Once I couldn’t breathe

Panic-attack by George Grie

Once I couldn’t breathe. Lungs felt constricted, small. Deep breaths weren’t possible. With shallow breath, came fear, panic. It could strike anytime, anywhere. Panic-attacks really can feel like dying. You can’t breathe, heart beats painfully, reality narrows down to a gauntlet of worst nightmares.

I became obsessed with avoiding. Perpetually on my watch, fearful of anything that awoke the panic. Eventually I became a nervous wreck, who couldn’t face public commuting, certain neighborhoods or going to my childhood small-town.
Life dwindled.

One day, a wise woman, asked how my breath was. First the question made little sense, but eventually I realized I didn’t breathe deep, with my stomach. The way I learned as a singer. Retraining, I discovered a connection with true-self, a path to less stress.
Possibility of self-love.
My voice.

There are moments between heart-beats.
Between breaths.
Wherein lies lifes true meaning.

© RedCat

I’m back to turning my life into prose or poetry. Here in just 144 words, I try to tell how full fledged anxiety and/or PTSD induced panic-attacks feel, what they do to you, and what I found to help me.

This is also much on my mind since I’m back to doing breath-exercises. It seems I have more to learn in this area too. Especially relating to breathing, meditating and self-compassion.

Posted in response to Prosery: Between Heartbeats.

Breathe deep, Breathe slow

Close your eyes
Breathe deep
Breathe slow
Go to that wholly safe inner place

Relax there
Breathe deep
Breathe slow
Remain safe and secure in your sanctum
There are moments between breaths
There are moments between heart-beats

Steady yourself
Breathe deep
Breathe slow
Size the moments betwixt and between
Attune yourself to that innermost voice
That force of true self

Be present
Breathe deep
Breathe slow
Discover your inner light
The divine spirit.
Guiding inborn radiance

Bask in sunlight
Breathe deep
Breathe slow
Release all your pain, suffering, struggle
Find solace in compassionate safety

Be safe
Breathe deep
Breathe slow
Fortify yourself for the journey ahead
Ground yourself in wisdom and faith
Know your inner worth, strength, love, kindness

Be you
Breathe deep
Breathe slow
Make your peace with the ego-materialistic modern society
Realize, living your true self will be seen
as the most dangerous thoughts of all


I’ve written before about my current depression, and my fight to get real help. The machine of Swedish mental healthcare are, let’s say glacial, in it’s pace, and tend to favour pills over therapy.

Even so, while pondering which approach to therapy they might grant me. They asked if I’d participate in group Compassion-focused therapy (CFT). And I said yes, so now I’ll do eight weeks of CFT. So far, beyond trying to explain our emotion regulation systems, it’s mostly been light meditation and breath work. Which stand as inspiration for this piece.

I’ll be back to the subject of compassion and CFT later.

This weeks earthweal prompt has to do with finding hope. And even though my mind keeps spinning around the subject in all its forms, nothing coalesce and really takes shape. More work required obviously.
So instead I wrote about what helps me feel hope right now, which is meditation and breath-work.

Also posted to Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge–February 18, 2020.

My own room with a view

I wonder if anyone still remembers – A Room with a View – the book or the movie. I wonder if I remember it well enough…
Rooms as symbols for society and its constraints. Views symbols for nature and freedom. Meaning rooms with views is a metaphor for being able to choose your own life freely.
I wonder if people still confuse it with – A Room of One’s Own – that classic feminism essay.

But I digress…

For years I had a dream of my own writing-nook. But as most of my dreams it has stayed ethereal through several residences. I’ve never felt the right to push the issue. My worthiness issues you know. And the fact that my writing was spotty and sporadic at best. So it never happened.

I’m trying to get out of this muddle, to cope with my PTSD and current depression, to change my life to something truly good for me. Not just wanting change. But using previous experience to make a plan, or several actually, and taking steps to fulfill those plans. Small steps, one after another, different from how I did before.

So one of my goals became to make myself a nook. And tonight I did. Claimed a corner in the house as mine. Changed everything about it. Put in a big comfy armchair to cuddle up in and write. Some green potted plants just because I like them. Good lighting. Everything I can need within reach. Notebooks, journal, planner, pens, pens, pens. And some candle holders for the ambiance.

When I was done and sat down in my chair. I experienced a sense of accomplishment I normally don’t feel in my private life. And I felt it without constant interruptions from inner negative voices.
There where even some positive ones, but don’t tell anyone. ;-)

So, NO, I sure as hell don’t have all the answers, but what I’m doing now seems to bring positive change, so I’ll keep at it. And keep looking for things I could be doing.

Do you have any suggestions?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — Human Performance Psychology

When I say something about PTSD I’m often met with a vague fiction or trash-media inspired view.

Add to that it’s damn near impossible to explain how anyone can get that untethered in time and space.
People who don´t know me see me as; Calm, collected, resilient, on top of every crisis, stress resistant. Most of then resist the idea that I could stop being that with a push of a button.
But a button is what a trigger is. I’ve learned to recognize and if need be avoid most of them. And so avoid activating my PTSD. It took years of therapy and work to reach that.

But no one is ever fully taught. Or fully free from PTSD.

IF resent history teaches me anything it’s that there is still triggers BIG enough out there to send me tumbling down a hell-hole sooooo fast that I’m not even aware whats happening. That’s scary to admit, and scary to experience. And when that happens to anyone else out there I pray to all that is good in the world that you have people around you who can help.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a trauma and stress-related disorder that may develop after exposure to an event or ordeal in which death or severe physical harm occurred or was threatened. People who suffer from the disorder include military troops, rescue workers, and survivors of shootings, bombings, violence, and rape. Family members of victims can develop the disorder […]

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — Human Performance Psychology

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