Chairlifts, Claustrophobia, Panic & the Jabberwocky

Chairlifts, Claustrophobia, Panic, and the Jabberwocky
Chairlifts, Claustrophobia, Panic, and the Jabberwocky

I’ve been celebrating this week. Why, you ask?

It has to do with chairlifts, claustrophobia, panic, and (what I refer to as) the Jabberwocky.

I am super stoked about this accomplishment but first, I have to take you back so that you can understand how much of a hurdle this truly was.

At 4 years old I first experienced downhill skiing. By Junior High I raced competitively. At 16 I decided to get my teaching certification so that I could work part time at a local hill. I then went on to coach racing. In other words, big and small chairlifts were a very normal and regular part of my life.

When I started having panic attacks, this activity that I had been doing my whole life, that I really enjoyed, became BEYOND difficult.

A few years into battling panic attacks, the chairlift was now my nemesis. It would trigger intense claustrophobia and panic.

I HATED the idea of NOT doing something because I was too scared to do it. So, for me to back out because it felt too hard was a really difficult thing to allow. I felt weak for not being able to “control my mind”. I had always believed (and still do) that I could and should be able to do ANYTHING I truly desire.

Does it make logical sense? Of course not!

Phobias are far from logical.

But I can tell you there is a reason for them! You can’t just “talk yourself out of them”…they aren’t activated by the conscious mind.

I fought hard to keep up all the things I enjoyed pre-panic attacks but I realized that trying to tame the Jabberwocky on a daily basis was exhausting. I wasn’t strong enough to defeat it by force. Despite what people say…continually pushing to “tackle” a fear NEVER makes it easier if you aren’t addressing the underlying reason for the fear. If anything, it just leads to worsened self-esteem, lack of confidence, hopelessness, or exhaustion.

You might be wondering what the Jabberwocky is at this point?

Back in 2010 when the movie Alice in Wonderland was first in theatres, I was there watching it. It came towards the end where Alice has to fight this massive, scary beast. Tiny, little Alice has to face this huge thing ALL BY HERSELF. If you haven’t seen this movie, here’s a clip of the scene with the Jabberwocky

I sat there in the theatre and cried, COMPLETELY relating to the battle Alice had to face. I knew somewhere deep down inside that if I could just face my Jabberwocky, I would be free. EXCEPT I didn’t know what my Jabberwocky was. It wasn’t the chairlift…that was just a trigger for the symptoms (claustrophobia and panic).

My question was always “but what is the cause”???

My Jabberwocky, turned out to be trauma that I had NO conscious recollection of. As a result I had never been able to move through the story my unconscious mind had created to keep me safe. My BODY remembered the story very clearly even though my mind, did not. With the right support and guided meditation I was able to face this old trauma and finally lay my Jabberwocky to rest peacefully. It didn’t have to be a lonely battle after all.

We all have at least one Jabberwocky to face.

For some it might not be such an experience of panic but still creates an obstacle to living the life of health and freedom that we all crave.

The more days I put between now and that meditation, the better I feel. This past weekend, in an effort to get back to enjoying some of the things that used to be a big part of my life, I went skiing. And you know what…

that chairlift no longer held the same power over me.

There were no feelings of wanting to flee while I was waiting in line. I had a “normal” amount of anticipatory anxiousness over doing something that I hadn’t done in years. My day was awesome and it felt amazing to get back out there and know that I can still rip it up on the slopes!

This is the difference between managing your symptoms and transformational healing.

It takes courage to face your Jabberwocky but I can assure you that it is ABSOLUTELY worth the time, effort, and commitment. The more unconscious aspects of yourself that you can face…the more freedom you attain…the less STRESS on your body…the better your health! The more you work in this way with your health the less force is required to get through life.

You don’t need to be “strong”, you just need to be brave.

And if you aren’t feeling very brave, support is always available!

If the things you are doing to be “healthy” are feeling like a lot of work, I totally get it…you are in that managing your symptoms struggle. There is definitely another way to do it.

What’s your Jabberwocky?

How do you think it would feel if you were FREE of it? When your choices come from a place of freedom and love…they don’t feel hard, they feel awesome!

Dr. Kim Gowetor
Naturopath Sherwood Park
Naturopath Calgary
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