Jeanne had her first panic attack a few months after the birth of her son in 1997, and struggled for several years after to find lasting relief.
“I felt like I’d been suddenly thrown into a pitch-black maze of claustrophobic, underwater caves, with no hope of escape. With what felt like life-threatening unknowns stalking me like prey… to say I was overwhelmed and all consumed with moment-to-moment survival is a gross understatement.”
Recovery required a complete life assessment: “I had been anxious my whole life and didn’t know it. Being on high alert felt normal to me, and looking back, I now realize that I was having trouble managing my anxiety as early as third grade.”
But the panic felt like it came out of the blue.
"Up until becoming pregnant, I had spent almost all my time outside working with horses. The temporary time-out from physical activity I had to take with having a new baby, combined with an unconscious habit of trying to make everyone around me happy, resulted in out of control anxiety. My low point was a traumatic trip to the hospital in the back of an ambulance for a devastating panic attack."
Anxiety and panic are debilitating.
But here’s the deal. We are here for one purpose: to live our joy. And the urge to “help” is actually answered in doing just that. BUT living our joy means being ourselves, right? Truly, openly, holding nothing back, being ourselves. And the level of anxiety shows us where we are with that; it shows us the distance between what we show to the world and the real self under the surface, the degree to which we are able to truly be openly authentic.
So the “purpose” of our life of living our joy comes with the very real skill of self-acceptance. Can you see how this works?
Jeanne is Certified as a Master Intuitive Coach and Master Trainer with Colette Baron-Reid’s Invision Process® and uses this as a coaching tool to now help others reclaim their lives. The Invision Process® is one of the most effective tools for coaches and therapists to use to shift clients into new energetic and emotional states of being, and to uncover the subconscious drivers that are feeding anxiety. It's transformative, fascinating, and fun!
Do you ever feel like you are being stalked by some unseen danger? That all too familiar and surging sense of doom barely at bay? You can’t ever completely relax, because you don’t know when or where a threat will show up, nor do you even know for sure what it will look like. You just know that without hypervigilance, you will surely die. Your Spidey senses stay on high alert and compel you to be very wary of everything around you, because you know that you have to be ready…
Is this the face of extreme anxiety? No, it’s a moment in the life of… an undomesticated HORSE.
Yep! I said “horse,” and of course, those words aren’t passing through a horse’s head, but viewing its survival instincts as an internal, human-like conversation gives us insight into ourselves. Let’s look more closely at how we develop relationships with horses to see why and how this can help us.
Horses and humans share a very long history. Developing safe relationships with these large, strong, and intelligent animals meant that somewhere along the way, we had to figure out how to neutralize the mechanism they so heavily depend upon for survival: fight or flight. Even if you don’t have direct experience with a horse, it’s not hard to imagine the danger present being near a frightened horse, making it easy to understand that in order to be near them, ride them, and have them do things for us, we had to figure out how to safely partner with 1000+ lbs of potential panic.
This is really, really, really good news for those of us who suffer from extreme anxiety and panic.
Why? The presence of panic attacks in people is simply an indicator that the fight or flight response is turned on full time, which we just talked about knowing how to tame in a horse. Here’s the miracle: undoing the drivers of fight or flight for humans is nearly the same process as doing it for a horse. I know this because I’ve been around and worked with these magnificent animals for nearly 40 years, AND I used to suffer from debilitating panic attacks. What I’ve learned through my experiences is that taming both is a journey from fear to love.
Jeanne lives among the beautiful hills of Garrett County, MD with her extended family of fur babies. Here she also organizes and facilitates weekend retreats with the horses, through her co-owned business Mystic Mountain Retreats.
I've had many experiences that fall outside our currently accepted definition of reality. For most of my life, I kept them to myself, sharing only with a few close friends, but now I believe that they are an integral part of our ability to make the journey from Fear to Love.
The only way we will be able to create lasting, positive change in our lives and the world at large is to transcend the reality that our problems exist in. Keep in mind that I'm someone who is afraid to take Tylenol and will argue that one full cup of coffee is a lot! Meaning, none of my experiences have been facilitated by taking any type of drugs. My world has been scary enough without it.
But about that fear... it's not our destiny.
Yes, fear a very real player in this "reality," but it has no legs to stand on when you are able to access a realm/perspective where you discover that you are always, always, always safe. When you learn through personal experience that you are much more than your physical body, when you see colors that don't exist here that you can't describe - paralyzing beauty - when you experience a type of completely unconditional acceptance and LOVE that fills you and obliterates every question about who and what you are, ALL fear evaporates.
It simply cannot exist when we reach that level of expanded awareness.
So the truth here is that anxiety is a messenger. The wrongness we feel is not a personal flaw - it is begging us to see that our collective view of the world is faulty and that our belief about what we are is tragically lacking.
All the strangeness you hear about or may be experiencing but are afraid to talk about is the realer than real place we are being called to. It's time for us to let it in.