So my counselor friend and former officemate, Molly Kasper, contacted me about a client she had that had been experiencing anxiety and even panic attacks, because she thought he could benefit from my approach. She’s one of my go-to couples counselors, so maybe she was seeing him in marriage counseling or something. I don’t remember the details, but he was definitely having panic attacks, and I think they involved traveling. It might’ve been flying, or maybe just driving, too. He wanted to travel more but the anxiety was keeping him trapped.
So I wrote something to help him and emailed it to Molly, which she then forwarded to him. I had no contact with him, and I wouldn’t know him if he fell on me. I don’t even know his name, but I was so elated when I saw Molly later and she said he was fine, and that the travel anxiety was gone. Really?? Yes! And it wasn’t just the email, because I recommended some books as well. I think she said he read at least one of them, and it might’ve been Somebody Should Have Told Us by Jack Pransky, a really simple and powerful book. So that was very cool to hear.
And this was all before a post called You CAN Breathe: How To Have A Panic Attack, or else I would’ve sent that, too. Anyway, here’s that email. And know that it’ll be totally redundant for readers of this blog! That’s sort of the point, though. This is really simple stuff that I’m doing my best to share. Speaking of which, feel free to share it with anyone you know that might benefit; it worked for this guy, so maybe it will help them as well. So cool… Enjoy 🙂
Just copy and paste below if you wish… And that was fun writing it! I love this stuff. I might make it a blog post for other panic attackers. And I included some essential stuff to go ahead and help him on his path to enlightenment as well. Why not? Haha. Peace to you!
Rest assured that panic attacks can be overcome. What it takes is education and then practice. You will become a master of feeling. Not suppressing and resisting, but also not freaking out and/or wallowing in a story. There’s a fine line in between those two states, in which we’re present with an energy, knowing that it wants to move. In fact, a feeling is energy, so it has to move. So you’ll learn to literally relax into it without a single thought or label of good or bad. And anxiety is just one of these energies. So you’ll learn to say yes to it instead of the instinctive no. Because that hasn’t worked. Resisting it only makes it worse. And the good news is that the same rules apply to all energies in the body, including stress, anger, sadness, etc. We get out of the way and let them move when they want to.
You’ll also learn that these energies are an inside job. They do not come from outside of you. We are living in the feeling of our thinking, of our perception, meaning that whatever the mind is thinking produces a feeling in the body, 24/7/365. Like the law of gravity, it is the law. All the time. And we have two radio stations, so to speak. Only two. One is the voice in the head that’s often critical, negative, mean, and talks very fast. It also exaggerates and lies. The other, though, is the voice of built-in wisdom or plain old common sense. Or gut feeling, instinct, or intuition. Or the voice of the soul or the spirit if you’re so inclined. But “plain old common sense” works just fine, because they’re all just different words pointing to the same thing. This voice is softer, and it doesn’t try to compete with the chatterbox. And we sort of ask it something and then we let go, and we listen. And we practice and eventually this becomes the only way in which we think. High quality thinking that’s built-in instead of low quality thinking that we learned as a kid. And over time, that loud, annoying voice becomes a little gnat that we can’t even believe we empowered so much! Because it hits us more and more that nobody else even hears it. It is literally “invisible nothingness” to the rest of the world. I and I alone decide how much power to give the thoughts that are in my head. Wow, so cool…
The manual for feeling is chapter 11 of The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. It’s called Pain, the Price of Freedom. This is essential for all humans! Also see my blog post on 6-28-16 about this exact chapter: http://ashleypennewill.com/essential-topics/feeling-without-the-story-huge/. And the rest of the book is amazing, too. But this chapter is really helpful. And the book starts in chapter 1 with a sample dialogue of the voice in the head that’s spot on. And honestly, it’s hilarious! But start with chapter 11 and read it again if it helps, anytime you feel to. Even years down the road, it’ll always be there for you, and it’ll always be true. It is timeless.
A great book about our thinking is Somebody Should Have Told Us by Jack Pransky. This is also one of the main books that I recommend, and you’ll probably have to order it from Amazon or something. It’s a very relaxed, conversational book about how we all have wisdom built-in and how our body “feels our thinking” rather than feeling the world directly. In other words, our experience of life is happening inside-out and not the other way around, as I mentioned before. And it sure seems like it’s the other way around! I highly recommend this book to anyone. A very relaxed read, too.
The Space Within by Michael Neill is another book that might even take Somebody Should Have Told Us a bit deeper. I’d read Somebody first, though, to till the soil for this one should you feel to read it. And yes, feel. Not over-analyze in the head, like I’ve done a million times! And we’re free to over-analyze as much as we want, but it’s painful. These books explain it all very well, and then we finally have a choice of living a different way. Michael Neill has the same background as Jack Pransky. Definitely worth a read. And look for the deeper feelings that he talks about, starting right now in this moment! Also my blog post on that: http://ashleypennewill.com/other-cool-topics/deeper-feelings-of-peace-in-you/. This is the opposite of a panic attack, and it’s living inside of you right now, as the ground or foundation upon which all other feelings come and go. Amazing.
And finally, you might also benefit from something online called Panic Away. Part of it is a book in pdf format that’s a pretty quick read. Half is about general anxiety and half is about panic attacks. Start with the panic attack part. The “21 second countdown” works, too. Know that it might seem scary at first. You’ll get used to it, though, and then these attacks will roll right through you faster and faster and then they’ll start to whimper out. And then eventually they won’t come at all. You got this, and I’m always here to help if I can.
One more thing – if it’s old stuff that’s the problem, old gunk that’s stuck, including trauma, I’ve been trained in something pretty amazing called EMDR. It’s designed to get right to the source, clearing out those old energies of pain and enabling wisdom and insight to come through even more. So that’s always an option. The stories I’ve written about it are here: http://ashleypennewill.com/category/emdr-mind-blowing-sessions/. So that’s always an option if it resonates. You’ll feel it as you read the posts, if it’s a “yes” for you. And when we get cleared out, that natural source of peace comes through even more. Because it’s already there; it’s just been covered up. You got this, and I’m here to help if I can. All the best.