The other day I had a full-blown panic attack. It’s been many, many years since I have had one. This one was strange and strangled me slowly rather than hitting me instantly like they used to. Once I started to entertain a fear about living in London and our decision to move here, all the other fears, like snakes hidden in the jungle of my mind slithered out, wrapping themselves tightly around me. Every irrational, half-formed, hazy and polluted thought about why not only would this not work, but about why I was a terrible person, why I was not good enough all came up for air. It was hideous.
I recovered so much faster than I used to, and this is the gift of a committed daily practice of Integrated meditation. Meditation doesn’t mean that life doesn’t affect you, instead, it’s that you recover so much more rapidly. David Allen, the Get Things Done guy, uses the analogy of meditation being like a leg rope. You surf through life, and it doesn’t mean you don’t fall off the wave, but the leg rope that ties you to your board means when you do fall, you are so close to the board, and to getting back up and paddling and continuing to surf. I like this a lot.
There was a sequence of things I also did that helped with recovery from the panic attack, after decades of anxiety and panic attacks, I have quite the toolbox these days. If you’re interested, I can share some of the steps I took. These are in the moment solutions, that meditation is not. They’re incredibly helpful, but nothing will help you more than a steady meditation practice if you suffer from anxiety, I promise you. Nonetheless, let me know if you wish to have some extra tools.
Written with compassion,