You know those spontaneous awakenings that leave you reeling and wondering if maybe you’ve completely and certifiably lost your mind??? Well I do…….
Some background for perspective to begin with. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression my entire life and only in recent years after so many different diagnoses and medications etc did i finally find the box that fits… Complex PTSD.
The first big awakening was around 2014. It was completely spontaneous; I awoke one morning and the penny had dropped. I suddenly understood the nature of reality and everything else, what a massive download to integrate, I seriously wondered if I’d had a psychotic break. I had very little in the way of a support network for all things spiritual at that time so sharing and getting support and guidance was limited. It was life changing and launched me into a volatile journey of personal/spiritual growth and exploration. And yes there was actually an intervention at some point later on too haha (the naivety of well-intentioned youth).
So who do you share these profound experiences with? You must share (well i must anyway), being it such a life changing experience, but most family and friends aren’t very “woke”, and at this point you’re already seriously doubting your own sanity anyway, without trying to convince your family that you just convened with God right? Now I use the word god as a generic term because its easier for less spiritual and more religiously minded people to comprehend the general concept of what I’m relating to, rather than confusing them with terms such as the source, the universe etc.
The disorientation is the part I don’t like, oh look i just found another trigger/sore spot. Why does this create such morbid fear I wonder?
So perspectives or definitions? Breakdown or breakthrough? Unraveling or healing crisis? Enlightened or delusional? Both?
The awakenings/ healing journeys I’ve experienced that were intentional in a supported, guided context, have been intense but purposeful, whereas the sometimes spontaneous but occasionally intentional ones I’ve experienced in isolation have produced the most fear and disorientation for me. Isolation seems to be another trigger point for me in itself though. 10 day meditation retreats in noble silence trigger that demon. Not only that but not having a support person to debrief with at the time, makes recovery and integration much more challenging. Thank god I do have my therapist who is also “woke”, to openly share with, without judgement. His guidance is critical to my well being.
So I sit here today, in isolation, apart from fb etc, trying not to listen to the voices (inner dialogue/black dog) telling me I’ve completely unraveled and just had a complete nervous breakdown over a small speed bump in my life. That not only did I totally over react to a situation but I let it launch me into a brick wall at light speed. So I must be totally broken then. I’m fighting so hard right now to convince myself that this was in fact, a huge trigger bringing up something that needed to be addressed and bought into consciousness to be released and healed. Of course we only need healing until we realise that we don’t right? And so the war of inner conflict rages on. So what sparked this most recent “episode”. I’d been in such a great place for many months now, recovering from a dark time in recent years, and I was starting to participate in life again and had started exploring some healing modalities as revealed in previous blogs.
So here I was, falling into a mess of feels. Drowning in the story again as I’m so gifted at. A friendship had recently, and unexpectedly, blossomed into something beautiful and I was giddy with excitement; but also freaking out about getting attached and emotionally invested again….triggers going off everywhere. I was trying to coach myself into, just enjoying it and letting it unfold naturally, but my fears about, and attachment to, outcomes were very loud indeed. I was in a critically vulnerable state, emotionally. So just in time I headed into my 4th Holotropic Breathwork sitting. Another intense and euphoric experience, leaving me more centered and grounded yay.
Next evening Bamm! Plans had to be cancelled and it was then I remembered that quote about expectations being the root of all suffering; how high mine had been. I was not only completely gutted, but being a bit tipsy at the time, I immediately assumed I was being cut loose. Triggered is an understatement at that point. I did fall apart, and there’s nothing wrong with a good cry, my heart was broken; how did I get so emotionally involved and attached already? Thank god a friend called and supported me through it. Ok, so I wasn’t being cut loose (Black dog not convinced still), and I actually think it increased the emotional intimacy between us; I should have been so happy, he admitted he had feelings for me; but alas I was still devastated he wasn’t coming as planned. Didn’t sleep much that night.
Next morning felt like I’d been hit by a truck and hello black doggy, I see you’re back. Carer came to do floors and I had another release, a big one; bawled my eyes out again. It was interesting observing myself unravel in that moment, the shaking, the old programming/demons coming up ….. black dog whispers: ” you actually thought this one would work out?” “you don’t deserve your happy ever after”, “You’re too broken, you’ve scared him away just like the last one”. SHUTUP! I gave myself room to feel it all and let it out and that was good. I was exhausted and nauseous and everything hurt (I have Fibro/CFS too so hello flare up).
Later I took some canna oil in a moderate dose that I have been tolerating quite well recently but this time it hit me (Empty stomach maybe?); lucky I didn’t take that couple of grams of shrooms too haha (or maybe I should have?). My intention had been to use this trigger and work with it, so was going to do shrooms and canna instead of alcohol and valium. Struggled with the decision to take the shrooms (fear) but ended up not needing it at all. A 50mg canna cap was all I needed in that moment.
I went down, it hit hard. I was in and out of various states of consciousness and my body was bombarded with overwhelming sensations, which kept fluctuating and shifting, like waves of an incoming tide. My entire body was alive and burning with raw emotions. Had no choice but to just ride the waves, until the tide turned. I was even nauseous and actually felt a lot like I was tripping again, like my previous shroom trip. As I journeyed back and forth between conscious states, I remember a dark tunnel came up a few times, and woah…… fark…… the claustrophobia; there are no words to describe that level of fear. I was trapped, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe (this was an internal experience not external). There was a flashback to a time when my brother and myself wriggled through some small tunnels in a cliff face once, but this was beyond that, and It didn’t take too long to realise that I was in fact experiencing this rebirth that they talk about. I was re-experiencing the birth canal, and I must have been somewhat stuck I guess. Its a shame I have no source to confirm this though. Recovery was slow and I wasn’t well at all, for many hours. Looking forward to some guidance from other like-minded people when I get the chance, just to check I’m not completely mad after-all.
UPDATE: I am transformed! My whole reality has changed. Senses are enhanced and super sensitive to plant medicines and alcohol. Everyone looks beautiful and I’m buzzing with love, and feeling incredibly centered and grounded. Went out in public and felt more safe, alone in a room of strangers, than I have in a long time.
So previously I had completed my first Holotropic Breathwork session and have since found a local crew approaching it from a more relaxed perspective to continue my journey of healing and enlightenment, so to speak. Here’s a link to my blog about my first experience:
These sessions, or maybe sittings is a better word choice, are executed more like a group meditation class as opposed to the classic 1:1 breather/sitter type of practice. The environment is typical of what you might expect with candles, dim colored lights, singing bowls etc with a wonderfully warm and safe “vibe” to it. Even still my social phobia is alive and kicking each time I attend but after 3 times I’m starting to feel more comfortable.
Each of my 3 sittings here have been slightly different but still with many commonalities too, so I will walk through the basics first then individual moments.
Initially after the preamble intro, you are guided into the breath much like a guided meditation, the only difference being you are required to become a breathing machine. With my own experiences and the research I’ve done so far it would appear that there really is no difference to this and classic hyperventilation, although some may argue one is shallow and the other deep, but i disagree. This is assisted by some amazing tribal type music, some with some Sanskrit chants too.
The tingles come on fairly fast for me, always bringing flashbacks of the times I’ve hyperventilated with panic attacks. This is then generally followed again by the spasms in the hands, which can cause some degree of discomfort (again not unfamiliar to me). This can vary in intensity, as I noted it was less intense in most recent sitting and I believe that was connected to my breathing. It can take a little while to settle into the breathing and in the past I’ve always gone in hard and fast and consequently it me hard and fast, but last sitting I took it slightly more gently and that was reflected in the sensations i experienced. So i guess I’ve graduated from novice to intermediate now??? Just the slightest variation in the breathing can change the experience, but after a few minutes it seems to become intuitive and I’ve learned to just surrender to it. Your body knows what it needs to do from here.
I find this is where peoples experiences probably vary quite a bit, it seems to get very intense for most, as I’ve heard some interesting noises, as I’ve struggled through this very intense and uncomfortable phase myself. I have consistently felt compelled to sit up in every one of my sittings so far. This is generally the releasing component of the experience. I say release as that’s generally what is occurring at this point, a physical release of trauma that is locked into our bodies. This can takes many forms but it always seems to begin with the strong physical sensations before moving into the emotional realm. These are the sections where the cliche “no words” comes into play. It is very difficult to articulate these experiences, as those who have would know all too well.
I do recall my apprehension surrounding my first group sitting considering my social phobia, which comes from an intense fear of being judged. This was consequence of being bullied in my youth. It was suggested that there is a certain sense of connection and safety that can result from these group sittings and that’s exactly how it was. Once we begin there is an energetic connection that pervades the space and we all become one in a way, supporting each other through experience of release.
The sense of connection in the group also extends to a profound sense of connection with everything, the source, God, the universe or whatever description works for you, its just semantics. With that connection one has access to all the wisdom and knowledge that comes with it; its always a powerful awakening. To say “the penny drops” is a grave understatement for this profound insight and understanding of all there is. Once again words fail me to come close to articulating what is experienced. With this, we generally move, each in their time, to a more euphoric state of complete bliss, and/or a deep meditative resting state. This may not be the case for everyone, every time though, as I can only speak of my own subjective experience after all.
For me personally, for the last two sittings I have experienced something else in between the initial discomfort and release stage , and the blissed out phase. As I’ve become more familiar and learned to let go and trust the experience, I’ve allowed my body to do whatever it needs to do. No I haven’t yelled out or anything like that yet as that will probably take a few more sittings maybe, to really let go fully, but I have found my hands doing some strange things as I observe from within.
You know how in the movies peoples arms get possessed and develop a mind of their own, usually trying to kill themselves in most scenarios?? Well my right arm and hand seem to have taken on a life of their own recently. I have learned now, not to try to understand or make any sense out of these weird experiences that occur in altered states, but even now my mind is perplexed by, “what could it mean”? I have shaken my hands and arms, obviously releasing trauma, and I’ve had shaking and convulsions in my hands too but most recently my right hand went nuts on me. it was the strangest thing indeed. There was mostly a waving and quite circular movement that went on for quite some time. Not only this but I found myself shifting energy around in my body with movements from my hands, you know like when people do “energy work”. Now I have witnessed this and even experienced it to a degree but when you’re a novice to these ways and not fully “tuned in”, it can seem a little weird, let alone suddenly becoming a master and working on oneself. There is no thought process at all involved, it was completely automated and intuitive, like brushing ones teeth or eating or breathing haha.
So then we are gently guided back into the room and debrief while enjoying an amazing homemade vegan curry.
I have realised that most modalities will take you to the same or very similar experiences, but for right now Breathwork or rebirthing as it is also refereed to, is my modality of choice. One benefit being that you are in complete control and can stop at any point unlike with plant and other medicines once you take it, you can’t change your mind. this of course could be beneficial for those lacking the courage to dive deep. I am still very open to and supportive of other modalities and look forward to exploring more in the future, but for now this is working for me. I am in a better place mentally than I have ever been in, and even though I still have a huge weight to unburden, I feel I’ve achieved more from these experiences than I have from a lifetime of therapy and medication.
Where do I start? I’d always been curious and have waited
since I was 16 to do a “trip’ in a responsible, controlled setting, and I’m now
52. I guess it was always calling me. The day had finally arrived and I was petrified.
I arrived at this beautiful house in the bush and immediately voiced my concerns about my mindset. I was so concerned that my fear of a bad trip would cause a bad trip. What I didn’t realise was that I already knew deep down that is exactly where I needed to go. I guess my guide intuitively knew that too.
So I took my medicine (5g golden teacher) and sat on the balcony and waited. It didn’t really take long and it came in waves, which was very interesting. The colors became vibrant and the sun sparkling on the grass was magical along with the flowing movements as if in slow motion with artefacts. The trees got very loud too at one point, but then I found myself with that, I’d drunk myself sober, sort of feeling. My guide suggested another 1.5g and who was I to argue? Insert rocket ship launch……
My memory is a bit hazy after that. I remember going inside at some point; I was so off my face by then. The room was swimming, and I swear I could feel the energy of the wall leaning on me. The cow painting on the wall got quite judgey too.
So from the beginning, my guide had been prompting me to get into my body and feel, and to get out of my head. Of course this was a huge challenge for me as I spend all my time in the narrative mode, over thinking and psycho analysing.
At some point things started to go dark and my guide was pushing me hard. I gave him permission to do whatever he deemed necessary to trigger me and he did his job very well, without crossing lines. I remember needing to get down on the floor, initially sitting, but then laying down. I had my security bowl close by as the waves of feelings bought on nausea. I was physically trying to push it (it being the feeling place) away from me. I hung on and fought so hard. I felt like I was going to die, I literally couldn’t breathe. There was a lot of shallow breathing and there was breath holding too. It was cold, it was dark, it was heavy. It was in the pit of my stomach. I had more flashbacks than I ever thought was possible to experience. That time I thought I was going to die from that migraine, vomiting and only half conscious, childhood stuff I’d rather not elaborate on, my ex partner who abused me and so many more. I became the 3 year old in fetal position. I also relived my youngest sons birth. I actually re-experienced it in my body. I felt all of the feels; the pain, the sadness, the fear and some strange magical moments too. So much wow! The mushrooms were showing me the path of where I needed to go. That place where you snap and let go and are completely out of control. You know, THAT place. I just needed to step off the edge and surrender, but there was something else there I didn’t want to look at. I knew there was a rage but I was too afraid to feel it. I just couldn’t go there, it was sheer terror. I knew I needed to vomit but I held on tight to that too and couldn’t let it out. I eventually melted into the floor, paralysed and exhausted.
I needed help to get off the floor and I couldn’t even walk without assistance. Eventually I started to pass out from exhaustion so we called it a night and went to bed.
The next morning I sat with myself for some time. I felt such despair and sadness. I felt like I’d let myself down and failed because I couldn’t go all the way. I had been so close, but I couldn’t step off that ledge into freedom. My guide reassured me that it took him many sessions to get there and that I’d done really well. He pointed out how strong I am, that I was able to fight as fiercely as I had. That helped immencely.
I continued to experience waves of “feeling”(and sensations) in my body, for a couple of days, and each time practiced sitting with it, breathing into it and trying to give it permission to grow. I felt so present in my body and that’s not a comfortable place for me. Nausea came with the waves and I struggled to eat.
Its been many days now and I’m mostly recovered, but I am changed on a fundamental level. Similar to what i experienced after my first Vipassana retreat and the Breathwork session. I’m feeling stronger and empowered. I’m noticing that I’m less afraid and anxious, and more confident when interacting with the world and people. The insights are still coming and the synchronicities are everywhere. This experience pulled all the jigsaw pieces together and I can now see all the connections so clearly; the behaviour patterns, the physical manifestations, all of it. I have never before experienced such a powerful therapy session in my life, but I’m not done kicking my own ass yet, and I can’t wait to do it again. My path is now made clear and I’ve set my intention. I know where I need to go to be free of this toxic crap that I’m carrying around, and I know that I’m strong enough and that I can trust the medicine and my guide. Such a powerful and magical plant medicine.
The mushrooms or whatever other modality is chosen, is just the facilitator of a process of healing and growth. Here is a link that articulates this process better than I can.
I arrived at a gorgeous little cottage in Toowoomba after a long drive. It was a lovely space and later I discovered what I could only describe as the perfect library; it had all my favourite subjects, including some Jung of course. I think I fell a little bit in love with my yet to be guide/therapist right then lol. I knew I was in safe hands.
The next morning the my guide/therapist arrived. She was warm and inviting. We spent some time chatting to make me feel at ease and as prepared and safe as possible. I climbed into bed on a mattress on the floor, the room was dark and she began with a meditation. She then invited me to beath deeper and faster and turned on the music quite loud.
I quickly found a good rhythm of breathing and it didn’t take too long to feel it was working. This tingling sensation was familiar because I have had occasions to hyperventilate in the past, but this time I felt in control and safe. So I continued to move into the experience, without feeling the need to go to hard or rush it, and to just let it evolve organically, which it did. I also recognised a threshold that I instinctively knew I wasn’t yet ready to cross over and was able to stay in that space that felt right. Being gentle with myself was one of my intentions going into this experience. As I rode this cerebral wave (like a boss) I recall moments of euphoria, emotive moments bordering on tears, and the most profound sense of connection to the source (or whatever you prefer to name it). In this dream like state the insights were so powerful that it was like an instant download or injection of everything I needed to know. Suddenly I understood everything, everything made sense, and I was reassured of everything. Every question was answered. EVERYTHING! Its the only clumsy word that even comes close to describing it, apart from profound. It also felt familiar as I had experienced this a few years back in a spontanious awakening.
Things started to shift then to a more somatic experience as my arms and hands became extremely stiff and uncomfortable. this was also a familiar sensation from hyperventilating, but this was so much more powerful than I had previously encountered. The discomfort grew until I felt that I just had to sit up and shake it off; so i did. I started to shake my hands and arms and it felt so right, I immersed myself in it completely. After some time I rested my arms on my crossed legs, palms up, while my arms and hands continued to shake violently for what felt like a very long time. ( I was told half hour). I wasn’t sure at first, but soon realised that I was releasing trauma from my body, and it was going to take as long as it took, so I just allowed it pass through me. What was coming out of my hands felt thick and tangible and my hands felt huge and were pulsating along with the shaking. Finally it subsided and the feeling of relief was like the weight of the world had been lifted from my heart. I took a few very deep breaths as my body relaxed.
I then settled into a state of very deep rest as my hands warmed and became almost hot, back under the covers. I do believe I disappeared (blacked out) a couple of times and I’m not sure where I went. I was told I entered a very deep, internal healing, rest state that was very powerful as my guide described she could feel it, and my breath was extremely subtle.
After some time, my bladder started to distract me, and as much as I was enjoying it, I was waiting for each song to be the last so i could go to the loo. I should have just gone but I didn’t want to break the spell, so to speak. I think it went a bit longer than I needed for my first time. A full two hours.
I then shared as much as I was able with my guide, and got a little emotional for a moment, then sat outside for some lunch, journalling and a couple of mandalas. I’m not an artsy type but I tried. No I’m not sharing them ahahah. My guide expressed three words that had come to her as she held the space for me; courage, integrity and authenticity. These words represent very imortant values in my life. I was very tired for the rest of the day, but felt a lightness and peacefulness that I hadn’t felt in a long while.
I come away from this with a sense of trust and faith in both myself and the universe (as they are one) that I have never before experienced. It really is all going to be ok. Everyhting is exactly as it should be and yes we are love incarnate.
This technique was the most powerful that I have yet experienced. I have utilised meditation, including intensive 10 day Vippassana retreats, kinesiology, regular talk therapy, microdosing psychedelics and sound immersions. I tried MDMA once, but not in a therapeutic setting, and it wasn’t great. I strongly believe that set and setting is critical to the experience of altered states and their potential benefits. It can make all the difference. Hyperventilating when experiencing panic is a distressing experience while breathwork was like a wonderful combination of meditation, sound immersion and trauma release exercise.
Here is a link that demonstates how trauma is released from the body. As you read above this is exactly what I experienced.
Here is a link to information about Holotropic Breathwork. I fully recommend it.
Attachments styles in adults and how they relate, can
potentially, make or break relationships. I won’t go into attachment theory in
detail as that’s not the purpose of this blog, but if you want to do a quick quiz
to determine if you’re a text book case of an insecure attachment style then
here is a link that can also assess your partner if you have one. ( I have
ordered this book but not read it yet)
It is said that a relationship between someone with an
anxious style and someone with an avoidant style is the worst possible
combination. They are basically as incompatible as you can get and will trigger
each other in a colossal way. (trust me I know!) It is also a very common
Here is just what a couple of articles had to say:
In fact, the combination of anxious and avoidant is the worst pairing of attachment types because you’ll have opposite needs for intimacy: The anxious will crave closeness, while the avoidant will value independence. As a result, the anxious person, feeling pushed away, becomes even clingier and in need of reassurance—a neediness that only pushes the avoidant partner further away. It’s a likely unhealthy scenario you want to avoid.
Moreover, anxious types tend to bond quickly and don’t take time to assess whether their partner can or wants to meet their needs. They tend to see things they share in common with each new, idealized partner and overlook potential problems. In trying to make the relationship work, they suppress their needs, sending the wrong signals to their partner in the long run. All of this behaviour makes attaching to an avoider more probable. When he or she withdraws, their anxiety is aroused. Pursuers confuse their longing and anxiety for love rather than realizing it’s their partner’s unavailability that is the problem. It’s not themselves or anything they did or could do to change that. They hang in and try harder, instead of facing the truth and cutting their losses.
So the common sense approach would be to either recognise
this and avoid it or get out if you’re living it…..right?
But what about another perspective? This is where you might
say I’m delusional, and who knows, maybe I am.
So now I offer some basic principles of spirituality for a
deeper more philosophical approach to ponder.
“Everyone you meet is a mirror, a teacher and a gift” or “people
come into our lives for a reason”
Do you believe that the universe brings us everything we
So what if anxious types and avoidant types are drawn
together for a reason? Is there a greater underlying reason for this very
common mutual attraction of incompatible types?
Could this be an opportunity for profound healing?
Being triggered could be perceived as an opportunity to be mindful of and to observe your thoughts, feelings and reactions. It’s an opportunity to pause and choose to do things differently, better; to respond rather than react, and to foster compassion, understanding and detachment, and hopefully a deeper intimacy. It could potentially bring balance back to a persons life, enabling a more secure attachment style.
Call me a hopeless romantic but I choose to believe that with the right levels of maturity and motivation couples can initiate strategies for behaviour modification and coping when their needs aren’t being met and they feel triggered. It would also require great acceptance, understanding and tolerance for their loved one also. Of course it takes 2 to tango so it won’t work if its all one sided no matter how desperately you try; but I do believe it is possible, not only to have a successful relationship, but to achieve great healing and growth from that relationship.
Here is a link that can offer a few good tips for an anxious
type struggling to cope with an avoidant partner.
Sometimes it is helpful to visualise feelings as tangible separate entities in order to deal with them more effectively, so we give them form. Depression is often related to in this way, as the black dog.
Recently I had another profound awakening or epiphany, and Fear and self-doubt came out to play. I saw them more clearly than ever before. This was an opportunity for me to observe and engage with them, so that’s just what I did. All in the name of personal and spiritual development right? Oh and of course healing that primal would too hahaha.
Initially I saw them as dark shadowy entities or demons that were destructive and harmful in my life, as enemies of mine. But upon further observation and analysis I realised that they were both just a part of the protector (a construct of Voice Dialogue) and they were not here to harm me but to help me. The protector is a complex persona that we all possess inside of us that is there to protect us from harm by instilling fear or self-doubt (among other tools) to manage our behaviour, but for some of us that are more sensitive and vulnerable it can become somewhat like an over bearing helicopter parent, and that is when it can cause damage and destruction to our life’s. For example fear can stop you from taking unnecessary risks, or completely paralize you. Too much self-doubt can interfere with opportunities in life, crushing your confidence, but in saying that, it has protected me from falling victim to delusions, false hope and unrealistic fantasies. They have kept me guarded, cautious and grounded in reality. They help to maintain the balance of all possibilities and keep expectations under control. So I guess at the end of the day it always comes down to balance. So please don’t think of fear and self-doubt as your enemies and launch a war with them that you will not win, but rather befriend them, honour them and accept them for the gifts they have given you. If we can do this then maybe they will ease up and back off a little as they find we don’t need them so much anymore as we grow.
There’s nothing more healing than a shift in perspective.
This is not unlike the parent child relationship
really…..food for thought for the next level of insight.
And what of depression; is that just another tool of the Protector? Something else to ponder……..
I hate you Look what you’ve done to me Look what you’ve done to my life Too afraid to function To live Release these chains Free me All that lost potential What could have been If only…..
I see now How hard you fought to protect me from harm You were just trying to keep me safe How could I have been so wrong You are not a demon You are a gift
You are acknowledged You are appreciated You are welcome I honour your presence