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From Panic Attacks to a Whole New Life

24 Apr

This beautifully written and inspiring letter came to the office on March 7th.

Dear Ms. Belleruth Naparstek,

My life was shattered when my 5-yr-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. After a nasty case of strep throat that recurred a week later, Alana’s pediatrician ordered a series of blood tests that revealed falling hemoglobin and platelet counts. She directed us to drive her to the Children’s Hospital 4 hours away, as soon as possible. By the time we arrived, Alana was so white she looked as if she wouldn’t make it through the night.

Three days later she was officially diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and the three week induction phase of treatment began. It was then that I began having panic attacks.  I would be sitting in the hospital with Alana and if no other family members were present, I would begin to feel waves of adrenaline flooding my system, followed by shallow breathing, which would only scare me and make the symptoms worse.

Three months prior to Alana’s diagnosis, I had a panic attack on an airplane, followed by one while I was driving from Nevada to Southern California with both my children.  My physician gave me tranquillizers for any future events and referred me to a psychologist.

I didn’t call the psychologist until I was at the Children’s Hospital and the panic attacks and anxiety were occurring every day.

My psychologist worked with me on relaxation techniques and gave me a few of your CDs: Meditations to Relieve Stress, Relaxation & Wellness, and Healthful Sleep,. Meanwhile, my medical doctor prescribed Lexapro. I took one pill and ended up in the ER with heart palpitations, difficulty breathing and shaking. After that I refused to try another SSRI.  I ended up seeing a psychiatrist who ended up putting me on a low dose of Depakote and Ativan for 6 months.

Once my therapist learned more of my history, she diagnosed me with PTSD. In October of 2009, she asked me to listen to your Healing Trauma, CD for the first time, following a few months of learning to meditate and relax using your CDs.

The week prior to listening to Healing Trauma, my therapist asked me to draw pictures illustrating my feelings about my mother and the obvious transference issues that were arising for me. Not being an artist, this was a challenging assignment, but helpful. So when I listened to Healing Trauma, I drew a couple of pictures with oil pastels and wrote a narrative describing my experience. But the CD and the accompanying images were so intense, I didn’t want to listen again. My psychologist urged me to continue.

I listened to Healing Trauma 4 times a week for the next couple months, always drawing pictures and writing narratives about my experience. My mind was changing the images to reveal what appeared in my own subconscious and began to radically depart from the prompts in the recording.
 
At that point, I stopped listening to the CD and began doing meditations on my own without the aid of guidance or music. By this time, I had become quite expert at entering the Alpha State fairly quickly, something I never thought would happen, being a left-brain oriented person who had worked in the high-stress political realm in Washington DC as a spokesperson and lobbyist. Meditation was something that had never intrigued me,. Yet Here I was, engaging in it every day and seeing it alleviate the anxiety that had crippled my life and left me unable to accomplish even the most simple daily tasks.
 
As I embarked on my own meditations using the Healing Trauma format of exploring my outer, then my inner heart, I began to seeing images of buried traumatic experiences that were exposed to healing energy when I entered my inner heart, and I would encounter guides who spoke words of esoteric wisdom. Before long, I was seeing images that contained universal symbolic meanings, perfectly applicable to my life, that I could not possibly have known, other than by tapping into the knowledge available through the collective unconscious or thorugh spirit guides that presented themselves during these meditations.

In one meditation, I pulled a large red book from a shelf and opened it to see drawings and scripts. I heard the words “Septum Sermones”. Upon finishing my meditation, I looked up those words and found that they were one title of one of Jung’s works, and that he had compiled a book of his own meditations called The Red Book, neither of which I had heard of before in my life.
 
One year later, without the aid of SSRI’s and with limited use of other medications which I discontinued 6 months later, I felt like a new person.  I had 463 drawings and accompanying narratives. My therapist and I continued on to phase 2 of my meditations four months ago, where I ask specific questions, then wait to see what is revealed during my 30-45 minute journey that generally follows the same conflict and resolution format that corresponds with the original journey from the outer to inner heart. All I can say is that using your Healing Trauma recording has not only helped alleviate my symptoms, which alone would have been enough, but it has completely revolutionized my life. I finally feel as if I’ve reached a place of peace for the first time ever.
 
My therapist and I met with a trauma specialist, who took a look at my drawings and narratives and strongly urged me to write a book describing the process and outlining a technique, utilizing your materials, that others could use as well. I am also in the process of sharing my journey with an old friend, renowned Jungian analyst and past president of the C.G. Jung Foundation in Zurich and lecturer at Harvard, Yale, etc, Dr. Jeffrey Satinover.

I just wanted to write and thank you for your work. My life has been touched in a profound way, and I am most grateful. It brings to mind the immortal words of Dr. Seuss who is on my mind after schools across the country celebrated his birthday yesterday: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

Sincerely,
Y.S.

p.s. My daughter used the Magic Island relaxation CD every time her medi-port was accessed for her chemotherapy treatments. She absolutely loved it. For the first several months, it was the only thing that would help calm her down.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award