Today started out rough. I woke feeling anxious. No particular thoughts causing me distress, just a discomfort in my body. I had a Harry Potter audiobook on; I use the Harry Potter audiobooks like white noise while I sleep. They relax me. But soon my agitation grew, so I switched over to some soothing music. But that felt like sandpaper on my nerves, so I switched over to my meditation soundtrack. No. Just no.
My anxiety grew. Intensified to the point that I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I always feel my anxiety most strongly in my shoulders. I shake my arms to try to dispel the feeling of tension, the feeling like I'm being held down by my shoulders. Shaking my arms doesn't really help, but it's my natural reaction. Well, I guess it helps a little. Sometimes it gets me through the worst of it. Not today.
My anxiety climbed. Maybe I just needed silence. So I turned it all off. And that was better. My body's stress didn't go down, but it leveled out. I just breathed in the stillness for a bit. Deep breaths. Willing my body to relax.
I prayed for help.
I felt prompted I should listen to a church talk. Luckily, I have several on my mp3 player that I sometimes listen to when I walk. I searched through my list, not really looking for a particular talk, just the right soothing voice. Then I saw the one. Jesus Christ - The Master Healer. If there was anything I needed right then, it was healing.
It was given by Elder Russell M. Nelson, a leader in our church, who does (in fact) have a very soothing voice and manner of address. As I listened to his words, I sought release. I sought a connection with God that would take away my current suffering.
And then a panic attack hit. Hard.
Suddenly I was gasping. Crying. Sobbing. It felt like my throat was closing up. The distress in my body grew. My headache exploded. I cried and cried, clenching at my throat and pressing my hand against my forehead. I had been propped up in my bed, but had to get rid of the pillows and lie flat to try to relieve my throat.
Talk yourself through it. You can do this. Talk yourself down. I tried to remember all I've learned to get through a moment like that. Nothing. And then a vague recollection of how brief it was likely to be. A knowledge that even though it felt like I would die, I wouldn't really.
I began to pay attention to my breathing. Even though I could feel my throat constricting, the muscles tightening, my breathing was still fine. No restriction. No limitation.
But still - panic! Ridiculous, overwhelming panic. And the talk continued. The soothing voice strengthening me even then.
I let myself cry. I let my breaths heave. I let my body work through whatever it needed to work through.
As the talk ended, the panic began to subside. But the anxiety was still there. How would I get rid of that? I need to go to church. I have a calling to perform.
Slow down. I felt prompted strongly to slow down today. I have a tendency to rush around in the morning getting ready and to be highly energetic in my calling. Today, I need to slow down. I need to not do anything which will feed the adrenaline. I need to relieve my body.
Stretch. I felt prompted to stretch. I stretched my legs. I did the stretches for my plantar fasciitis. It helped. I could feel my body releasing a little.
Wash your face. Okay, that might sound like a strange prompting. But I have a very minimal morning hygiene routine. Generally just a quick splash of water on my face. Today I was supposed to wash my face. Gently. Circular motions. Massaging my face slowly. Warm water. More release.
Lotion. Put on some lotion. I put some baby lotion in my hands, rubbed them together a bit, and gently applied it to my face. A similar massaging action. Lovingly. Slowly. And my body calmed.
There is still a remnant of anxiety in my body, just under the surface. I still need to go slow today. I still need to be gentle with myself. Mindful of myself. But I will get through it unscathed. I will be the better for it.
I believe I was touched by the Master Healer this morning. I was guided through healing techniques I had learned but couldn't recall in that moment. And I'm grateful. And I testify. Truth.