Do you struggle with being a human and having to feel all of the emotions that come with living inside of your body?  Anxiety, depression, panic attacks?   I’d like to offer you a new perspective.  I had an experience recently that completely shifted my perspective on my anxiety.  I was at a networking event when I was jolted by a panic attack.  What happened was, I was in conversation with two women and the spotlight was turned on me, one of the women had mentioned that I came up in conversation at a previous meeting.  I immediately began having a physical reaction and I started to shake, I felt a shortness of breath and I felt like I had no control—it came on hard and it came on fast.

I think it’s important to speak to what’s in the space and for me at that moment, what was in the space was that I thought was having a panic attack.  I shared with the ladies that I was triggered and feeling a physical reaction.  One of the ladies quickly responded by escorting me out of the building to help me through what I was going through.  She had me take my shoes off to get grounded to the earth and she guided me through a meditation.  After a few minutes, I was able to feel more centered.

My twenty-year-old self would have been mortified and embarrassed.  I’m almost forty and I feel different, I felt myself as the observer of the experience.  Once we went back in, I expressed my gratitude with love and hugs and eventually the three of us circled back to have a conversation about what happened.  At the moment, I related the experience to possibly being linked to some PTSD (I experienced trauma at an early age and again later with the birth of my kids).

It wasn’t until the weekend that I received some pretty powerful “downloads” about what happened.   I believe we are all empaths, some of us maybe are better practiced than others but we all have the gift of tapping into our highest selves and listening to our inner guidance.

Upon reflection, my interpretation of the experience was that I was not having a panic attack but that I was ACTIVATED. Our words hold so much power and if we continue to perpetuate that our feelings are something that needs to be fixed, treated, changed, we don’t ever get to live a fully expressed version of our-self.

The meetings I attend for networking take place at a Country Club and are attended by a high caliber of powerful women.  I am out of my comfort zone every time I’m there. I continue to push myself out of that safe and comfortable spot in service of my growth.  I believe that we all feed off of each other’s energy and I believe what I went through was a direct reflection of the rooms buzzing energy.  The opportunity in that experience was a connection.  We have been conditioned to stifle our fear, anger, and sadness ESPECIALLY when it comes to business and especially as women.

I believe the first conversation we need to be having about mental illness, anxiety, and depression is what is really going on?  Labels have always been a source of contention for me.  I had my first “panic attack” at eighteen.  I can look back at that now and recognize that what was really going on, was that  I’d never dealt with the trauma of being sexually abused and my body was telling me it was time to take a look at how it was affecting me physically. That experience served me, the panic attack was nothing to fix or treat, it was simply a message from my highest self to take a look at my past.

Trying to fix ourselves out of fear, anger, anxiety, and depression is a slippery slope.  I have tried to take my own life and again, in hindsight, what was really going on was I needed to heal from my early childhood trauma.  I would just like to open the door for a deeper conversation around how anxiety and depression can actually serve us, how we should embrace all parts of the emotional spectrum instead of stifling them away.

Can we slow down a bit to stop judging our emotions as needing to be fixed or treated?  Can we begin to destigmatize fear, anxiety, depression, and mental illness by choosing our words more consciously?

I am so grateful that day I was “activated.”  What society deems I had that day to be a panic attack, I choose it to be a gift that opened an opportunity for connection and the catalyst for an incredible download of messages from the universe and from my highest self.  The reason I choose this work is that I know we were meant to live great lives, in and out of our comfort zone and in an out of fear, joy, sadness, love, pleasure, and pain.  Emotions are like the ingredients of dark chocolate covered pretzel with sea salt, every single one of them is necessary to create a masterpiece.

When we can learn to embrace all the parts of ourselves and begin to move through our emotions with grace, we begin to live more peacefully.  We have the understanding that feelings and emotions are just like the clouds in the sky, always moving and everchanging. 

Photo Credit Tony Oprea