I suffered with debilitating anxiety for many years. For the first few years (it really set in at 15 years old), I received a diagnosis of asthma – which I never had. I was actually having panic attacks, frequent panic attacks, not asthma attacks. On more than one occasion, I was rushed to hospital by ambulance for a “severe asthma attack”, which in reality, was always a panic attack. I had a shoe box full of various types of inhalers, because “clearly, this asthma is not under control, let’s try this other puffer…”.
Fast forward 10 years, (and a decade of living unknowingly, then silently with anxiety, with terrible beliefs about myself despite all evidence to the contrary, and destructive behaviours that matched the terrible beliefs), there I am, 25 years old, in the middle of my Ph.D. studies, where all is going well. Academically, my research is progressing very well, I have been awarded an NSERC scholarship which means I can focus on my research without the need for a part-time job, I am consistently being awarded sessional lecturing positions, I have a thesis supervisor whose personality and outlook I really enjoy …things are good! Socially, I am surrounded by like-minded friends, I am president of my department’s graduate student association, and nearly every event I organize is a success. I’m known for my outgoing personality and my attempts at ensuring all students feel included and comfortable. I have the best friend in the universe, who understands me better than I understand myself, and who never ever judges me no matter how outrageous the thought/feeling/behaviour I exhibit. And if that’s not enough, I’ve recently met Kevin, a sweet, kind and respectful guy (the man that will later become my husband and the outstanding father of our 4 precious children).
Boom! The anxiety reaches new heights. I can barely (if at all, let’s be honest) leave my house, I cannot finish my semester of teaching and need to be replaced, I cry so frequently, uncontrollably, and at such random times I scared myself (and all those around me I’m sure), I am terrified of life, and I am convinced with absolute certainty that there is no way out of this downward spiral.
After some time, I decide to brave the world and resume life. A few days after my return to “normal life”, I have an epic, random meltdown at my lab. Thankfully, said best friend in the universe was working in an office down the hall. I walked myself over to his office and he just about immediately walked me over to the campus clinic where Kevin would meet us later. After hours of calming down with lots of assistance, Kevin and I began the walk back to my apartment. On the way home, we stopped into a counselling office to see if we could set me up an appointment – because clearly, this had become bigger than me. Miraculously, as we were standing at reception where I’ve randomly began bawling again, a counsellor came out of her office having just received the news of a cancellation of her next session, and invites me and the glorious mess that I am into her office right then and there. An angel! In that moment, it felt like she was on earth for me, just for me, and all for me. After a few weeks of working with her as her client (I realize in retrospect that she made some space in her busy schedule to see me in the early mornings before her regular hours), I was a new person! I was on a healing journey and knew without a shadow of a doubt that freedom from anxiety was within my reach.
What happened during those sessions felt like nothing short of a miracle to me. Sharon introduced me to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). It was fascinating. I had spent my entire adult life THINKING and ANALYSING, therefore DOING instead of BEING. With her energy-based techniques, she taught me how to BE, and suddenly, everything made sense. I didn’t need to FIND answers, I just needed to sink down into my own self, and there it all was, the cause of years of debilitating anxiety, just waiting to be released, to be freed, one piece at a time.
Once I finished therapy, and conveniently my Ph.D. just a few short months later, Kevin and I moved to Kenya, where I would meet more of my inner demons that needed out. (In retrospect, I should have gone to see Sharon a few more times before ending therapy to really get rid of the old junk in all the nooks and crannies of my mind that would inevitably surface). Nevertheless, upon returning, and recovering again from the spiral of absolutely debilitating crazy-making anxiety (there would only be one more episode later the next year, but not nearly as significant), I knew, from the core of my being, that I wanted to help others out of self-doubt and self-hatred, and into self-love, where peace, calm, and joy are a constant presence. And I wanted to do it by accessing people’s own inner wisdom, and thus their ability to heal themselves. In Energy Medicine and Energy Psychology, I found all of that. And my gratitude is endless.