Four panic attacks later...
UPDATE: I am no longer at the organic farm.
Let me explain...
Since waking up at the farm on Tuesday morning up until yesterday evening, I had four panic attacks. At first I had no idea why, which upset me even more. I tried to sit with my emotions and my pain, but it was too intense so I just put on a happy face and told myself that it would all be ok. I tried to be as patient and understanding towards myself as possible, which gave me much needed moments of calm amidst the attacks. But I was so confused and overwhelmed, from the attacks themselves yes, but also about the fact that I hadn't had a panic attack since college! And as of Tuesday, I had had TWO within hours of each other.
After the second panic attack on Tuesday and numerous phone calls to my parents to talk through what I was experiencing, I decided to talk to the manager about what was going on for me. I waited until I was able to compose myself and felt a bit more calm, but as soon as I started speaking, the tears came and my emotions flooded right back in.
I felt an ounce of relief after talking about what was going on and my confusion about it, but the next day, Wednesday, I had two more. What the heck was going on?!
Tuesday night I hardly slept, I think partly because my body was SO full of cortisol from my intense anxiety and partly because I had to think about the causes or triggers of my attacks. As I lie awake in the pitch black of the forest, this quote I read a while back popped into my head:
So instead of fighting my sleeplessness, I decided to embrace it and use it to do some deep reflection. As I lie there asking for answers, help and asking for relief, I received a message. I realized part of the reason and it clicked. I lie there longer, I received another message. All of a sudden, I discovered a sense of peace within me that only facing my emotions and sitting with them, allowing them to come forward and move through me instead of pushing them down could bring me. And I was so grateful.
I was finally able to fall asleep for a few hours before my alarm went off. I decided that since it was a new day and I was guided to several answers during the night, I could have a brand new outlook! "The universe supports me!" I thought to myself.
But a few hours later, I found myself having another panic attack...
This time, I knew why which was helpful, but it didn't do much to ease the severe pain, overwhelm and fear. I went for a walk to clear my head. I called my acupuncturist who offered so many amazing words of comfort and insight. I was texting my parents back and forth through it all. I felt so supported by so many people back home, I felt a shift in my energy and mindset, even if only slightly. With that minor shift, I was able to speak my truth about what I discovered the night before. I shared my realizations, solutions were discussed, I felt a little weight lift but not much.
I took time to eat some lunch and settle into the little relief I felt (a little was better than none at all!), then went back to work. After an hour or so, I found myself experiencing my fourth panic attack in two days. At this point, I was DONE! Just as I started to calm down, my soul sister called. She couldn't have called at a better time. Hearing her voice and talking to her about the past few days, feeling and hearing her support and understanding, was such a blessing! As I talked to her, I heard myself say exactly what I needed to do.
I had tried everything else–I had pulled out my favorite positive affirmations, I had sat with my emotions completely (as overwhelming and scary as they were), I had shared my anxiety to figure out how I could feel more supported, but nothing was working. I knew what I had to do. I had to leave.
As soon as I said those words out loud, I felt calm and ease rush through my body. This was the answer. But now I had to tell the manager...
Just as soon as I felt more at peace, now I was nervous and embarrassed. I had only been at the farm for two days, but I had to honor my emotions and my body. Thank goodness I was armed with tools to hold myself in a compassionate place during all of this! If this had happened three months ago, I probably would have pushed through it despite being in so much physical and emotional pain. So I used the self-compassion tools I recently learned to console myself and to be gentle with myself which helped me work up the strength and courage to speak to the manager (among a few other things, such as swimming, crying and showering, in that order!)
To my surprise, she was completely understanding and extremely kind. AND...I couldn't even make this up if I tried...as soon as I told her, it started to pour! It's as if Mother Nature was feeling a release just as I was; synchronicity is pretty darn amazing! I took it as a sign, a nod of approval from nature that leaving was definitely the right decision.
Luckily, my dad had told me before I left home that we had family friends who lived close to the farm. They came to pick me up Wednesday night and have graciously opened up their home to me until I figure out where I can live and work for two and a half months, if I can at all. It's been a little bit of a scramble to research and call different places and people, but I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for ALL of the support I've received–friends and family back in California, the family I'm staying with now, even my dad's coworkers!
One of my favorite mantras to say to myself or out loud is "The Universe supports me" and I couldn't feel this mantra more than through this entire experience. Everyone has been so incredibly kind, understanding, loving and extremely generous...it's blowing my mind and completely shifting my beliefs about the world.
I overheard a few employees at the local health food store today, talking about how emotionally intense the past few days have been for them and how most people are unwilling to talk about it. As soon as I heard them, I felt the corners of my mouth turn slightly up, slightly smiling in relief; I was reminded in that moment that we are ALL connected. I hope that by sharing this experience, you can feel a sense of relief in knowing that you are not alone (and maybe even some inspiration). Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows, so I wanted to share a not-so-picture-perfect, real-life situation in a world where that is so rare.
I don't have a plan about what I'll do yet, which is very unlike me, but I'm ok with it! I am allowing the Universe to guide me. If I'm meant to stay, it will be easy to find somewhere to work and live, but if nothing seems to be working out, I'll go back home. I have a feeling I'm meant to stay here though...I'm doing my best to stay open-minded and reach out to as many places as I can. We'll see what happens! For now, I feel so incredibly humbled by all of this and VERY grateful–for speaking my truth, for being able to stay compassionate towards myself through the whole process, for the amazing people I've crossed paths with on this journey and for every single person that I've received support from (texts, phone calls, emails)...wow, am I lucky!
This is from today at Lumeria, a stunning retreat center in Makawao. The labyrinth was so beautiful! In the middle, in front of where I'm sitting, there were small offerings people have made and I was inspired to leave one before walking back through. See the dime near the middle of the photo? It's all I had on me to offer ;)