I began Transcendental Meditation (TM) in January of 2018. I first heard about this meditation technique when a friend mentioned it might help prevent the panic attacks I was prone to. At that time I was willing to try anything … except take more medication.
A nutritionist by trade, I eat a healthy diet with no gluten, pasteurized dairy, or white sugar. The vegetables on my plate, even at breakfast, surmount all else and I add a spoonful of collagen peptides to my afternoon cup of tea ~ just because. I have practiced Hatha yoga for 20+ years, attended 10 day meditation retreats, and fasted on a regular basis. I am in bed by 10pm, walk everywhere, and generally think of myself as an upbeat person.
I am as healthy as they come. Except I am not. I have struggled with health issues all of my life. As a kid, I got weekly shots for allergies and took corticosteroids for asthma. In college, I took ritalin for ADHD. As a young adult, I was diagnosed with TMJ osteoarthritis and later with panic attacks.
Even something as simple as having a baby was riddled with hyperemesis gravidarum (morning sickness x 100) and I lost a baby girl due to the condition. Afterwards, I needed blood transfusions because of a sepsis infection. With my 3rd (and last) baby, I was diagnosed with GBS+ and received intravenous antibiotics to keep my birth canal safe for my baby to pass through. Afterwards I was a living mess; within a year I barely left the house because of bloating, acne, vaginal infections, and fatigue. My immune system was shot and anything, and everything, seemed to put me under. In that one year, I was on antibiotics for an ear infection, bronchitis, and pneumonia … I was 33 years old and felt fragile and weak.
In 2010, I was diagnosed with a systemic yeast infection and decided to put all my remaining energy into healing myself with The Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D.); a gut healing protocol. Intuitively, I knew that both leaky gut and yeast overgrowth were at the root of my issues. Within 3 years on a strict version of the diet, I felt better than I had in a long time and my life began to take hold in a positive direction. Yet my panic attacks still showed up and I took lamotrigine to suppress them. My asthma also never left my side and neither did the corticosteroids that I had been on since I was 10 years old. Unfortunately, these medications had a side effect of thinning the mucous membranes in my eyes, nose, and mouth and so I also took medicated drops and sprays to soothe constant burning in these areas. I knew that these drugs were not good for me and I was ashamed by my need to take them.
In September of 2017, I decided to wean myself off the lamotrigine. I knew I was putting myself at risk for having panic attacks, but I felt ready to handle that. If I could successfully get of this medication, I was hopeful that I would not need to use so much of the eye drops, nose spray, and mouth gel. At the time I did not consider stopping the asthma medication; taking that was as much a part of me as my right arm.
Two months after stopping lamotrigine, I had a full blown panic attack. I was in the shower when it hit. My chest tightened as it does, my arms got numb, and I began to have heart palpitations. I panicked even more and it was all I could do to turn off the water, wrap a towel around my body, and get into the fetal position on the living room floor. I was alone at the time and called a friend, who walked me through each moment. Once my breathing was steady, I became overwhelmed by the idea of having another attack.
The next day, my friend who had helped me through the panic attack sent a text suggesting Transcendental Meditation (TM). He had not tried it himself, but a friend of his had and spoke highly of the technique. I had never heard of TM, but trusted my friend’s hunch and so got online. I was expecting TM to be something I could learn by watching a YouTube video, but it turned out to be a training that cost close to $1,000.
I was unsure if TM was something of value or an overpriced gimmick. I did not know anyone who had taken the training and when I asked around I received a myriad of responses; most of which revolved around the price. I understood this concern, yet felt compelled to explore the option. I scoured the main TM website and was pleased to see that one of my favorite directors, David Lynch, was a fan of the technique. I also watched many YouTube videos about veterans with post traumatic stress disorder who found TM to be a life changer. Above all I listened to my self and how good I felt inside when I thought about taking the training.
After a few days sitting with the idea, I picked up the phone and called the center closest to me in Burlington, VT. The teacher I spoke with felt that I was a perfect candidate for this meditation technique and encouraged me to apply for a scholarship which would substantially lower my fee and allow me to pay in installments. I agreed to this and scheduled my training date for the start of the new year. I moved through the duration of 2017 without another panic attack and looked forward to the training that would begin January 8th 2018.