Life, Natural Living, Wellness

Did somebody say PANIC?

I don’t care if you call them panic attacks, anxiety episodes, or just crippling heart claws from hell…unexplained moments of intense emotional confusion and physical manifestation can be paralyzing. Terrifying. And different every time.

Which is why I carry around my little bee-prepared emergency bag where ever I go.

There are lots of theories out there about why we as a society seem to be experiencing more and more occurrences of anxiety. The children and I all experience them. We have friends and family that experience them. It’s almost more normal to have them nowadays than to not. Or maybe that’s just the circles we run in. Although our circles are pretty diverse. Combat vets to homeschool moms to people finally able to peek out of their closets. Well to do members of society down to those barely able to make their rent. Some of us know where our anxiety started. Others don’t. When you’re in the middle of it, it doesn’t seem very important.

But it is.

My belief is that it stems from unresolved trauma.

Makes you wonder what could possibly be in the bag, right?

Trauma’s kind of a buzz word lately. People talk about physical trauma and mental trauma. You’ll even hear the phrase generational trauma. I’m not here to define any of that for you. Sorry. There’s enough on the internet already. I’m also not going to diagnose the root of your panic attacks.

I’m just going to tell you my story in hopes that it might help you start rewriting your own.

Pretty weird, huh? Don’t worry. We’ll talk about these at the end.

I’ve had panic attacks as far back as I can remember. Every one of them was about throwing up in public. I don’t actually know if I ever threw up at school but the thought of it terrified me often enough that my primal brain would tell you I did it every day.

I was pretty sick as a kid and nobody knew why. I was nauseated ALL THE TIME. I overheated. I was miserable. I was also over thirty before a doctor figured out why. So I had plenty of time and misdiagnoses to make me neurotic.

I still freak out and think I’m going to vomit every time I get the least bit overheated. It’s embarrassing. And that, of course, only makes it worse.

On top of a history of panic attacks from illness, I also developed panic attacks in relation to my husband’s drinking and unresolved PTSD. I’m not sure which one fed into the other, but it was a horrific combination for all of us. The kids all developed similar reactions and triggers to both the smell of alcohol and the behavior that normally went along with it.

Talking about alcoholism and PTSD in combat veterans has become much more common, but what isn’t talked about nearly as frequently are the effects these conditions have on families. Spouses and children often develop symptoms of PTSD themselves and can develop many of the same medical problems…anxiety and depression as well as physical manifestations.

Besides the smell of alcohol… Holidays. Large crowds. Loud bangs. Aggressive movements. Raised voices. Snide remarks. Emotionally charged topics. Even basic sarcasm are all triggers for us. Our mouths go dry. We start to shake. We feel like we can’t breathe. Our chests go tight. It’s kind of a mess.

Our old solution would be to do everything in our power to avoid both our own triggers and my husband’s triggers. That’s a freaking minefield when you put them together, and absolutely impossible to navigate. But we all tried anyway.

My husband quit drinking. We are all so proud of him for that. That was a HUGE first step for our family. We started using oils to try and negate any oncoming panic attacks that we caught. They didn’t help much, and I think that’s mainly because we didn’t know what we were doing and just poured them on like some magical potion that would take all of our unexplained pain away and just make it stop. Of course they didn’t. That’s way too much to ask of those little bottles. Hell, the giant bottles of alcohol hadn’t even been able to do it.

The kids and I actually stumbled across our proper way of using the oils when it seemed like our life was falling apart the most. Financially we were in a terrible spot. My husband had quit drinking, but, no longer being numb to his emotions, was struggling with FEELING everything. The kids were a wreck from years of living in an alcoholic household. We were losing our home. I could go on. I mean…If you could imagine it getting any worse…that’s where we were.

I already had a group of oils that I had been using in vain to keep my emotional balance. I finally broke down. I remember that we had been fighting again and my husband had ridden off on his motorcycle. I was crying. The kids were crying. Suddenly my chest got so tight and I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was having a freaking heart attack. I was scared. The kids were scared. One of them grabbed my oils and started anointing the back of my neck with them while telling me that it would be okay. Another chirped in that we would get through this. One affirmation after another until we all started feeling better.

From that moment forward, this is how we handled panic attacks. Whenever someone started feeling or acting off, we grabbed the oils and started speaking words of power, words of truth, words of love over that person. Slowly, we started calming down faster.

But we didn’t just calm down. We felt the need to talk. To share truths we had locked away in our hearts because we thought we had felt all of these things alone. We started to say things out loud that we had been too afraid to say before. To face things that we had been too afraid to face.

It didn’t matter that we loved one another. It didn’t matter that my husband was hurting just as badly as we were. Our household wasn’t just an alcoholic one. It was an abusive one. And the panic attacks stemmed not only from that fact but also from voicing that fact. From facing it. From the thought of healing it. From the healing process itself.

Did the oils magically do that? I believe the answer is no and yes. I think that the love we poured over each other in our moments of absolute weakness was healing. The oils served to deliver those messages straight to parts of our brains that we can’t reach any other way.

Think about your favorite smell and the how good the memory associated with that smell makes you feel. That’s the olfactory pathway’s power. Smell is strongly associated with emotion. By using the same oils with the same words of love over and over and over again to overcome our panic, we hardwired our brains to respond to the oils in that manner. So really, it was the words of love that did the healing and the oils that did the transferring. That’s why I said no and yes.

You see, some oils or scents or chemical components (however you want to break it down) have strong histories of encouraging certain emotional reactions. The particular blend of oils that the children and I use are not designed to cure panic attacks. We use Peppermint, Lavender, and Frankincense. So even though they aren’t designed to cure or treat panic attacks, let me explain why I already had them on hand for those situations.

Disclaimer time. Before I show you even one link I need to be upfront and let you know that these are affiliate links that take you directly to my oils website. All of my information can be found at the top of each page there. While I encourage you to purchase our products, I also encourage you to do your own research to make sure that you are purchasing the best possible product for your family. I also need to reaffirm that I can not diagnose, treat or cure any disease and that nothing that I say or quote here has been approved by the FDA or any other cool acronym known agencies. This is the actual experience of my family with these products and how we use them in our actual day to day life.

The first sign of an oncoming attack for me is normally feeling flushed. If I get too hot, I’m a goner. So my first oil of choice is Peppermint. You can google your own research into the oils of course, but let me share what Young Living has to say about them.

This oil can be diffused to create a stimulating, focused atmosphere for daily tasks. You can also apply it topically to create a cool, tingling sensation on the skin…

https://oily.life/witchygypsyoils/young-living/en_US/product/peppermint-essential-oil

If I make it past the flushed stage and start the emotional whirling or just heart clenching fear, I want something that will help me focus. Focus is important in not letting that fear control you.

We all know this next oil. Lavender can be found in pretty much every store in a multitude of products. I wanted an oil renowned for its calming abilities. Calm is the exact opposite of freaking out, right? Once again, everything I was looking for was in the basic product description.

May promote feelings of calm and fights occasional nervous tension {and} Has balancing properties that calm the mind and body

https://oily.life/witchygypsyoils/young-living/en_US/product/lavender-essential-oil

The last oil, Frankincense, also has a history that’s pretty hard to argue with. I mean…it’s Biblical. I was in a place in my life where I felt that divine intervention was definitely needed so an oil associated with the divine was probably in order.

Frankincense essential oil has a broad range of uses, from enhancing spiritual and meditative practice to use in beauty routines. Frankincense has an earthy, uplifting aroma that’s perfect for grounding and spiritual connectedness. Create a safe and comforting environment by diffusing this oil’s empowering aroma, particularly when you are seeking purpose or engaged in prayer or meditation.

https://oily.life/witchygypsyoils/young-living/en_US/product/frankincense-essential-oil

Now, I’m not saying that any of these oils cured our anxiety. The results we achieved probably could have been achieved with peanut butter since it was the affirmations that did the healing. The oil was just used as a transport system. However, because of these particular oils’ properties, I think they might have given us a leg up.

Here’s where those properties can make or break your healing journey. Just like Frankincense has a long honored history of being used for prayer and meditation and grounding, other oils can similarly effect your state of being. Meaning they can open you up to facing things that you might not be ready to face. Basically, the oils will get you to the door but you have to do the work to get through it. If you’re not ready or willing to face your emotional trauma, the oils aren’t going to resolve it for you.

For actually facing and talking about our experiences we have employed a variety of other oils.

Valor is a big one for us. The name says it all. The definition of valor is great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle.

Peace and Calming is another one that doesn’t need anything else said about it. We use this oil on a daily basis.

Others include:

The most important thing to remember is that you are in control of your mind and your body. You are not responsible for the pain that brought you here. But we are responsible for our healing. You can not heal if you can’t face what hurt you. You can not heal if you can’t forgive. And you can’t heal if you continue to allow yourself to be ripped up.

So set some boundaries. Face up to what is really happening. And then do the work. Surround yourself with people willing to help you do that work. To love and support you through it. Your panic attacks may never go away. Mine haven’t. The kids’ haven’t. But I’m hopeful. And I’m still sniffing my oils and hearing the empowering words of my children telling me that we will get through this. Together. Because that’s love.

If smelling an oil brings all of that to the forefront of my brain, heart, and soul…okay. I’m willing to call them

MAGICAL.

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