Dr Cheryl Meier's Blog

Walk in Love

Category: Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks, Part 2

I am sitting here, quieting my mind, open to what surfaces regarding how to teach and inspire you even more, in this one hour I have to write this, on the subject of Panic Attacks.

I trust what comes to surface, I am thinking of the amazing singer and lyricist, Freddie Mercury.  His song, “Play the Game” is what I “hear”:

Open up your mind and let me step inside
Rest your weary head and let your heart decide
It’s so easy, when you know the rules
It’s so easy, all you have to do
Is fall in love
Play the game,
Everybody play the game of love…

The idea of letting someone into our intimate space can provoke anxiety for some.  We were created with this longing to love, to be loved, to know, and to be known…to have a purpose, a destiny and fulfill it.  I like how Freddie Mercury brings up this idea of a game– because there is a risk in a game, of losing.  One of the elements of love is that it involves free-will.  A person can always invest and then step out, move away, hurt us, etc.  We can choose “not to play” and then miss out all together and freeze our hearts, or cover them with plastic fakeness, or bitterness and sarcasm, or harden them with a wall of stone.

We are often so used to our heart in one of those hardened conditions that we don’t even realize it!  We can have sadness, broken beliefs, bad experiences from early childhood and we stuffed down our confusion, anger, rage, grief, guilt, etc– and it is like you put dry-wall plaster over it all and hope that it just goes away.  It is a way of disassociating with it or dis-identifying with it.  We do not like all of that… so we “bury it,”

like Elliott’s song so aptly describes:

his body’d been buried below
Way back in the day
Oh my, nothing else could have been done
He made his life a lie so
He might never have to know anyone
Made his life a lie you know…

~ Elliott Smith

Why wouldn’t we want to act like everything is perfect and fine now?  We really really do not wish to repeat the trauma or chaos or rejection and pain we felt from the past, so we think if we just bury it below then we can move on and build a happy life and learn to love again.  Unfortunately, that is like building a house on sinking sand.  It’s not as if we even “think” this out, as a child.  If we experience pain and no one is there to teach us what to do with it or how to walk through it and release it…or if no one is there to comfort us and love us — what else are we going to do?

I need a sound bite of Henry Rollin’s song, where he screams out ….”rage…I love you and hate you both at the same time…” His solution is to crush the rage somehow and turn it into a diamond.

There is something to that… in a way.  I met with this professor a couple weeks ago, he had been a pastor in Santa Barbara for many years, Dr. Jerry Root.  He said “pain that isn’t transformed, is transferred…”

I could honestly write 1,000 pages right now on what that means, looks like, etc.  We have this limitation of time.  There’s no way I would sit and read a 1,000 page blog post! I know myself better than that, so I won’t write one for you!

So, lets understand, like the alchemists of the past– they wanted to transform lead into gold.  It is no “coincidence” or accident that Christ’s first miracle was to turn water into wine.  He was turning one liquid substance, water, used for cleansing, into another, rich, and beautifully tasting substance– wine.  The master of the ceremonies of the wedding said “you have saved the best for last…”  Of course, if you know me, you know I wish to talk about all of the amazing spiritual insights and depths we could go into with just this first miracle as recorded in the Gospels… but let’s stay, today, on this topic — of why we get these “anxiety attacks” seemingly out of nowhere.

So, imagine, if the theory that I laid out so far is correct — first, we are innocent children, we “let someone inside our mind/heart” and we play the game of love…we get hurt or crushed in some way…”we bury the ‘body'” and live a lie, so that we never have to “know” anyone.  How can we know anyone or anyone really know us when we have our child self that has been cut off and ostracized from ourselves like a pariah carrying our shame– we want nothing to do with that pain.  Yet, some part of our subconscious selves KNOWS that we have buried someone.  It feels the guilt and weight of that.

The other part of “never have to know anyone” is that we have created a wall around our heart (with the plaster, etc.) and now we have a built-in barrier between ourselves and other people.

Before we go on to see the “cure” — Look for a second at how you can “tell” your heart has been plastered over.  I know some people– that insist “I had a great childhood, nothing was ever wrong…”  and yet the father was an alcoholic, or both spouses were cheating on each other or one of them was, etc.  (The cheating is an indication that something is broken down and not working in that family.)  But, how a person like that could “test” their own hearts — is to examine:

“Am I always looking down on other people? judging them, gossiping about them, telling their “wrong doings” to others, making slighting comments and putting them down?”

This is a person who is not living in meekness and humility.  When we are that way, our actions are telling us that we have this dark, broken part of ourselves buried below, disconnected from ourselves and we have no desire to be reconciled to that part of ourselves and love, transform, heal and forgive/integrate the child we cut off, back into our own person.

I was reading the scriptures the other day (in the daily prayer readings) and the Prophet Ezekiel had written this re: God:

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
The New Living translation says:

“I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” (Eze 36:26)

For me, regardless of what any skeptics say about God– I am so amazed, still, all the time, that we have these writings in Holy Scriptures, and in the life that Christ lived out in his own body —we have access to the Father, God– Creator of all things, and that this same God, is interested in restoring us and healing us.  In one sense, all of the scriptures, if you read the whole Bible in one long sitting, you would just see this pattern of God offering His constant love, and people turning to block Him off — and make idols, and form hearts of stones, then God keeps accepting them back, providing a means of forgiveness while not excusing their wrong doing— we wreck it again, there He is offering love again….

I have to wrap this blog post up because I leave in about 5 min.

Here was the commentary at that verse about how God wants to reveal to us the path to make our hearts tender again & not leave us there, lost in the pain and trauma of our childhood.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
“36:25-38 Water is an emblem of the cleansing our polluted souls from sin. But no water can do more than take away the filth of the flesh. Water seems in general the sacramental sign of the sanctifying influences of the Holy Ghost; yet this is always connected with the atoning blood of Christ. When the latter is applied by faith to the conscience, to cleanse it from evil works, the former is always applied to the powers of the soul, to purify it from the pollution of sin. All that have an interest in the new covenant, have a new heart and a new spirit, in order to their walking in newness of life. God would give a heart of flesh, a soft and tender heart, complying with his holy will. Renewing grace works as great a change in the soul, as the turning a dead stone into living flesh. God will put his Spirit within, as a Teacher, Guide, and Sanctifier. The promise of God’s grace to fit us for our duty, should quicken our constant care and endeavor to do our duty. These are promises to be pleaded by, and will be fulfilled to, all true believers in every age.”

I honestly think this age old tradition of praying “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me” aka “kyrie eleison” can and will transform all of our deep psychological wounds… but it is a mystical and contemplative practice.  I don’t mean just substituting our anxiety and obsessive “pushing down” with reciting a prayer mindlessly — but mindful, and sincere — When we sincerely ask God, He can help us see what is disconnected in us and enlighten us and fill us with His Spirit and Truth to cleanse and re-join these cut off parts.

Much love to you always

Panic Attacks and What Not…

I’ve had a lot of people recently come to me about anxiety attacks and panic attacks so I am going to teach you here, best I can, in a very short amount of time, so that you can be more prepared if you enter into an anxious time in your life or so that you can be equipped to be of assistance to the people you love around you…and we are invited to truly love everyone…so, no pressure!

Ok, so, in Montreal, back in the late 1990’s, Dr. Surkis taught me that a panic attack is when “you attack yourself with your own anxiety”.  Consider, if you have a deep deep wound or fear, that you didn’t even realize you sealed off or pushed down — then, something happens in your present life– like a health scare, a job change, a new crossroads on your path suddenly opens up and it stirs up and awakens this fear deep down below.  Your normal coping mechanisms are all at play and yet they are not working. The fear of possibly having more intimacy can provoke this as well.

In our childhood we let all sorts of people (like our parents) close to us.  They are not perfect people and they have also made many destructive or unconscious choices in their lives — they are not filled with the perfection of love — so, basically, we have these people in our intimate space and they hurt us.  Why wouldn’t that provoke anxiety within us about the idea of intimacy?

Some of us have experienced more traumatic rejection, abuse, or coldness than others, but it is not ours to compare with others, only BE compassionate, I urge you.  Choose not to judge where another person has come from and neither judge your own experience as “impossible to get over” — Honestly, this sounds cliche’, but if there is a Creator God that created us all, which, I believe there is, then the words are true that Jesus said: “with man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible…”  (I am reminded of what Audrey Hepburn said, look at the word impossible a different way and you see:

“I’m possible” ).

Why do you think this is, that with God, this relief, this healing is possible?  We are both physical flesh and we are also Spirit.  Jesus is called the “Author of Peace” … St Paul says of Jesus “For He Himself is our peace.”   Regardless of your religion — consider, what if Jesus embodied the Spirit of God in all perfection?  In the Psalms we read this song:  “I will rescue those who love me.  I will protect those who trust in my name.  When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble.  I will rescue them and honor them…and give them my salvation.” (Ps. 91)

Salvation has to do with healing, restoring, bringing to right– even if you think of a “salve” a healing balm that works in us to heal all of the broken parts.  I just now looked up Psalm 91, to bring you the Hebrew word they have in that verse for Salvation– you’ll never believe what it is!?

yĕshuw`ah” 

יְשׁוּעָה

is the Hebrew text.  (Read from right to left) I took Hebrew for a couple semesters in college — “Yeshua” is the name “Jesus” — it is the Hebrew name for Jesus  — It is what Jesus parents would have called him… if your name now is Joshua– your name means “salvation” — So it is like the verse is saying to us, 1,000 plus years before Jesus, ” I will give them my Yeshua.”

I cannot believe I forgot this Hebrew word.

So, the Strong’s Hebrew definition is “to save, be saved, be delivered…”

So, to go back to the beginning of this blog post, because I didn’t complete the first thought presented here, what Dr. Surkis said about how we attack our own selves with panic.  He would tell us to always go to the origin and real definition of a word –(that’s why I chose Montreal, to go to this internship– because I love words and finding their origin!)  –Anyways, Pan comes from the Norse god “Pan” the being that would play the flute and everyone in the village couldn’t help themselves but they would  start dancing and follow him.  He represents our raw impulses and emotions in a wild way.  This whole idea of “panic” has to do with “I am afraid of my own impulses.”  Consider this theory, that we have huge anger, rage, sadness, grief and guilt about our past — and all of these emotions are pushed down until some new fear activates them.
We feel overwhelmed by these feelings and do not know how to handle it… The classic example of this is when people are afraid to drive on the freeway — because, as Dr. Surkis would teach us, — the highway is this big open road and you are in a car–this big thing/object that has the possibility of causing death– and other people are on the freeway and they can hurt us possibly.   You can also drive “anywhere” and go really fast on the freeway.   Look at how I described some people’s childhood!  Look at these cars and the freeway as a metaphor.  We do not wish to recreate the pain of our own childhood!  We don’t realize consciously why suddenly we are afraid of the road — but it is such a “perfect” match to the fear from what is buried down in our childhood.

I only gave myself one hour to write this, so I will have to continue a “Part 2” of this — I do not want to “leave you here” but I have a goal to stay consistent with writing and helping people here, so I have to use the time I set aside.  In order to do this, I have to set aside my perfectionism and my wish to include EVERYthing in one post.

Suffice it to say, God is still, God, — He is Spirit and He gave us His name when, as St. Luke recorded:  the angel of The Lord came to Mary and said “Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of King David, his ancestor….his kingdom will never end” (That is the NCV of Luke 1:31…) 

Regardless of what me, or any psychologist says, — I believe that God loves us and has the power to bring us healing and heal all of these old old deep set wounds.  We are afraid to let someone heal us because that would require closeness and then we could get hurt again.  — Sometimes, we think we would rather get lost in all of our anxiety– as painful as it is — than allow healing — but it is so important that we seek Truth in our innermost self and we do not let the darkness and evil of the past determine the rest of our lives — not when we have Jesus who says to us “I AM the Way…”

It is a great mystery to dwell upon.  I am not offering any cartoon version of Jesus but to seek these mysteries of God and let them begin to unfold in your life.  You are not alone in your anxiety.  It can be terrifying — believe me, I come at times, desperate before God.

I’ll write more on this… Much Love to you always.  Feel free to comment and ask more, so I know what you guys would like answers about….

Watch this 2 minute video– it shows us what goes on in us internally as children!