“You’ve improved your breathing, but I noticed that you have to take a lot of breaths even when we’re having a relaxed conversation, because you’re holding your breath.”
I held my breath all week. I could not stop gasping for air and after some reflection I wonder if I breathe like this constantly, but now I am aware and paying attention to it.
The thing is, not being able to breathe deeply feels like drowning. It feels like suffocating. It feels like screaming in the middle of the woods when no one can hear you. But you needed another human being to see you—to live.
Noticing anxiety and symptoms of panic propel feelings of fear. Noticing I’m barely breathing immediately puts me into panic mode because my body must be telling me I’m in danger and I don’t have time to figure out if it’s true or not.
It seems this season of healing I’m in is a season of needing co-regulation. It’s a season of compassionately letting all my parts exist and showing up with the intention of letting younger parts be loved.
I think little parts are the parts that can’t breathe properly. Which is why I find it easiest to cope in the same ways my 5-year-old does: being held emotionally and physically by safe people.
This anxiety serves a purpose. It is teaching me something and I will walk through it, Wolfpack holding my hand and bringing me in close when I need it. These connections are building up my armor so that one day, my body won’t need to keep trying to tell my story.