In my last post I was quite general and told my overall story of paranoia, how I reacted, and I gave suggestions on how to help.
Continuing on the thread of how to help someone, with anxiety in this case, there was one important moment I would like to elaborate upon. It was a real moment of connection and trust in the midst of fear and anxiety.
At the height of my paranoia, I took the sleeping pill and anti psychotic pill that I thought were meant to kill me. I was anxious, afraid of everybody around me.
We needed support. Maher reached out to our friends for help.
Our neighbour and friend Paul, came over to our place within minutes. The nonexistent gas that only I could smell was all over my house and on everyone I came in contact with, including him. I was suddenly sure that he was in on it too, also in the “plot” against me. I tried to keep my distance.
However, at his suggestion that I sit and breathe with him, I did. I deeply trusted the pranayama practice, and Paul in that moment. I asked Maher to come along. He did.
We sat cross legged on the floor. Paul was across from me, my eyes almost closed. I breathed in and out. I focused on one point, his finger on the floor in front of me. I remember trying my best to stay connected at my pelvic floor, to stay grounded. Paul sat with me like that, guiding a simple in and out breath through the nose, until I laid down and then fell asleep right there on the floor.
He later told me that we sat there breathing, for one hour before I fell into deep sleep.
It had been days since I had slept.
The next morning I was hospitalized.
Maher and I are deeply grateful that both Jutima and Paul came over within minutes of being asked for help, and continued to be present and supportive after I was hospitalized, both in Samui and Bangkok, and still are.
Today, after 10 years of dedicated pranayama practice, I have slipped. I’m waiting for the right moment to get back into it, taking my time and wanting to go back with different insight.
Digging into this memory is inspiring me to start my practice again. But I don’t want it to be out of habit, out of a fear of losing out on something, or out of pressure of living up to the teacher’s expectations. I’m waiting for it to come from a sincere, internal place.
If you have a bout of anxiety try this:
Breathe with attention and intention.
Lay down or sit up.
Put your hands on your belly.
Let the abdomen fill your palms on inhale.
Let the exhale be long and complete.
It is a simple, yet powerful tool.
But from my experience, in my opinion it is not a substitute, but a good complement for the professional help that might be needed in the case of severe anxiety.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate the comments, thoughts, suggestions, and questions.
Paul Dallaghan is a senior yogi, educator, and researcher in the fields of stress management, breath, and overall well-being. He is the owner of Samahita Retreat in Koh Samui Thailand.