When I was a child I suffered from panic attacks.
Sometimes, very occassionally, I still do
Last year, I got curious and I found one way to deal with that feeling of panic and otherworldliness that a panic attack can bring. I begun to understand what I had experienced.
Turns out the thing that was actually to help me, was something I knew was there but thought it was a bad presence and always associated it with the negative experience of the panic attack. That was the truth for me.
When I got a panic attack as a child and occasionally when i've had one as an adult i've had the strangest of feelings. I felt like I was getting really small and really really large. Sometimes it was like I was flipping between the two, sometimes it was like I was both at once. A very small me inside a very large me! The feeling had always perplexed me.
This feeling of unreality and disassociation is in fact a normal part of a panic attack, but at the time, when I was small I was terrified and I would run to the safety of the nearest person for comfort and reassurance that my world wasn't going to fall down around me.
Last year I was having a coaching session with a new coach and part of that feeling came back to me. I had my eyes closed and I was considering something really difficult and painful.
But this time instead of flipping back and forth between small and large. The feeling stayed large and encompassing. I was intrigued and i sat with the feeling.
That feeling, it turns out, was MY GIANT!
In that moment I realised that the dissociation, was there to keep me safe, but this time instead of resisting and trying to chase the giant feeling away, I invited her in. I gave her a name – Daisy- the friendly flower- and asked for her help.
She enveloped the small scared me, she told me it was ok, she told me that she was there to help and keep me safe and importantly, that I was ok.
She still makes a visit to my life when I need her, wherever I am. I can draw that GIANT feeling to me when I need it.
She is always friendly. I know that I can ask for her wisdom and insight. She is an anchor and a kind of meditation.
The last time she came to visit, I was anxious about money, and the anxiety was bright red and swirling. I closed my eyes and she was there. I asked her to turn the swirling red anxiety into something peaceful. She stood with her back to me. First she turned that turmoil of anxiety into a big bunch of red gerberas – because they are her favourite- but I knew that I needed something else. A big deep breath and the petals or each flower had turned into a fluffy seed head. Just like a dandelion. The anxiety was now a completely gentle, and life giving force. I exhaled and the the seeds floated off into the air. I was calm,
It was and is a powerfully emotional experience, to be able to turn that feeling of deep uncertainty, fear and stress into a moment of calm and sense power in my core.
I am grateful for my giant.
Do you have a place, an image, an anchor in your life that helps bring you from panic and stress to calm and peace?
I'd love to hear about it if you'd like to share over on my facebook page
with peace and wonder