Panic Attacks and a Broken Heart

I’ve spent time with several people lately that have been really struggling with deep sadness and grief. This sadness can feel so profound that the heart contracts and it feels very similar to a heart attack. Your heart can feel heavy with grief.

Have you ever felt your heart contract with pain, to where it feels difficult to breathe as well? Panic attacks are actually an activation of the PANIC/GRIEF/ABANDONMENT circuitry. When these attacks happen, it seems as if the very ground beneath your feet falls away. You can feel lost. Your SEEKING circuit dissipates, and you have no way to even begin to make movement in your world.

As we begin to allow ourselves to be held by others, and not be alone in our grief, we can have the courage to name our experience. We can receive some acknowledgement around what it’s like to be us in those moments. Such as, “Would it be sweet if someone understood just how difficult this is?”

Notice what happens in your body as you receive that guess. As we grow and nurture our relationship with this part of ourselves, then the panic attacks aren’t as intense. As we are able to hold these parts of our experience with exquisite gentleness, warmth, and care, we begin to heal our broken hearts.

It is so important to be able to find someone who feels safe, someone who will listen with an open heart, warmth, and resonance, and not to be made wrong for how you feel. Then, you start to lay down the pathways for healing to happen.

Grief needs accompaniment. Our sadness and loss need acknowledgement of that. This is so important for our hurting hearts. I’d like to share with you a technique that you can use in moments of panic or grief or sadness. 

This is an energy medicine technique. You place your hand over your heart space, then between your ring finger and pinky finger, take three fingers with your other hand and tap. While you are tapping breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Now, notice, what is it like?

I feel a softening in my heart, there is a relaxation down my back, and my shoulders dropped. If you are having sadness, feeling some alarmed aloneness, and you need some support and accompaniment, please reach out.


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