It Happened So Suddenly……
A hit-and-run car accident back in high school changed my life. My then boyfriend lost his 19-year old brother to the injuries he sustained in the accident. I had never met him, but nevertheless, this event cast a dark veil over my days.
In the weeks, days, and years after, I spiraled deeper and deeper into melancholy. I began to have panic disorder in spite of striving to feel anything besides horror. I tried a number of medicines and when none of them worked, resorted to alcohol.
An Almost Tragic End
In a short time, I fell in love with a man who was also greatly depressed. Six months into our marriage, I found him slumped on our living room floor after attempting to end his life. I then called the authorities, stayed with him throughout his recovery, and went back to my unhealthy ways of dealing with all the pain.
The Guilt of It All
I scrambled through the darkness for many years, thinking that I was meant to lead a wretched existence. Over and over, I told myself that life might have been so much better if not for that hit-and-run-accident. I was convinced it was the one critical variable that had ruined my entire life.
It Had Changed My Life For The Worse
I was eventually caught up with the anxiety of living in this way. Along with the depression and anxiety, I began to experience excruciating muscle pain, uncontrollable nosebleeds, and migraines. At one point, I was using seven medications every single day and visiting a number of doctors, with no clear relief in sight.
So I Took A Stand
Finally, it was clear that I needed an alternate strategy. This was the time I decided to consider meditation. Here’s one quick and easy breathing meditation technique that helped me through my panic attacks:
1. Place your hand on your hand and belly – breathe normally.
2. Note that a deep breath is when your abdomen or your stomach area expands, not your chest.
3. Take slow deep breaths through your nose, with your stomach expanding.
4. Exhale gradually through your mouth – feel your stomach slowly contracting.
5. Concentrate on where you feel your breath – in your nostrils, in the back of your throat, or heavy in your abdomen.
6. Your mind may wander – if you notice this, return your focus back to your breathing.
From my experience, it made sense to concentrate on body awareness and how I relate to my environment because during a panic or anxiety attack, physiological senses are severe.
Focusing On The Breath
Instead of letting anxiety attacks wash over me, instead I switched my awareness to my breathing. When I did this, I felt a change in my system. Awareness of my environment made me feel as if I was falling through the ground, and I was scared that this was the anxiety attack that would destroy me. I experienced this move through my entire being. And as abruptly as I started, the stress was gone.
Acceptance Brings True Peace
Inside my panic attacks, stress was an intense manifestation of hostile memories and ideas that I did not need to encounter. I realized that to overcome stress, I learned to avoid fighting.
My Two Cents on Breathing Meditation
I cannot ensure that this simple breathing meditation will work for everyone who has problems with panic attacks. But for me, trying and doing this simple technique is well worth it.