This is where I was: terrified to be on my own in the house, on a bus, in town, constantly looking for safe places I could run if I got really bad. My chest would become tight, I couldn’t feel my breath, my throat was closing in, and I had a strong sense that I was disappearing.
People with panic disorder, anxiety disorder, nervous dispositions, agoraphobia… the list goes on – experience sensations that are truly terrifying, overwhelming and feel like the most condensed version of fear. Sometimes when they describe their symptoms to someone who hasn’t directly experienced those feelings they can be faced with the feedback that they are nuts, its all in the mind or that they are weak or neurotic. I have felt embarrassed to have to ask for help, especially when, yet again, the symptoms are so intense that I feel like I’m dying. Being told ‘its all in the mind’ can increase the sense of fear, in that because the sensations are so physical, if its ‘mental’ then it also suggests that I’m going mad, and being out of control of my mind adds to the fear.
Today, I am so grateful to say that my anxiety disorder no longer runs my life. There are still times when I have panic attacks, but I now notice when the physical sensations start to arise, and by scanning through the 21 steps, I realign where I’ve come out of balance.
I’ve called this book Harvest Calm, as that is the image I’ve found useful to build a life where panic attacks don’t rule my life. To harvest something is to collect the benefits of planting the seeds and cultivating something that we want in our lives. By starting with little steps and slowly building whichever of these 21 good habits that feels right to us into our lives, the rewards that we harvest is the gentle vitality that builds our calm from within.
To be super clear, I went and had a thorough medical checkup on my heart and lungs to be sure that the symptoms I was experiencing weren’t a medical issue that needed attention. I strongly suggest that if you are experiencing chest pain, tightness, numbness, shortness of breath or any form of chest discomfort that you get it checked out. This is to rule out any underlying medical cause for your symptoms, and if there is nothing that can be treated medically, then it initiates you taking the reins of your health back and working towards clearing the anxiety.
If you’d like to have a read of the book I wrote about what helped me out, there’s a link on the main Harvest Calm page. Harvest Calm can be treated as a 21 day course, each day there is something new to focus on and engage with. Any one of the following 21 aspects to living a good life may be the key to unlocking the pathway to freedom from the prison of anxiety.
Each one of these 21 steps can be treated as something that builds over time. As they become part of our automatic habits then the layers of old habits can be pealed away allowing us to rest in our true peaceful nature.