Showing posts with label Depression & Anxiety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Depression & Anxiety. Show all posts

Monday, February 20, 2017

Life In The Upside-Down

Three months ago, I had a shunt surgically placed in my head, to alleviate swelling due to a spinal fluid leak. I woke up in the upside-down, and now nothing feels right anymore.

The world feels like it's on a collision course with madness, and no matter how much I try to smile and laugh it off, there is a heavy sense of nihilistic discontent within me. People say the world hasn't changed, we just see it more clearly in this time of instant communication, news, and technology. But I don't know about that, because it seems pretty different to me than it did even just a few years ago.

If you do any research into the Mandela Effect you'll find a lot of crackpot conspiracies and lunacy. But there are some historical inaccuracies that I cannot overlook, and which wrinkle my water-logged brain. I remember vividly growing up watching video of the JFK assassination. There were never six people in that car. It was not a six seater. But somehow every video online now shows footage that is in direct competition with my memory.

Something happened to this world. Whether it was a CERN related dimensional shift, or a simple shift in personal values; humanity seems to be in big trouble. And I don't rightly see a solution or a way out.

Celebrity dominates the media, and now politics. Outright lies are laughed off, memes are made, twitter wars are waged, but nothing changes. Nothing is accomplished. The rich get richer, while the rest of us sit here confounded wondering "what happened???"

I can't help but wonder if in some alternate reality there is a girl watching our life on TV, thinking to herself "wow that shows pretty messed up!" Because life feels like reality TV now; everyone is posturing all the time, manners have all but evaporated, the bottom line is everyone's bottom line, and everybody has an ulterior motive.

It is getting more difficult for me to cope with my depression and anxiety disorder in this crazy reality we are living in. I mean, a bigoted billionaire reality TV star is leader of the free world. And Russia may be blackmailing him with embarrassing images of him engaging in golden showers with Russian hookers. How the hell am I supposed to feel anything remotely like faith in the human race?

I hope one day soon I will wake up in the hospital, and find out this was all just one big brain-swell dream. It's still pre-election November, my surgery was a success, and I had one hell of a trippy nightmare!

Joking aside, this has to be a difficult time for anyone who is living with mental illness.  I don't see my depression improving anytime soon.

So for now I will just keep reaching out to others, to you, and hope that we find our way back to kindness, compassion, and sanity.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Overcome Anxiety: Meditative Breathing & Oxygen

It was about 2001 that I was diagnosed as having "Panic disorder". At that point in time my anxiety was manifesting as hyperventilation, dizzy spells, chest pains, and an immense sensation of fear and foreboding. It only got worse before it got better, and for a few years I was plagued by panic attacks, agoraphobia, and general fears and worries of all types. 

It wasn't until I started to really heal and make progress that I had the clarity to look back on my life and realize that I have always had panic disorder. I think back to my childhood, different times and experiences, and realize that what my parents thought of as tantrums, or acting out, or being too emotional and sensitive, were actually panic and anxiety attacks that were out of my control. 

When I was first diagnosed I did what regular society expects you to do; I saw a therapist, a psychiatrist, and took different medications. These medications proved helpful, in that they shut down my emotions, and rather removed all feeling. But that was a problem in and of itself; I'm a highly feeling woman, taking away my emotions was pretty much like removing my ability to relate to life. After a few years of therapy and medication, and after a year of intensive daily meditation on my own, and a vigorous determination to be well, I walked into my shrinks office one day and essentially fired her.

What an empowering day!

How Does Meditation Help With Anxiety?

Oxygen is essential to our biology; when our brain doesn't receive enough oxygen our entire vascular, heart, and blood system is deprived, and we end up breathing shallow and not thinking clearly. These days, many people are oxygen deprived and it is obvious by the staggering amount of anger in the world. If everyone took a few seconds to breathe deeply after a scary or frustrating situation, then they would be better equipped physically and psychologically to deal with adversity. When we don't get enough oxygen our brain is literally working overtime without all of it's necessary components.

Meditation has many definitions and understandings, but I'm going to bust through the new age spiritual aspects and get to the physical benefits of meditation: breathing.

When you breathe in deeply and hold the inhale in for a few seconds, you allow a rich supply of oxygen to travel through your lungs, into your blood stream, cells, heart, veins, and eventually to your brain. This is like pumping high octane gasoline into your car; your car can run well enough with regular gas, but a high test gas is going to improve the overall performance of the car! The same applies for the human brain and oxygen.

Meditation begins and ends with breathing; no matter why you're meditating, or what your goals are, every single person upon the planet who meditates does so with normalized deep inhalations of breath, and slow steady exhalations. This rhythmic inhale/exhale exercise is easy, anybody can do it, anytime. You can breathe deeply right now while you're reading these words and I urge you to do so. Begin now, by taking one long cleansing breath in, and steadily count in your head to about 5 or 6 as you inhale. Once your lungs are full of rich air, hold the breath in for a count of anywhere from 3-6 seconds, then slowly and steadily release the breathe by exhaling to a count of about 4-5 seconds. Do this a few times. As you read these words, breathing deeply, exhaling steadily, feel your muscles in your shoulders, arms, legs and ankles begin to un-clench. Feel your body begin to truly relax, as your muscles now start to let go of contained energy and stored tension. 

Do you feel that? 

This is the basis of any and all meditation; breathing.

You do not need to do anything beyond this, for now this meditative breathing will suffice, as you are now empowering yourself by doing something which gives you instant results and gratification. You don't need to sit in the lotus, or chant, or try to astral project; these are not the goals of meditation anyways. 

Meditation is simply about clearing ones mind to focus on the purity and pervasiveness of this very moment; now. This never ending moment which is sliding second by second into each new moment, is all you need to focus on as you breath deeply in, and exhale deeply out. And in doing this, and focusing on only this moment, you become aware of your self, and your body, and your environment, in this moment. And this is the only consistent truth in the world you can surely rely upon besides death; this moment, and your environment..

There are other posts here on Soul Searching about Meditation and you can search that category or contact me on the Facebook Group to find out more, but for now, if you've come here to find relief for your own depression, anxiety, panic, or agoraphobia, then this is a good place for you to start.

This moment now, with you, breathing deeply, hearing the ambient sounds around you, smelling the scents around you, feeling your body, each muscle, each twitch, your lungs filling and emptying, this is the key to liberating yourself from the fears which hold you in stasis right now. 

Do this breathing often, several times a day. I breathe deeply when stuck in traffic, when cleaning my home, when reading, when walking, when arguing with someone, when faced with a difficult decision, when stressed beyond my limits. I breathe deeply and give myself an advantage by enriching my brain with oxygen, and pulling my awareness into this very moment right now. In doing this I liberate myself from victim mentality, and take control of something only I can control: my oxygen intake, and my thoughts.

I wish you blessings and strength as you move on from this post, and begin to use deep meditative breathing to begin to truly heal yourself. I will continue to post more and more about overcoming anxiety and depression. I will always have depression, and I will always have a propensity towards panic. But I no longer have panic attacks, and my bouts of depression are few compared to what they were even a decade ago. 

Trust in your intuition; if it tells you to trust in me, then favorite this page, or subscribe to Soul Searching, and let's work together to bring you back into the moment, in balance, and with nothing but peace and hope.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Awakening & Depression: Deep Feelings Can Drain You

A lovely woman I barely know is falling apart right now in her life, due to depression, and I feel helpless, as I know what it's like, I have depression too. I tried to reach out to her through Facebook and managed to get into an argument with women on her friends list who were spouting the usual Susie Sunshine B.S. "it's mind over matter" and "tomorrow is a new day!"

That kind of tripe just rankles my nerves. After a solid 30+ years of hearing it from everyone and their uncle I can say with a fair degree of certainty that putting a goofy smile on my face and thinking about babies cavorting in swimming pools isn't going to right the chemical imbalance going on in my brain and body.

So many people just don't get depression, and instead of taking a moment to try to enlighten I rather snapped and flung some mud right along with them. Stupidity and internet use are not always fair companions late at night.

That being said, I do feel like depression is one of those last taboo things we don't really talk about. I mean we are all tongue in cheek support and love when a celebrity like Robin Williams kills himself, and for a while there is an outpouring of posts about mental illness, and for a moment you don't feel so isolated. But at the end of the day, depression is one of those pesky conditions that really can only be felt from the inside of the one who has it. We all have differing degrees of depression, triggers, cycles, and biochemical rhythms. There is no cookie cutter mold for what a depressed person looks or sounds like.

We come in all shapes, sizes, and walks of life.

As I go through my personal journey of self awareness and awakening, my depression seems to come in greater fits and starts. I can go longer between bad bouts, but when it hits I feel like crawling into a deep dark cave somewhere and just sleeping for a decade or three. I understand that there is no shame in having mental illness. My life experiences in childhood are what caused me to develop PTSD, panic, depression and the like. I no longer live in the environment that caused these parts of me to develop fear impulses far exceeding the norm, yet my fight or flee impulses are mad sometimes.

What I am finding more and more is that the closer I come to accepting myself fully and wholly for who I am, schisms and all, the deeper my insight into myself goes. And it's a little frightening to be honest.

I try to be very honest with myself, about my ego, my agendas in life, my drama, how I create my reality. I am very hard on myself much of the time, expecting more of myself than I would any other human. And I work damn hard at maintaining a level of receptive open mindedness about who I am, as I really truly desire to free myself of all the false persona bullsh*t that keeps human beings mired in their own muck.

But the deeper I go, the crazier I feel I am... I begin to understand myself on levels previously unexplored, and then I see myself in a whole new light, and it feels like I've been exposed for all the world to see, naked, and the shock and shame fairly bowl me over. I feel like I could spend the rest of my life living in shame of things I did so long ago... simply because I can't quite figure out how to just forgive and let it go.

Part of PTSD is that it is almost impossible to let go... I can go through a deeply moving and meaningful healing exercise, end up having a cathartic release, and feel liberated, only to later down the road have a panic attack where it all wells up again quite unexpectedly. And with PTSD it's all in the moment, now, current, there is no expiration date on shock and sorrow.

So I'm at a cross roads in my journey right now. I have been for quite a while. I tried to deny it at first, unwittingly, but as I'm always digging deeper trying to be authentic, it became clear to me I was trying to hold on to a previous image of myself, for fear of feeling lost. So I have let that previous image go; completely. My whole existence was wrapped up there for a good 10-15 years, on being Dee the Spiritual coach and reader, healer, and guide. I loved it, I learned so much from my clients, my connections, my journey. But I hit a dead end a while back. A long while back. And instead of turning around, I stayed there, in confusion. For a couple of years.

So finally I have just decided to be Dee the woman. An empty canvass. See what bubbles up from within. And I'm waiting for inspiration, or some sign, or meditative epiphany.

And then I wonder "is this a midlife crisis?"

I vow no matter who or what I become or mutate into or away from, to continue to keep working on awakening to the truths in this world. We have been living in an imposed dreamscape/nightmare for decades in North America, and every fiber within my being says the world is in need of awake and alert people at this time, to help begin to instill changes into all our systems of governance, finance, military, health, education and every other conceivable level of society and culture. And to do that we have to be able to look into the mirror and recognize who we are, and who we're not.

But it's a painful process sometimes. Exposure to the darker side of our world can be scary, and when you realize we really don't have any true liberties it's downright horrifying.

But that's what this journey is about; waking up to the truth of who we Are, not who we've been programmed to be, so that we can find our sovereignty, and let that core spark of peace and light within each of us bond us together in unity as we begin to rebuild what is so quickly and forcefully being torn down around us.

In order for things to change, they have to fall apart first. And that's not always going to feel great.

So if you`re depressed, or anxious, or scared or angry, please know you`re not alone. We are gathering in greater numbers. Conspiracy theories be damned; this is about our lives, our childrens` futures, the planet itself, life, and nature.

So stick around. I`m going to start writing here again, as it just feels like the right time to do so. And I promise to throw in some useful soul food along the way to help us all ease into these shifts as they happen at increasing rapid fire speed.

Just keep breathing - in and out - in this moment. We`re in this together.

From the Wreckage & Debris...

I'm baaaa-aaack.... crawling out of a crazy storm of depression & isolation. But I'm back.

I've gone through something of a complete and utter breakdown of personality in the last few years. Those who know me have watched it in either fear or awe or a combination of both. I built a life I thought I was happy with, but something wasn't right, didn't fit, and it's still not jiving.

As of tomorrow my web business Spirit Sanctum will officially be no more. I have removed the website, not renewed the domain, deleted the Facebook business page, and basically there is no clearer message I can deliver to the world and universe - I quit. Yet it's not enough... I'm still not "there".

If asked to verbalize my collapse of business, which I worked hard to build up over the last twenty something years, all I can say is my heart was no longer really in it. It of course goes way deeper than that, and if you truly want to know why you can contact me and we can get candid, but for all intents and purposes, it just wasn't what I wanted to be doing anymore. I got tired of doing online Tarot readings, and do not desire to return to doing them in person. I find it taxing. People are needy. I need less of that.

In dropping that part of my business I had to drop a newer part, the Reiki. It's on hold until I decide how I feel about it, but for now, Spirit Sanctum had to go, so it's gone. Obliterated. No longer an entity.

It brings me to a dark place within myself now. I feel raw, as I knew I would. And I feel like a failure and all those other things society puts upon us when we don't see something to completion in their vision of completion. I knew I had to let it go and it took over two years for me to actually pull the pin on that one friends, but having done it I don't feel any better. I guess I was hoping for epiphany, or some grand "a-ha!" moment.

All I hear is crickets, and my depression is starting to swell up again. And damn don't I know how alienating depression is.

So maybe I'll blog it out a bit, it's helped in the past. Maybe all of this soul searching crap has finally led me round the bend and I have just officially lost it. I doubt it, but it's kind of funny to visualize. Kind of.

So here I am now - blank slate. I have no form of income now until I go back to my very part time job when school starts up. I have a depressed teenager who is set to go back to school in 2 weeks, who can barely function when at home... a husband who god bless him is trying his best, and a universe that just keeps throwing curves. What am I missing? What am I not seeing? I have beat the shit out of myself trying to figure it out, and frankly I'm tired of these bruises on my heart. I go within to heal the parts within that ache, and end up hurting more now than ever. I feel lost.

So, glad i'm back? :)

I promise it won't be all violins and doom. Just bear with me, depression is a bitch. And she's really messing with my head right now.

Later... for now I will try to sleep. And maybe turn my brain off if that is even possible.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Anger Is Not Real: Understanding Our Fears

Animals operate via instinct, and biology. Animals can show fear, they can demonstrate territoriality, protectiveness, possessiveness, hunger, desperation, and even madness in rare cases. Yet there is one thing animals do not demonstrate, something which humans demonstrate all too often, which isn't germane to who we truly are; Anger.

Anger is not a true emotion; it simply doesn't exist in and of itself, it is a man-made emotion which is generated at it's core and foundation by fear. Fear that is usually attached to a lack of control. Fear is the root of all anger, and until people are willing to deeply reflect and introspect upon their anger, they will never be able to truly overcome it.

And we need to overcome our anger on this planet, because it is driving us towards the brink of extinction.

There is a lot of anger in the world, anger which people are quick to demonstrate now in every day circumstances. It is frightening, which definitely creates more anger. And in this way, anger has become like a snowball, spreading more fear everywhere it goes, which in turn becomes more anger, and around we go.

You show me an angry person, and I'll show you their experiences, their childhood, their violations and mistreatments, and show you how their fear transformed into anger.

What makes you angry? Think about it for a moment. Be open minded, and for a moment think about something that simply pisses you off beyond reason. You know what grinds my gears? I get ticked off royally at snobbery, and elitism. Why? Now I could sit here and list off reasons to you, to try to justify my anger towards societies different treatment of people based on their income, but truly it would only be my ego trying to validate an emotion that serves no purpose. The real reason I get angry at snobbery is because I'm afraid of being judged as a bad person for being poor. It's fear that spurs my anger, plain and simple. I am afraid that the world may not take me seriously, or respect me, or understand me, or see value in me, because I do not have a lot of money.

Pretty silly, yes? No. We all do this my friend. While my example may not apply to you, you yourself exhibit anger over some thing, or behavior, or action, and at the core it is not anger that makes you feel this way; it is fear.

Fear is a vulnerable feeling and emotion; when we are afraid we fear being exposed, or being left open to be hurt or mistreated.We fear having no control, over the behaviors, feelings, and judgments of others. We share our fears with those we are closest with, yet don't go around broadcasting our fears, lest we be taken advantage of because of them. So instead of wearing our fear in public, we disguise it as anger, and righteousness, and eventually we begin to believe the disguise is a valid part of who we are. But it isn't - it is simply covering up the truth which is based on a very simple fear.

Every act of violence a person can perpetrate upon another living being, is motivated at some level by fear. Now you may automatically feel like NO DEE - you are WRONG here... But bear with me. For a moment.

Let me use some of the most heinous exhibitions of anger to draw an analogy. For starters, let's look at people who abuse children, or animals. You may not see them being motivated by fear, you may simply see a sick mofo who needs to be taught a lesson! You may feel outraged by their absolutely disgusting lack of morality, compassion or common sense. And yet I am sure if you looked more closely at the abuser, to their own childhood perhaps, or some life experience, you would find someone who was once abused themselves, and never learned to express their fears about it, and instead developed an angry disposition by which to protect themselves. In this way their anger is a byproduct of their own painful past. I am not justifying their angry behavior or abuse! Not by a long shot. I am simply trying to draw you to see this from a new perspective; their evil acts are not committed for the sake of being evil; they have let their fear transmute into something so horrendous and monstrous that they only know how to express themselves in ugly vile ways.

I was abused growing up, and yet I did not grow up to become an abuser myself. Why? Why didn't my fear transform itself into an anger that cripples my ability to treat others with compassion? I think the reason why is simple: the love within me is too strong to be overcome by fear or anger. I am no angel, I've done things I regret in my life, yet I've tried to learn from my mistakes, and my empathy makes it impossible for me to willingly do harm to anyone or anything else. My fear makes me vulnerable, yet I see within it a strength, so I am not afraid to be honest about my fears. I rather want to celebrate my fears, in the hopes that I will understand them enough to overcome them, and then share that with you so you too can better understand your own fears, in order to surpass them.

Another example in our society, all the crap going on in the middle east - terrorism, extreme religious zealots; you may just see a bunch of angry men using fear and murder as a way to control their reality. But I try to see a little deeper into this; seeing men who were once boys, children, who were raised in a society which does not value life in the way other cultures do. Boys who were indoctrinated into a fearful response to the western world, boys who were trained, and conditioned to meet their fear with violence in order to overcome their fear. I see boys who became violent murderous men simply because they had shitty role models. This war on terror? It's an absolute joke - terrorism will never cease to exist on earth until such a time as every parent on this planet endeavors to raise their children to LOVE instead of FEAR.

Love creates bridges, love uses commonality and compassion to create inclusion.

Fear creates walls, and uses our differences and chaos to create separation.

The next time you feel angry, about anything whatsoever, bit it huge or small, take a moment to explore where that anger you're feeling is coming from. Go deep - dare to go as deep as you humbly can. I'm quite sure you will find your anger is a byproduct of a fear that is so deep seeded within you, that you may not even be consciously aware of it. Yet through a conscious desire to become self-aware, you can and will become consciously aware of everything that "makes you tick", and this is what leads to revelation, liberation, and sovereignty.

You are not an angry person, and this isn't an angry world. You are a complex being who has been raised within the context of the culture and society around you, who has been taught what to think and believe by people who have no better idea about life than their forefathers before them. This world is a complex collective of billions of individual thoughts, feelings, fears, hopes, and yearnings. When you see people exhibiting anger, rather than think about how different they are from you, look instead into the core of them to see how similar you are. For no matter how outwardly evil, vile, or different you may perceive them to be, at the core they are a person who was once a child, who was raised differently than you, who lacks a level of self-awareness that enables them to operate out of love rather than fear.

We were all born in much the same way - we lived within warmth and security for 9 months, then arrived into this 3 dimensional world of density, form, and matter with no ability to communicate ourselves. We spent the first year of our life using crying, and grunts and small sounds to communicate our needs. It wasn't until we began to learn and comprehend language that we began to understand fear, and anger.

Fear and anger are taught, and learned, and are in no way indicative of who we are as biological beings on this planet. Anger is not a part of our biology, instinct, or genetic makeup. It is a byproduct of fear, and all fears can be overcome and transcended through self-awareness, and a willingness to open ones mind to see beyond the small confining space we are trained to occupy.

I challenge you to view anger in this way now, moving out into the world and observing anger as it happens around you. Witness the anger in others, through their words, their actions and behaviors, and then allow your empathy to envision what has led this person to use anger as a means to protect themselves from what they fear.

Explore the fears within you - by exploring the things that make you angry. Go deep, see where your anger begins - because this is where your fear stagnated to become an obstacle within you. I assure you, when you are able to see your emotions in this clear way, you will be able to overcome the things you fear in a liberating and eye opening way.

Choose Love - it is truly the only emotional motivator that matters.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Message To The Abused, & The Abuser

I write now to not only clear my conscience and ease my troubled mind, but to reach out to those who can relate to me, to those who know what it is to be hurt and mistreated by loved ones, and to those who either knowingly or unwittingly are perpetrating pain and violations upon their own children. Innocence is the one truth we are all born with, as we take our first breath on this planet, we rely upon grownups to nurture and care for us, and our first years are spent relying upon our parents, and our family to provide us with the basic needs and foundation for a healthy balanced life. When I posted yesterday about the memory of a molestation in my childhood, I did so to get it out, because the memory was sudden, vivid, and so very painful. But I need you to understand that this one painful act of betrayal was not the only act of cruelty I experienced as a child. I was a ward of the courts in my first four years, was in various foster homes, and was eventually adopted at age four by a couple who were related to my birth mother. My first few years with them was blissful, and a great deal of healing was done as they pampered me, lavished me with love, care, and compassion. Had it not been for those first years of adopted life, I may have fractured mentally, and become someone completely different than who I am today. Yet, as life went on, and the pressures in my parents life became more vivid to them, they both found comfort in the bottle; and my blissful life slowly transformed into a thing of fear and pain. Growing up in a world transformed by addiction, and alcoholism was volatile at best; anyone who grew up with alcoholics knows well how you walk on egg shells, fear the night and what may come, and learn to protect yourself by whatever means possible. For me, I learned to become introverted at home, to hide in my room, to surround myself in music, writing, and the arts. And where others bore it quietly, I never could, and would talk to friends, reaching out again and again, and yet never finding solace. I know my parents never meant to intentionally hurt me, yet the pain created scars I carry to this day. And I beseech you, reading this now, if you are struggling with alcoholism, depression, or addiction on any level, and it is affecting your children, please stop hiding, and get help. Because while you may think you are only hurting yourself, I assure you - you are dead wrong. Children are very sensitive to their parents needs, fears, and insecurities, and while the addict often gets to sleep away the trauma of the night previous, the child wakes up with full recall, and adds another psychic scar to the collection. And that collection  never dulls, never eases, and never allows the child to grow into a fully secure adult themselves. And in this way, the cycle of abuse is ongoing. While I myself do not drink or abuse drugs, I am honest about my depression, and panic disorder, which I have passed down to my beautiful little girl. She is now 14, and has depression and anxiety which rightfully are not hers to bear. And yet, she has always been sensitive to her mother, and unwittingly along the years, I exposed her to too much of my own pain, insecurity, and uncertainty; on some level she absorbed my self doubts, my fears, and they became her own. How do I tell her that these feelings she now struggles with truly are not her own to be burdened by? I simply cannot; she will not understand that by virtue of living with an emotionally raw role model, she learned how to internalize, and punish herself exactly the way her mommy did. She has never been abused, mistreated, or violated in the ways her mom has; and yet she lives with the same pain and sense of loss, and the only way I can explain it is to say that we are so close, so completely entwined via our hearts and souls, that she absorbed my pain at a very young age. If I had known, all those years when I thought she was fast asleep, and I cried quietly to myself or my husband, about things I could not let go of... I never wanted to leave her with this painful legacy. Depression is something I grew up feeling ashamed about. I was identified as depressed in my early teens, forced into psychiatric care, medicated, and labeled. And that was that, those who felt responsible washed their hands, feeling what I suffered was chemical and therefore no-ones fault. Everyone around me put me at arms length, and I learned to struggle quietly, because when I spoke about it I would ultimately end up feeling alienated from the very people I needed to accept and love me. They had caused so much of my turmoil and disconnection from strength, and sovereignty, and on a deep level they knew it, and yet it was just easier I guess, to put me into a program, and tell themselves they were doing all they could. But I am telling you, at the age of 42, I have not healed from those childhood traumas I lived through. I could recount tales of horror, the worst nights of my life, the words that were said that could never be unsaid, the physical abuse, the emotional acts of terrorism... but what would be the point? I relive it often enough in my psyche, in my dreams. And in this way, the victim often continues to victimize themselves, as they cannot find a healthy outlet for all the hurts they accrued growing up. So while you think your children will grow up and forget whatever it is they are experiencing right now, I am here to tell you that no - they will never forget. I have forgiven my parents, and anyone who has ever hurt me. It is easy to forgive, I have no trouble with forgiveness, it is as much for me that I am able to forgive as for those who have violated my innocence and trust. But forgetting is something I've never been able to accomplish. And that is where conditions like depression, panic disorder, and post traumatic stress come into play. If you have a problem, please stop making excuses, and letting your foolish pride convince you that you're doing okay, because you know deep within you that you are not. Get help, now, not tomorrow, or next week, but now, because it isn't your own happiness you are diminishing, but the happiness of the people you love the most on this planet; your children. Sure, you don't mean to hurt them, but good intentions are not equivalent to good behavior, and you know that too many times, you've allowed your own drama become their trauma. So please, for the love of your children's innocence; get help. If you have been abused, in any way, by anyone in your life, please know that it was not your fault. You didn't do anything to deserve abuse; no one on this planet deserves to be hurt, mistreated, or violated. And if you are an abuser, an alcoholic, an addict, and your pain is becoming your children's pain, then I beg of you, start putting their needs ahead of your own and get help, talk to someone, seek a solution. Because you do not have to keep living in this cycle of blame, pain, hiding, and excuses. It won't get any better until you decide to put an end to it, and in this way you have the power to transform your painful reality into a promise of something better for your children. For long after you take your last breath on this planet, they will still be here, trying to make sense of their own feelings, and trying to pick up the pieces of their own fractured childhood. There are only two absolute truths in this life; Fear, and Love. We are always operating from a place of one, or the other. When fear is in charge, pain is prevalent, abundant, and multiplies virulently. The only answer to fear is love; love is the only means we have of absolving our past transgressions, and cleansing the unclean places we hold so tightly within. Choose love, for your children, for yourself, it is truly what you deserve now. No matter how unworthy you may feel, love is what you were born to feel, experience, receive, and be. No matter who taught you to feel otherwise in your past, you must know that now, in this moment, you have the power to be strong, and do the right thing; do what love would do. If you are uncertain as to who to turn to, call your local church, or social services department, and ask to be put in touch with a counselor, or support group. Make the first step, it's the hardest, but I promise you, each step you take after that first one will be easier. Forgiveness begins within, please forgive yourself, so that your children can grow up with some semblance of security, stability, and pride in their parents.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Abuse: Healing Through Honest Acceptance

I will begin this post with something of a disclaimer, or a warning; the following post will be personal, intimate, painful, and raw. If you are not in a good place energetically, I suggest you stop here.

I am about to share with you a part of me, my childhood, and my life, which is the hardest thing to share, and though I will not go into details, or even name names, it is going to be hard for me to write, and I can only guess how difficult it may be for you to read.

When I was younger, in my teens, I began to drink, and do drugs, as my home life was unbearable. I was growing up in an alcoholic environment, and there was abuse which taught me to run away, avoid, always be one step ahead of calamity. I drank heavily into my mid twenties, until i no longer desired that kind of life, and stopped. Full stop.

And I knew depression, heavy and deep depression, all encompassing pain which would well up inside of me, and bring me to my knees. Every year in the fall I would become sullen, empty, and eventually learned about seasonal depression, and this "explained" my depression.

I knew, from an early age, that somewhere in my past there had been a moment, in which my innocence had been violently stripped from me. I was not sure where it originated, or by whom, but I always knew, somewhere between foster care, adoption, and a life of so little control as a young girl, that someone had violated my innocence and taken something very dear, and indeed sacred to me.

I went through my life avoiding and running away from adversity, and I learned to use food, drugs, and alcohol to numb my pain. Though I eventually turned away from drinking and drugs, food remained my addiction, my source of comfort. I have lived with this addiction since i was about 9 or 10 years old. And now I completely understand why.

I understand everything now; in looking back with true clarity for the first time today, I see how my life all hinged on the axis of this one particular night, when I was so young, when someone who I trusted, who should have been my protector, turned into my molester. One autumn night, timing, and poor choices led to someone I trust hurting me in a way no child ever deserves to be hurt.

The next day, this person knew I was sad, confused, feeling shamed and raw, and they took me to McDonald's to cheer me up. And this was the day I learned how to use food to sooth myself.

I received my level 1 Reiki certification yesterday, and have been performing self-healing on myself for about a week or two now. I knew on some deep level within me that allowing this powerful healing into myself was going to open certain floodgates; memories I have never felt ready for were going to surface. And yet, the faith I have within me was sure that all would happen in it's perfection, and I would be ready.

Today I woke up feeling ill, and supposed it was just another fibromyalgia day. How many days have I lost to the phantom flu-like symptoms of this nervous system disorder? I was prepared to be rendered fairly inadequate for the day, so I showered, took my medication and went to lay down again. And my mind was going back down certain lanes of my memory which I did not feel good about. Any time my mind has traveled those paths, I have fought it, and changed my thoughts, and decided consciously just not to "go there". And it's happened often enough in my life, where I have begun to connect to those memories, and those pains, and have decided that I was not ready, and so closed myself off from it completely.

Yet today, I knew I had to go with it. I said "i am not ready" and yet knew, I could no longer fight my history.

You see, something horrible happened to me when I was too young to know how horrible it truly was, and the next few decades of my life were spent in a cliche attempt to forget, numb the pain, disassociate from it, and try to be happy. But ignoring the past does not change it.

I opened myself to Reiki as I lay in bed, and began to work with my hands, and my chakra's, and began to have flashes of my childhood, good ones, and then confusing ones, and I knew... I knew it was coming, brimming so close to the surface, and so I finally surrendered.

And I remembered. Somebody I loved, indeed still do love very much, made a very selfish and stupid decision, and changed the course of both of our futures that night. This person did something vile to someone who they had sworn to protect, and cherish, and then instead of trying to make the situation right, they did what so many people often do when they disappoint themselves; they fell into a pattern of abuse, neglect, and anger. This person became a heavy drinker, and never let me feel safe around them again. This person transformed over the following years, going from my Knight in shining armor, to my greatest fear; this person punished me, every day from that point on, for their mistake.

I am forty-two years old, remembering a poignantly painful thing which happened over thirty years ago, and in looking back I can now, for the first time ever in my adult life, completely understand who I have become, in light of that violation. After that night, when my innocence was shattered, I began to change, began to become rebellious, depressed, scared, and confused. I was lost. And I have been mostly lost since then. For three more decades; most of the choices I made in my life were spun on the dime of that one petty selfish act.

I continued using food to numb my pain, and learned to punish my self, and my body, for the shame I felt so deeply inside of myself. I always knew, and remembered, so close to the surface of my consciousness what had happened, and yet stuffed it down, not wanting to really truly remember, because I was afraid that if I let the memories in, I would go completely crazy. Literally.

Well I remember, and I am not crazy. I have not fallen apart today. I want you to know, that even though I have remembered who... I am alright. I spoke with my husband for a couple of hours, and he loved me unconditionally through my tears, my recollections, and we talked about now, and moving forward, and healing from this trauma. And I know I am blessed to be loved by this man, who would never hurt me, or our child, or anybody; he is gentle, and kind, and noble. I am thankful that he is in my life, especially now, at this time while this memory surfaces, because his love is a great part of what will help me heal and move on.

I forgive the person who hurt me. Truly; I know it sounds cliche, but I cannot be angry at them. That person led a very empty sad life from that night onward, and punished themselves in ways I could never, and I feel pity, and even compassion for them.

Yet a small part of me, I guess the very human part of me can't help but feel shame, as though this were somehow my fault. I know it couldn't be, I did not ask to be violated, I did not want to be hurt. Yet I can't help but feel just a small amount of guilt, which leads to feelings of being dirty, unworthy, and repugnant.

I guess anyone who has been sexually abused by a trusted adult would understand this feeling.

I know that working with Reiki energy is going to open me up to further pain that I have locked up deeply inside of myself. That's ok, I think I am finally ready at this point in my life, to withstand reliving those pains, in order to free myself. Finally.

Because to be honest, I've really done very little but punish myself since that night. I didn't realize it until today; I have done a lot of things to hurt myself, to compound that pain, because I was so young when it happened, it simply didn't make sense, I felt deeply in my heart I must have done something bad to deserve it. I know this is foolishness of course, but some part of my inner child has lived with that precise guilt for over 30 years - I must have done something horrible to deserve to be hurt in that manner, by a person who I loved so deeply.

So now that I've faced it, acknowledged it, I guess I have no choice but to start accepting it, and letting it go. I am not good at letting go; I have never been good at letting myself off the hook. I am hard on myself, and punish myself so often, never living up to my lofty expectations of myself. And yet, I know I am a good person, a kind and empathetic woman, who tries to help others in ways she has never truly tried to help herself. If I gave myself an ounce of the compassion, guidance, and love that I give my Tarot clients, my spiritual seekers... this has to be the next step; beginning to give to myself what I have with held for so long; forgiveness.

I will have to find a support group, or see a therapist, as this is something I'm going to have to work out on various levels within me. Writing it here is a beginning, a first step, yet I know this pain is so raw inside of me that i will have to administer doses of healing upon it, and if I keep it locked up within me then I am punishing myself, all over again. To hide it is to be ashamed of it, and I've been ashamed for a very long time.

But I didn't ask to be molested. No one does. And while I continued to love my abuser, and can forgive them now, aspects of my inner child need help, guidance, direction regarding how to let this go.

I am thankful to Reiki, and to all who have encouraged me to follow this path in life, I know I have to finally let go of the hurts I've held on to at a cellular level. I am ready to stop punishing myself, for someone else's very poor choice.

I think a lot of us have been violated in this way; by someone we trusted, and we have hurt ourselves because we didn't really understand that it wasn't our fault. And if you can relate to this in some way, then I urge you to do some deep introspecting, meditating, and realizing that this isn't your fault. None of us ever ask to be hurt, abused, misused, molested, beaten, mistreated.

That someone would do so to another person is a sign of their own sickness, and lack of understanding of love. To hold that pain within ourselves, and hold ourselves responsible for the actions of someone else, well it's to basically keep letting that abuse happen, again and again, and again...

Right now, in this moment, I am exhausted, yet relieved. I don't know how I will feel in five minutes, or five days, but in this moment, I am ok.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Depression & Spirituality

Some days it's hard to get out of bed, to get dressed and get on with the day; we're human and its only natural that we have 'bad days' from time to time. And yet it seems that even in our incredibly progressive state of mind on the whole it's still rather taboo to talk about depression, or bi-polar or other emotional/chemical instabilities. People generally don't want to talk about these things as they have negative stigmatic connotations attached to them, and I think it's about time we stop trying to "Grin and Bear it."

Depression is a vastly overused term, when honestly I think it's the human condition to feel "depressed" from time to time. We live in this 3D reality which is very vivid and at times overwhelming - our senses are constantly being bombarded by technology, media, sights smells and sounds. We each have our own daily tasks to grind through, and sometimes that grind can feel like yet further futile and inevitable steps towards mortality. How are we to make it in this world without feeling bummed out every now and then?

And if every now and then is more often than not, that's cool too. Seriously, I have had 'chemical imbalance' most of my life, and have been on and off different anti-depressants since my early teens. It doesn't mean I'm a negative person, or pessimistic; it doesn't even mean I cannot manage my moods, or create my own happiness. Depression isn't a by-product of a lack-luster life; it is a simple dip in neurological chemicals combined much of the time with things, people, or events which just make you feel like crying and eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's.

Everyone feels blue from time to time, whether it's emotional and you know what's bumming you out, or it's chemical and you don't know why you just feel so sad, you aren't an odd man out; the majority of human beings can relate to how you feel; some just won't admit to it.

Spirituality isn't about transcending sadness, and living a joyful happy life 100% of the time; if that's what you want out of Spirituality then you're doing it wrong :) Spirituality is about finding the balance between all polarity, and walking the middle path with wide awareness. And that will require more self-aware discipline than most humans have. I've seen some Spiritualists talk about negative feelings as though they're akin to evil, and how we must arduously beat back these negative feelings until we are victorious in mastering our ego! Pucky. I've also seen Spiritualists try to make extremely judgmental comments about people who are feeling sad or low, telling them that they are simply receiving from the Universe what they put out so they must be putting out nothing but garbage and sorrow. Also - PUCKY.

Sure, the Universe is a gigantic Xerox machine sending us copies of what we emit, if you buy that I have some swamp-land in Sedona to show you... This intimation by Neale Donald Walsch in the Conversations with God books is warm and fuzzy and it feels good when one's feeling good; but there are too many inconsistencies for it to be a properly operating aspect of Quantum Mechanics.

I'm sure we've all seen dozens upon dozens of examples of how the Law of Attraction seems ill equipped to sum up our reality; it sure scratches at the surface but it's missing out to some massive degrees: not everyone gets what they give. That is just a fact. If it wasn't a fact, we wouldn't have cliche's like "Only the good die young" and "good things come to those that wait" and "the meek shall inherit the Earth". No, it's pretty plain that while the Law of Attraction sure does have some relevancy in our lives in certain ways, it doesn't explain how greedy manipulative people thrive, and how honest hard-working humble people can suffer. And I know there are plenty of Spiritualists who would go on to suggest that this is because our souls decided to learn about these things before being born; I too ascribed to this whacked out state of mind for a long while. But I highly doubt any soul wants to learn about sexual abuse as a child. I can't imagine any spirit floating in the ethers thinking to themSelf "I'd like to better understand Love, so I will live a life full of hate and hardship and abuse. And these challenges will help me better understand Love."


New Age Rhetoric is detrimental to your emotional health :) Are we really to believe that suffering is the best way to learn about peace? Sure, we do learn a lot via adversity, and I'm the first to point out the marvelous teaching techniques of all manners of life experience, but I cannot accept for a single second that we are expected to be violated, mistreated, abused, neglected or abandoned in order to be a more awake and aware sentient being. It's just ridiculous.

Sadness, sorrow and depression are just shades of the emotional palette; and we all paint vivid scenes in our emotional lives. Some people have a better handle on their emotions than others, and this doesn't make them better people, just better at coping with emotions.

I honestly think the longer something sits in the dark, unexposed, ignored and not talked about, the worse it will fester and ooze. So not talking about our sad days is damaging, as all it will do is create a little more sadness to add to the pile.

I can say with some certainty from my own experience that it is natural to feel sad, or lonely, or depressed at times. And if you cannot cope with your sadness then there is no harm in asking a doctor to prescribe you an appropriate medication to help with your chemical balances. These imbalances are the direct result of a society living off of processed foods, pollution, radiation and the myriad other toxicities we are bombarded by in our "advanced" civilization.

We live in an age of information overload; where we are desensitized by the media, and live amidst such atrocity on our planet yet turn a blind eye to it because it is just so rampant. And we're expected to smile serenely, knowing that the little starving children in Africa dying of AIDS wanted to experience this level of suffering for his soul to advance?!?

A truly honest spiritual seeker will see beyond the warm comfort of this particular set of new age notions, and know that breathing blissfully in ignorance of others suffering is NOT the path to Nirvana. True peace is unattainable in the human mind and body, but true moments of peace are abundant and swelling forth in each moment; more joy is derived from helping others than sitting atop ones spiritual pedestal feeling "perfect" in everyone else's imperfection. So all the new age sheeple can continue to ring their Tibetan Singing Bowls and talk about Prana while eating their Big Macs behind the comfortable anonymity of their computer monitor, and feel righteous and Ascendant knowing that their soul has made all the "right" choices. And when the "rapture" inevitably doesn't happen and they're left scratching their glowing heads in curiosity wondering why they didn't go up to Heaven for one-on-one back-pats by the Ascended Masters, they maybe will realize every moment spent in inactive acceptance of tyranny was a moment wasted in a life misdirected.

We all get sad, and we can all talk about that sadness honestly and openly without fear of judgement, because anyone who tells you they don't get sad, they feel joy and peace all the time, is full of sh*t. It isn't possible. Even Buddha himself must have experienced moments of sorrow, how else would he have had such great insights for transcending sorrow?

Do Christians think Jesus sat back on his Spiritual laurels and counted his blessings? That guy was apparently out healing the sick and feeding the hungry every day. He didn't have to, he was already the son of God, he was pretty much guaranteed a clutch spot in Heaven, don't you think? But he still went out of his way to do good things for others. If he wasn't driven by a glory seeking agenda, what do you think compelled him to act this way?

Perhaps it was a genuine and true love for people.

When we genuinely and truly love people, we can accept them, warts and all. Happy or sad, we're all so similar, sitting on this big rock spinning in the outer regions of space, trying to make some sense out of the unknown. Our society is confusing, our governments are corrupt, our finances are dwindling, our technology is over-taking our ability to understand it. And our children are hungry, and don't have warm boots, and have no one to tuck them in gently each night. Is it any wonder we're not all sad from time to time??

The thing I've learned through my own moments of sadness or depression, is that it will always pass eventually, and that I cannot escape my negative or painful thoughts. So I now greet them head on, and the first thing I ask myself when I am confronted by something painful within me is "is this rational?" Does it originate from something I can actually change? Or is it just the "blues". I wake up feeling blue from time to time, with no known reason, and rather than try to "cheer up", I just spend some quiet time with myself (whether I'm alone at home, or driving, or shopping, or working) letting the feelings follow whatever natural flow they will. And if it becomes overwhelming and I can't handle it any more I talk about it with my husband, or my friends. Bringing pain into the light of day and talking about it usually helps to alleviate it, by virtue of just getting it off your chest.

So the next time someone tells you to cheer up, or get over it, or let a smile be your umbrella, feel free to flip em middle-birdie and claim your right to feel how you feel. There's no shame in it. Sadness will always eventually give way to happiness. And then the cycle will reset. May as well be comfortable in your own skin while living between the tug-of-war polarities on Earth.

And failing that, medication isn't a bad option. It can often help to regulate chemical imbalances within a few months.

I'm Dee, and I'm a life-long occasionally depressed woman. And I'm okay telling you that, because I'm okay living with it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Coping with Grief and Death

The unexpected death of someone we have known on any level and in any capacity can be a profound experience; death has a way of making us feel small, insignificant, fearful even for our own impending sense of mortality.

It may sound cliche, but we each of us are wired up differently, based on who we are, our past experiences, and the morals and values we hold dear; no two people grieve alike. I believe it is so vital that we allow ourselves to grieve in whatever way comes naturally to us, while also creating space for others to experience loss in their own way.

I was fortunate to have not experienced a lot of death in my life as a child and young woman. It wasn't until my father passed away on May 10th, 2006 that I truly got a taste of what grief was. To then I had lost grandparents, but while I was still relatively too young to really understand the spiritual ramifications of what death represented to me. I had lost a dearly beloved cat in 1996 which introduced me to grief and mourning, and in truth that loss was so profound that to this day when I think of that sweet black and white ball of fur I still get a little misty. But my fathers passing was my first real taste of significant unadulterated and painful loss.

My father and I were not close. In fact, we had an extremely volatile relationship for most of my life. I won't go into the details of our extraordinarily dysfunctional relationship as that isn't what this post is about; but suffice it to say I spent quite a bit of my teen years wishing he were dead. I truly hated him at times, and wished he were not a part of my life.

And yet, in the last four years of his life before he passed away, we developed a new level of respect for one another, and as he shifted gears to go from heavy handed authoritarian dictator - father, to relaxed and pleasant grandfather to my daughter, we began to explore different ways of relating with one another. I am glad to say that the last four years of his life were easy, peaceful; we truly appreciated each other. Finally.

When I got the phone call from my brother that May evening telling me our father had died of a heart attack in the kitchen early that morning I went into shock immediately. I didn't know it at the time of course, but with the clarity of hindsight I can share my experience with you to help illustrate my point. I was packing overnight bags while still on the phone with my brother, issuing orders to my husband and daughter, getting our affairs in order so that we could leave immediately to drive the 50 miles to my home city to be with my mother and brother. The next few days were a blur of funeral plans, casket purchasing, and eulogy writing as my mother asked me if I would speak for the family at the service. In a whirlwind of neighbors dropping by coffee cakes, and friends popping in to share a cry and a laugh as we talked about my father and the experiences that stood out in all our memories.

The funeral was beautiful, he was a well respected man with a great number of friends and acquaintances and colleagues. I don't remember much aside from smiling politely, shaking hands, hugging numerous people, and feeling numb and empty.

At the time I thought I was handling his death beautifully. I had just begun reading the Conversations with God trilogy, and found so much solace in the books. As the Spring turned to Summer, and I moved on to the final book, I remember feeling in a state of nearly constant euphoria. I was sure that every minute was a miracle, and every encounter was a gift from God, and my father. I saw him everywhere, I felt him and smelled him and had such a feeling of contentment. I remember thinking to myself how happy I was to be handling his death so well.

The truth of the matter is I wasn't handling his death well at all, I was in denial of it to a great extent, and I used the beautiful imagery in the books I was reading to create my fathers "happily ever after" scenario. It gave me a sense of safety to imagine my father as a guardian angel now, looking down upon me. And in truth, I still rather like this imagery, it makes me feel safe and secure. But I had to come to a point within myself where I realized that I wasn't dealing with my grief; I was simply wrapping it up in a shiny package, labeling it as Divine, and then not looking at it.

It took me a few years to figure this out of course. It wasn't until I was able to really contemplate death, my ideas about it, my relationship to the Universe and Spirit, that I really understood that I hadn't really moved past my dads dying.

Now I share all of this for a very exact reason; though I didn't deal with my grief directly at the time, I dealt with it in the only way I knew how to - by making it more beautiful than I could imagine, and by ultimately putting all of my sorrow into a box and tucking it neatly away in my psyche. It wasn't a healthy way to cope with my sorrow, but it was the only way I knew how to cope at the time.

And as time moved on, I eventually began to recognize the sorrow within me that I had not yet looked at and expressed. And as nature took it's course I began to slowly express it, feel it, look at it and then grieve in a much more honest, personal and rounded way.

Everyone has their own way of coping with death, and while it may seem "wrong" to another, none of us are in a position to judge anyone else. I can say with all honesty that a few family members were upset with me and the way I reacted to my fathers death. I irritated more than one person with my airy-fairy platitudes about Heaven, Angels, messages from butterflies and birds... and in fact it created a rift between my brother and I which we still have not healed to this day. My way of avoiding my grief by clinging to euphoria angered him. And the angrier he was the less inclined I was to want to be around him. Eventually we fell out, and I have only seen him once in the last 3 years.

All because I grieved differently than he did. Seems a shame.

Death is a natural part of life - nothing is eternal on this planet. Everything must ebb and flow. And yet death is a sacred and personal issue for each individual person. Some people deal with grief rapidly, others can take longer. Still others may  never truly get over the loss of a loved one.

So while we make room for ourselves to experience death and loss in our own way and time, so must we be compassionate enough to allow those around us to deal with death in their own way and time as well. It is important to know that not only are we grieving the loss of someone we valued or loved, but we are also grieving the loss of our impending mortality as well, because let's face it, death reminds us all that we too will die one day as well, and that can bring a lot of fear up from within.

I have personal theories and beliefs about what lies beyond this life, but none of us can be 100% certain about what is next. We can only have faith in what our hearts guide us towards. And we must have faith in the guidance other peoples hearts guide them towards.

So be gentle with yourself when you are dealing with death. And be gentle with those around you as well. Our emotions can be multi-faceted, and it is amazing the lengths a psyche will go to in order to protect it's own innocence.

Death is inevitable. Love is limitless when guided by patience and tolerant compassion. When you make room to allow others to feel what they feel in their own natural way and rhythm, you ultimately give yourself the space you also require. And that is all any of us can ask for from one another when faced with the heart crushing loss of a loved one.

Be gentle with one another.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Coping with Anxiety & Panic

One of the goals I had in mind when I created this blog was to help people who are endeavoring to live a spiritual life to cope with integration, assimilation and balancing of the spirit with the physical. We are, after all, physical beings living very 3D physical lives, however we experience so much more than just what we can see and touch as we wander through our spiritual journeys.

It doesn't really matter what you believe personally, because my own beliefs are rather broad and universal, and I do believe that what I share is aimed at anyone at all, no matter what beliefs are held. Whether you're Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan or Mormon, I believe we're all compelled by the same basic truth: a connection to Spirit. It doesn't matter what we call spirit, how we address it, whether we're following the teachings of Jesus, or Mohammed, or Ashtar or Cerridwyn; we are all drawn to the beautiful mystery of spirit both within us, and all around us.

I myself have explored and studied many world religions in an attempt to better understand myself in relation to Spirit as I understand it. So while I don't go to church every Sunday, or observe the Sabbats with a coven, I am equally respectful towards all religions, even the ones I see causing damage to the human soul through dogma and conditioning.

This being said, I'd like to touch on various topics and subjects which transcend belief, and touch us as human beings. And one of these things which I'd like to talk about right now is anxiety. You see, no matter how at peace a person is, as long as we reside within the human biology we are all prone to moments of anxiety. Our brains work in sync with the rest of our bodies, and yet the brain is distributing chemicals throughout all of the time, and regulating the glands as such. And at times these regulatory functions are put off kilter, resulting in what is called "chemical imbalance". I see the medical establishment beginning to open it's eyes as a whole, and accept a lot of new age healing modalities and treatments. And yet I still see spiritualists of all belief systems shying away from modern medicine and pharmacology. I believe that everything serves a purpose, so long as it is in moderation, and Western medicine can work wonderfully when coupled with Eastern philosophy and healing artforms.

So what is anxiety?

Anxiety is not to be confused with fear. Fear is a natural response to the unknown or intimidating, and it is something I do talk about, and will talk about more in this blog. However, today I want to explore anxiety. It can result in fear, and certainly can be precipitated by fear, but it is not fear in and of itself. Anxiety is a physical reaction to a fluctuation of bodily chemical dispersal.

Anxiety is something which is becoming ever more prevalent in our society, and I'm not sure if that is due to the foods we eat, or the schedules we keep, or the lack of sleep we get as time speeds up. In fact I'm not sure anyone knows for sure what the cause is of this increase in global anxiety; but it's clear to me that people are experiencing more anxiety as the years go by.

I myself had the usual or "normal" anxiety most of my life, until about 8 years ago when I had my first full blown "panic attack". I suffered panic attacks for two years, and during that time became agoraphobic due to the multitude of stimuli that were my triggers. I was so afraid and victimized by my panic attacks that I literally locked myself in my house for two years and had very little ability to function outside my home on my own.

My anxiety manifested physically in several ways, the most common of them being:

  • increased heart rate
  • blurred vision
  • hyperventilation
  • cold sweat
  • chest pain
  • sense of impending doom
There were also some uncommon symptoms which were very difficult to live with:

  • blacking out
  • sensation of being sucked out of my body
  • a feeling like my brain literally spinning in my skull
After some time I became aware that this wasn't going to go away on it's own, so I sought the advice of my family doctor. I was encouraged to see a psychiatrist who put me on two different medications. And while the medications did help to lessen the symptoms and attacks, they mostly kept me feeling numb. This wasn't adequate for me, so I began to meditate every day, extensively. And this was when I began to feel empowered again, and rediscover my drive and strength.

I meditated every day for upwards of an hour, and eventually found my voice again, and one day walked into my psychiatrists office and essentially "fired" her, as I did not find her useful, empathetic, or even understanding. I found her cold and clinical, and simply telling her this helped me to feel taller, stronger. And eventually I began to wean off of the two anxiety medications I was taking. Within six months of firing my shrink, I was off the medication, and only using one for onset attacks, as needed. The feeling of empowerment was phenomenal. To this day, I keep a prescription filled for my breakthrough medication, just in case, as I know that there will always be anxiety in my life to some degree or another, and not all of it is simple for me to cope with on my own. But I only need to use the medication once every few months now, which is an incredible turn around for me, as once I took it several times a day.

How to cope with Anxiety?

I'd like to recommend a few methods I used to cope with anxiety and panic attacks, some conventional, and some not so much, but all extremely effective for me, and I'm quite sure they'd help others as well.

  1. Talk to your doctor. I advise this to anyone who has worrisome or troubling anxiety or panic attacks. It is important to be open to the advice of your doctor, as there are some very helpful medications which are meant to help you regain chemical balance, and you need not be on them long term.
  2. Get real with yourself. This is something that takes time, sometimes years to achieve, and indeed something I recommend to everyone. We all have inner fears, and things from our past which live within the subconscious waiting for us to pay attention to them. As children we stuff things down deep inside, and as adults these things may seem small when seen in the light of day, and yet those feelings from childhood can be as intense when a panic attack begins. So you must be willing to be really honest with yourself; about your motivations, agenda, fears, how you treat people, how you view yourself and your life. The Oracle at Delphi said "Know Thyself" and is truly the best advice that you can give and receive, as it is the key to unlocking true peace in your life. Denial is not a useful component in your life, so get real, and be patient with yourself, because this can take some time.
  3. Be open about your anxiety. It's important to talk about your panic and anxiety with the people closest to you in your life. They deserve to know how you're feeling, and you deserve this level of honesty from yourself. So let your loved ones and friends know that you're dealing with some anxiety issues, and that you're working on it. Let them know how they can be helpful during this time with you. I was very honest with my husband when I began to understand my panic disorder, and I would tell him what I required from him while I was in panic mode, so he knew how to best care for me, talk to me, and treat me when I would go into a panic attack. 
  4. Meditate and relax every day. It's important to make time for yourself, to just be. Meditation is a wonderful tool for everybody, as it helps you to intake more oxygen which is vital to the brain and blood and major organs. When you meditate you naturally begin to breathe more deeply, and this oxygenation will help you to regain equilibrium faster during an attack. Also, avoid natural triggers such as caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants like alcohol or overly processed (fast) foods. When you treat the body as a temple and nourish it with love and healthy foods and drinks you will find yourself capable of going longer between "episodes" of anxiety. I love taking baths, and the two year period in which panic was ruling my life was a time of many meditations, and baths. I would play relaxing music, light candles, and meditate in the bath; eventually this became my sacred time and space, and I began to look forward to it every evening.
  5. Keep everything in perspective. It's so important to remember the "big picture" when you go into panic mode. So create mantras for yourself, or reminders and sayings. For me, it was incredibly helpful to notice I was beginning to have anxiety, to recognize my breathing was more shallow, and I was feeling more edgy. When I would recognize this and saw an attack was coming on, I would automatically begin to breathe deeply, and tell myself things like "I am ok, there is nothing wrong, this will pass". I would remind myself that I was healthy, and whole, and had family and friends who loved me, and that I was a good person worthy of love and compassion. This always helped me to get through an attack much faster.
  6. Stop trying to control everything. I have found most people who suffer from anxiety or panic tend towards being control freaks, myself included. So it is a fundamental truth that panic can help you to learn how to trust, and have faith, because people who try to control do not have a deep sense of faith or trust. Let go your need to be in control, see that it is silly, learn that every moment is perfect as it is, and stop expecting so much of yourself and others. Learn to live and let live, and also to appreciate what you have now. Letting go of your need to control will help you to feel at peace with life the way it is.
You see, if we let the panic attack dominate, then we'll end up thinking incredibly self-defeatist thoughts, and end up exacerbating the attack by falling victim to negativity. So you have to be your own nurse, councilor, and guru; you must treat yourself like you would treat your most cherished loved one.

Panic in relation to Awakening and Enlightenment.

I have had so many people contact me through the years, through my websites and forums, saying things like "I've been meditating for years, and now I'm having anxiety, what am I doing wrong?" and I have to address this, because I see it so often. You must know that the road to self-awareness and awakening is going to have it's share of bumps and dead ends my friend. People who consciously decide to embark upon a life of awakening, and spiritual enlightenment learn along the way that we are such multi-faceted beings, and courage is required to really go all the way with this type of lifestyle, in fact the commitment required to really know yourself is all-encompassing. To know yourself you have to face all your dark, all your shadows; you must be willing to look back on everything you've done in your life and see it for what it is, without justifying your mistakes, or disowning them. You have to be ready to admit your faults, your fears, and your delusions. And it is only natural that people who dedicate themselves to this much honesty and authenticity will from time to time have to deal with issues like depression, or anxiety and panic. 

They say ignorance is bliss, and the road to enlightenment is anything but ignorant or blissful, because there will be things we encounter which challenge our belief systems, and rock the very foundation of our sense of self. It's no wonder we don't end up hyperventilating once in a while, as the body assimilates something the mind and spirit are working on understanding!

So cut yourself some slack, and know that there is nothing "wrong" with you. You are human, and we are very sensitive creatures. It is okay to have fear, to feel insecure, to question yourself and your upbringing and the very morals and principles you were raised with. To expect yourself to face all of this without having moments of weakness is an unrealistic expectation.

Know you're not alone, ever. And if things get too heavy for you to deal with at any given time, then it's time to take a break. I've taken breaks through my life, in which I've put away my cards, crystals and runes, and stopped meditating in order to give myself a rest. You can take in too much too fast, and the body will manifest panic in order to let you know it's time to slow down. So listen to your body, and try to understand that these seemingly negative episodes serve a very beautiful and divine purpose.
How else could you truly understand peace unless you first experienced and understood chaos?

I wish you much love, and infinite blessings on your journey.