27 Apr Laura Brehm – She is overcoming panic attacks
We’re thrilled to share this next story. This woman inspires us to dig deep and be strong. We hope this story helps others who may have encountered similar challenges on their path. Meet Laura Brehm – She is overcoming panic attacks. Photo by: Rachael McAllister.
“My name is Laura Brehm. I’m a Colorado native and a singer, songwriter, and recording artist. Anxiety had been prevalent in my life from a young age, but I didn’t feel the full effect until I developed a panic disorder at the age of 20. That was 6 years ago, and until recently, panic attacks controlled a great deal of my life.
When they first started happening they were severe, frequent, and had the illusion of being life threatening. The symptoms were beyond anything I had ever felt, and it was upsetting, embarrassing, and unnerving.
Desperate for relief, I started taking benzodiazepines. I didn’t discover this early on, but on top of being addictive, these powerful drugs had harmful side effects that overwhelmed any amount of help they gave me. I was numb to my emotions, suppressing the anxiety further and further down only to have bigger and stronger panic attacks continually resurface. However, I seemed to accept the diagnosis as part of who I was and thought I needed the medication.
Though I was mostly able to function in work, relationships and day-to-day living, a constant state of fear clouded my head knowing that an attack could sneak up on me at any moment. It often affected my decision making, and the priority of trying to protect myself from an attack came before making plans with friends, getting on an airplane, getting on stage, etc. Instead of asking why this was all happening, I distracted and numbed myself further.
Fast forward to spring of 2016, when everything hit rock bottom. My mind and body stopped responding to the drugs and some of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had followed. One of them landed me in the emergency room because I spent more than an hour feeling like I wasn’t breathing. Even though I had been through hundreds of panic attacks at that point, they still made me believe I was on the verge of death.
This time period is when I truly became dysfunctional in my life. Concerned and frustrated, I started researching more information. I found that benzodiazepines were once the most globally prescribed medication in 1977, but more and more studies have been coming out since about the negative effects, and especially very recently. I came across forums where people exchanged horror stories of their experiences both while on the medication and while coming off it. I also found that the specific medication I had been taking for 5 years, Lorazepam, should only be consumed for a maximum of 4 weeks. My heart sank and I knew that I would have to start tapering down immediately, once and for all. Finally, a step in the right direction.
With further research, I found resources that could help with the intense withdrawal I was about to go through. This led me to psychotherapy, brain-spotting, reflexology, energy healing, essential oils, and other various natural and safe forms of medicine. Those first few months of dealing with the anxiety and panic attacks head-on were tough and the progress was slow, but the healing implemented was real and I started to feel like myself again. I finally started to feel relief, bit by bit. But that wasn’t all – with the help of my therapists and a ton of inner-self work, reflection, and care, along with yoga, exercise, meditation, a good diet, and plenty of sleep, I was able to get to the source of the anxiety and figure out exactly what was going on, and why.
I realize that every person and every situation is different and that sometimes prescribed medications are necessary. Also, in many cases, they can be good in the short-term, until the patient is stable and another solution is figured out. However, I can say that I have healed and grown as a person more in the last year than I did during the entire time I was prescribed heavy anti-anxiety meds. And as someone who thought panic attacks would be in my life forever, I can say today with confidence that I am panic-attack-free.
I’m still working on the anxiety part, but it’s getting better with each passing month and I think a really important realization I’ve had is that it doesn’t scare me anymore. It’s normal and even healthy to feel anxiety sometimes to a certain degree, but when it becomes a problem; that’s when you need to take a closer look at it. And doing this wasn’t easy, because I had to face the fears I had been running away from for years – but it’s also been extremely insightful and inspiring. As an added bonus, the positive effects of holistic healing are flowing into other areas of my life. I’ve noticed that it’s even clearing blocks to higher realms of creativity, which will help my career as a musician.
I’ve come to realize how much music can help my anxiety. In addition to helping with physical and mental health, it serves as an outlet for emotion and pent-up energy. It helps heal my soul. And this is just one example of what works for me – I think creativity, in general, is important for good health. And, because there are so many avenues for expression, everyone can find their own outlet. Treating anxiety and then maintaining it can be a difficult, long road, but it’s well worth the effort. For me, personally, overcoming this marks a fresh beginning, and a feeling of blossoming into that with ease.”
Laura is one of the fabulous women we’re featuring in our Everything She Is series. We’d love to feature YOU too! Email email@example.com with your “She Is” story (i.e. She Is Following Her Dream, She Is a Rock Climber, etc.) along with your favorite pic. Submissions can be anywhere from 400-800 words. We can’t wait to get to know more of you, and to share your stories!
Looking for more inspiration? Follow us on Facebook, like this post, or check out our Instagram!