On Being Paralyzed By Panic

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.  ~Joseph Campbell



Have you ever skirted the edge of safety, danced with danger? Have you stood upon the precipice with trembling knees and racing heart? Was the excitement so strong you could taste it? Did you find yourself holding your breath?

Most of the “firsts” in life feel this way for me. I’ve always been a person who craves security. Change has always been a challenge for me.  In the last few years I’ve taken lots of baby steps in hopes of ever so slightly expanding my world.

Two of my biggest obstacles were my fear of heights and the vulnerability of others reading my writing. While I haven’t gone sky diving, I have scaled the ledges of some huge mountains out west…I scrambled frantically at times, but I survived.  I released my words to the world…I was rejected by some and embraced by others. I’ve attempted many other small hurdles, and not only endured but broadened my horizon and met wonderful people along the way.

Ideas poke and prod me. Voices scream at me. Synchronicity comes and goes. I often resist these nudges. Sometimes they remain unnoticed until the opportunity passes. I have found most of the things I resist are the very things I need the most. Why? Human nature, fear, not really sure. I’ve been told if I look the fear head on with understanding it’s easier to conquer. Yes, identifying the fear is half the battle. I have friends who use the “what if…worst scenario” questioning to move beyond the anxiety. I’ve learned to breathe deeply and slowly  while simply placing one foot in front of the other. While I will never be considered a dare devil, I have the courage to take chances and open myself to allow change.

Have you ever been paralyzed by panic? What did you do to make your way through? Did you find it wasn’t as big of a deal as your mind had portrayed it to be? Tell us your story.

23 thoughts on “On Being Paralyzed By Panic

  1. Suzi, this post only reminds me once again, what an AMAZINGLY gifted writer you are!

    I believe this post speaks for most of us humans.

    “I have found most of the things I resist are the very things I need the most. Why? Human nature, fear, not really sure.”

    You are so correct!

    And yes, I have been paralyzed by panicking fear MANY times. I am a very fearful person, but realized many, many years ago that fear is my teacher. When I was a actor, as much as I loved it, I feared going out onstage every night. And when I say fear, I mean FEAR. But there was a point in my career when a voice inside me said, “You can either keeping fear it, or just do it and walk through your fear.” So I did. But strangely enough, the fear never left me. However, the inner accomplishment of doing it regardless is what gave me the strength to keep on doing it.

    Have a lovely weekend, my friend….X

    • You are so brave, Ron. You’re right though one must just continue to get through it. One thing I hate doing is public speaking (I have a lisp) and it turns out that whenever I am involved in a group which must put on a presentation often I am chosen to be the speaker…I freak out and try to get out of it, but end up doing it anyway…it NEVER gets any easier…

  2. I’ve learned to breathe deeply and slowly while simply placing one foot in front of the other. – I to have learnt this and are still learning it, but those around me are still racing, running faster and faster trying to find that peace they are searching for, when really it is right there where they started.

  3. I tend not to be a dare devil partly because of the fear of the unknown – too many risks. I should be a bit more open to change! 😀 Happy Friday!

  4. I think I spent the first forty-something years of my life paralyzed by panic, only I didn’t know it. I still find myself questioning whether or not to pursue something, but I’m getting better at recognizing when I’m just standing in my own way.

  5. Ron is so right. Accomplishing and overcoming fear is one of the best feelings in the world. So many times we suffer from paralysis by analysis. If we’d just do it, we’d probably surprise ourselves more often!

  6. I have always considered you a very courageous person, Suzi. And you can’t be brave if you don’t have something to fear 🙂

    The only time I recall being paralyzed by fear was when my mother went into a diabetic coma. I discovered her in bed breathing like she was snoring but with her eyes open and unseeing. There was a thick liquid that looked a little like blood oozing out of her mouth. I totally panicked and stood there shaking, trying to think what to do. I couldn’t think.

    Fortunately, finally impulse training kicked in and I picked up the phone with shaking hands. They were shaking so badly that I couldn’t get them to dial 9-1-1. I finally had to hold the phone between my cheek and my shoulder and hold one hand steady with the other while I (rotary) dialed the required numbers. When the operator answered, I could hardly speak and COULDN’T EVEN REMEMBER WHERE I LIVED.

    I guess I finally got it out, but I don’t remember what happened afterwards except that the ambulance arrived within five minutes of the time I hung up the phone. The thing that kept me going in view of the terrified paralysis I was in was…love. I loved my mom so much that I couldn’t NOT help her. I had to keep plugging away. Too bad I didn’t remember Nancy’s breathe in, breathe out exercise, but hey, I couldn’t even remember our address. Anyhow, I did manage to get her the help she needed.

    P.S. She was rushed to the hospital, given the proper medicine, and kept for a few days to get her blood sugar back under control. She came home again nearly a week later, both of us sadder and wiser.

    • What a frightening ordeal, Sandra! So glad you were able to get her the help she needed. It’s weird how I minds and bodies freeze in the moment. That is the scariest thing ever when a parent or child is in immediate peril…been there in both aspects.

  7. Every time we attempt something we want to do (but is outside our comfort zone), we stretch, Suzi. I don’t consider myself terribly brave, but I’ve found that taking a deep breath, whispering a prayer, then leaping is the best procedure for me!

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