. Feeling like, at any moment, I would turn to dust and blow off the face of the planet. I would find a quiet place and sit very still waiting for the feeling to pass. I would visualize my skin having a zipper so I could probably slip out of it and pray the emotional pain would go away.

By divine intervention, I was blessed to meet and work with three female practitioners who believed I could achieve and maintain mental wellness even when I did not believe it was possible. They explained to me that it was not just about ending the Panic Attacks but also about re-mapping my life; who I would be when I was free from Panic. We needed to reprogram thirty years of old panicked thoughts and behaviors.

My initial recovery protocol consulted of seeing my practitioners once a week for 10 weeks … Mental Wellness Boot Camp as I now refer to it. My friend who practices spiritual healing used Hypnotherapy. It worked quickly to eliminate the frequent attacks. The session took me to the origins of the attacks and we reprogrammed the emotions attached to past events. My primary practitioner, a healing intuitive who uses Radiance healing, generally helped me understand that Panic Attacks were not fatal and helped stopped the fear that sometimes it was really a heart attack … this time. My therapist provided me with tools and techniques that I used everyday to continue chipping away at the negative thought patterns that usually accompaniment Panic and Anxiety Disorder. My recovery process has been a body, mind, spirit practice.

Positive affirmations are a daily ritual to keep me focused. Nutrition and vitamin supplement help replenish what anxiety can deplete from the body. Knowing I have support and encouragement from my practitioners should difficult times arise … and they have … helps keep me grounded, focused and constantly believing I can maintain a life free from Panic and Anxiety.

My recovery program has been a long road. Sometimes the work has been fun and challenging. Sometimes I have gone kicking and screaming but went because I believed all of this would pay off in the long run … and it has.

Quoting Joel Osteen, he said "God helps you turn your mess into a message." I'm turning what I viewed as a mess into a message.

My life is better than I ever could have imagined. By sharing my story, I offer hope and encouragement to those living with a mental health disorder believe … Recovery is possible.