Panic Attack Station
I can confirm from Greek police that sunbathing topless does not invite a man to grab your boob when you are at home & he is apparently fixing your broken hot water.
Then as I told a colleague about this incident he thought it an opportunity to become overly friendly, and with no response from my colleagues standing around me I bolted from him!
Yes, I smile and am friendly, but that doesn't make me an object for men to touch! What makes a man think that if they pretend to be cheeky it is ok to invade your physical space? I had been working on my 'romantic relationships' lately & know nothing is a coincidence.
The following morning I attended a Hatha Yoga class and 30 minutes into the class I could feel my body commencing a panic attack. It has been 6 years since I suffered panic attacks - those ones where you can't breathe and many think that they are dying.
However, this one was different as I was acutely aware of the physical aspects in my body and their energetic bodies shifting. The events of the day before had brought up my primal fear as a woman and my safety from men. No surprise that I had a panic attack given the unpleasantness albeit not seriously threatening.
When I had panic attacks before I was married. Admittedly, it was the end of my marriage when I felt trapped and angry with lost freedom and safety. I would have panic attacks several hours after an argument, in my sleep when I was relaxed enough for the fear to arise rather than my fight mode when I was awake (or flight as in Greece). Under pressure I always respond calmly, logically and emotionally aware - it made me great at several first aid incidents, stage management in theatre and an in-house lawyer. The consequence is that my survival mode at the time has a reset mode afterwards where all the flooding emotions of fear take over. I melt down.
I often think back to my skydive in 2010 when I consider my flight, fight or freeze response. I consider myself a 'freeze' person - often I faint and lose consciousness when in situations I do not physically sense well in my body (this is the reptilian brain kicking into action), but I when really faced with danger I admit I am a 'fight' person (mammalian fight-flight response). Even in a failing marriage my instinct was to fight to fix it rather than the honest admission of flight when there was nothing to fix. This is natural as the mammalian brain operates before the reptilian brain for freeze mode, which is for when there is no other option. My skydive was a freeze during the fall because there was no way out except to shut down!
The week after the Greek incidents was challenging. I could feel myself vulnerable energetically and emotionally to others around me, especially in teaching and massages. I had to focus hard to meditate and self-practice on my own body. Yet I wondered a great deal about what in my relationships with men was so fearful; what did I need to release to change my 'man karma'?
Shrug it Off
Nine days later unable to find support of another therapist to help me shift the experience I took matters into my own hands - what do I teach others to do? Cooking calms me when I am alone with time to dance with music as I chop. A walk in nature resets my mind to remember the beauty and abundance around me. Meditation and free movement provides a clearing from all of my being to reconnect with my deeper Self. My reading from Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi focuses my mind on the larger spiritual aspect of my life and one reading had repeatedly come to my attention:
"Although he may appear grief-stricken like any other man in bereavement, yet he evinces just the right love of and pity for the sense which he earlier controlled before he realised that they were mere instruments and manifestations of the Supreme Being. When he seems keenly interested in the wonders of the world, he is only ridiculing the ignorance born of superimposition. If he appears indulging in sexual pleasures, he must be taken to enjoy the ever-inherent bliss of Self, which, divided Itself into the Individual Self and the Universal Self, delights in their reunion to regain the original nature. If he appears wrathful he means well to the offenders. All his actions should be taken to be only divine manifestations on the plane of humanity. There should not arise even the least doubt to his being emancipated whole yet alive. He lives only for the good of the world." ~ Talk 449 on 31 January 1938
After a day of these acts I did not care what I needed to release; it had just gone. I realised that: My body is only my shell for this lifetime experience. My soul is safe in my heart through all my lifetimes - these may be as a man too, but if I care for my soul then the physical body's experiences will pass as only a mere manifestation on the plane of humanity. The fear of men was no more a part of me.
How do you release that deep fear of a panic attack?
Firstly, it's scary. This is a fundamental root fear to your right to exist on this Earth that initiates a panic attack.
Many of us consider a panic attack arises from the whirlwind of the mind chatter. You feel that there is a series of tornados that speed around inside your head, which sends your body into an overwhelmed frenzy of meltdown.
Panic attacks are a lack of connection to the Earth: ungrounded. A large amount of the work is to become grounded. Without this no release of a fear will be
- Ground yourself - get into your body. Know your body sensations & how to experience them with compassion and without judgment. Physical touch therapies like massage can help us come back to our physical senses.
- Anxiety causes - what makes your anxiety rise that drives a panic attack? Your body sensations can tell you the cause before your mind is aware of the anxiety. Become aware of changes in breathing rate & quality, shoulders lifting, weight forward & puffing your chest - these are all the physical signs of fight or flight postures.
- Root fear of anxiety - If you can identify it can help. Perhaps it is that you do not feel that you have a purpose? Not being loved, connected, a part of the crowd? A lack of your own uniqueness? Unsafe and vulnerable? Losing all you have? Fear of not having enough?
- Forget it - All experiences are passing - physical, emotional, mental and in this lifetime. You have a choice to relive an experience in your life or take it to make a change in yourself. Let the emotion flow through & out of you - return it to the person who 'caused' your response. If you set free that which makes you anxious then it can no longer hold you back.
When I told my step-dad the story of these incidents, I realised that my fear of men was a loss of my own voice and individuality. To not be able to shout for help when threatened physically, to not feel I could answer back to my husband's emotional struggles and the idea that a relationship destroys my independent self. The recollection that we are all a Universal Consciousness connected as One, then to lose my own voice is not a loss I need to fear.