It was a low point. I was not proud of myself. My sister-in-law looked me in the eyes and very clear breathed deeply to elicit a deep breath from me as well. “Please don’t,” was my honest, though tactless response.
At that point, all my senses were on high alert. She was right. I needed to breathe, but it felt patronizing to be told so.
Jesus knows I needed to breathe. My inability to receive help, though understandable, has hurt a number of well intentioned people.
When I am in an irrational state of mind, appealing to the logical course of action doesn’t always work. So, to help lessen the pain I cause, I try to plan before the panic. I’ve given my friends a keyword to tell me when they see me start to spiral. And if I fight it, they can remind me that I gave them permission to tell me that.
Also, it’s helpful to practice breathing deeply when I am feeling just fine. This develops helps me 1) lessen the intensity and frequency of panic and 2) aid me in the middle of it.
Instead of practicing breathing for mental health, it’s been easier for me to do breathing exercising for other reasons – like singing or playing harmonica. It feels more productive, enjoyable, and even healing.
Right now, I am going through vocal lesson videos online through WorshipU, which has a mobile app as well. It’s been a long time since I have played the harmonica, but maybe I’ll get back into that sometime in the future. One thing at a time. 🙂
As much as I pursue prevention, when I am in the middle of it and not thinking clearly, I usually just need to leave. I need to exit the situation and pray. He never condemns me when I do. The Prince of Peace revives my lungs and floods my soul with secure hope and love. Jesus, help me remember to breathe deep.