When I was working as a psychologist, I saw an average of twenty clients a week. Over twenty years, I must have seen thousands of clients. Even so, some stories have stayed with me. Here is one about a client suffering panic attacks.
Chrissy, aged 28, came to see me because she felt increasingly anxious. She had always been a bit anxious, but it had never stopped her from getting on with her life. I considered this a normal level of anxiety. But over the last twelve months, her anxiety had developed into panic attacks.
Her father had committed suicide six years earlier. He’d been an unhappy, sensitive man who coped by using alcohol. Before this, he’d been a loving father to her. She said she coped with his suicide by believing he was at peace. She’d hated watching his emotional turmoil over the last couple of years before he died. Her mother had left him, and he never quite recovered from this experience of loss and rejection.
Like most people, she felt like she was dying during her panic attacks. Somehow, each time they hit, she managed to pull herself out of the fear and regain her composure. This wasn’t a satisfactory solution because, sooner or later, they always returned.
I use the technique of supported exposure to deal with panic attacks. I consider panic attacks to be a type of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some specific experience, perhaps too fleeting to be noticed, brings a past trauma suddenly and vividly to life.
Supported exposure gently takes the client back into the experience of panic, while letting her know she is safe and supported. Usually the client receives more information about the trauma by staying with the feelings of panic until they gradually subside.
I asked Chrissy to describe her panic attack and, within a few moments, she was back in it. I encouraged her to be brave and stay with her feelings, breathing slowly and deeply. She followed my instructions and soon started reporting her impressions.
She sensed the presence of her father. I accepted this as her truth and began to explore it. I asked if he knew he was dead. She felt a strong sense of confusion and fear.
I have many clients who have sensed the presence of the dead, especially those they had loved who have passed on. Their presence often stirs up feelings of confusion. I used the same technique with Chrissy as I had used with them, as it had always worked.
I suggested she tell her father he has died. He committed suicide many years ago thinking that would free him from pain, but the pain remains. This may sound counter-intuitive, especially if you believe death to be the end. But even though our body falls away, our soul-self continues. Chrissy’s father is clutching onto her because he does not know what else to do.
I explained this to her. “You love him, but his pain is too great for you to bear. It is time for him to go. Are you willing to let him go, Chrissy?”
Chrissy started crying. She admitted it was difficult to let him go. Since his death, she had been aware of his presence from time to time, especially if she felt down or alone. This had been a comfort to her.
I explained it was time to release him. He had things to do on the other side and she needed to learn how to cope without him. I continued to reassure her, giving her time to weep quietly until she decided to let him go.
She suddenly saw a bright light, even though her eyes were closed. Then she said, “He’s gone.” She reported feeling calm.
As she opened her eyes, she explained that she now understood what had happened. He had attached to her after he died. She had never completely grieved her loss because she had never fully felt he’d gone. She wondered if he had sensed some need in her and hung around to help her cope.
It wasn’t only her father who’d felt lost. She had too. After five years with her, he wanted to leave, but every time he started to let go, she went into a panic. This took her back to the moment she learned of his suicide and all her feelings of helplessness. Now she realised she’d been hanging onto him, holding him back from getting on with his life on the other side. The tears she shed during the session expressed the loss she was finally feeling.
After this session, Chrissy had no more panic attacks and her anxiety subsided. She came to see me several times, building her inner strength and developing the confidence to cope as an adult in the world. As well, she soon felt connected to her spiritual guide who was there to help her.
Chrissy was one of the early clients I encountered who was hanging onto a deceased loved one. I have met many more since, on my journey as a healer, some when I was a psychologist and some as a spiritual practitioner. Not all involve panic attacks. There can be other symptoms, such as depression, sadness or feelings of helplessness. Some people know they are hanging onto a loved one but don’t know how to let go. Others, like Chrissy, don’t want to let go.
Panic attacks have many causes. They are all discoverable if the practitioner and the client are willing to explore deeply with an expansive view of what is possible.
If you are someone who hates injustice, you are likely to frequently see innocent people dying. Just turning on the news will do it.
You probably felt disturbed and much compassion towards the people trapped in Grenfell Tower in London as it burned. They died because the cladding on the building was unsafe, suggesting someone put profit ahead of people’s safety. Even if the culprits are punished it does not bring back the seventy-nine people who died.
If you look at a snippet of this tragedy, you are likely to feel angry. For example, one thirteen-year-old sent a text to her friend before being engulfed. ‘We are not going to make it. I love you.” You cannot easily feel at peace with this if you take the short view. This young girl lost her life just when it was about to really begin. How can you find justice in that?
We cannot know anything deeper about this girl, but we can look at what Newton Institute practitioners are finding all around the world as they take tens of thousands of people into their past lives and life between lives. They and their clients discover there are reasons why people die and have short lives. Here are some of those reasons:
People lose a loved one because they are learning how to deal with loss. For example, one woman lost her first child to a miscarriage. Then she lost her father to a heart attack not more than a year before losing her mother to cancer. She had dreams of losing her mother when she was much younger so that prepared her to some degree. Of all her losses, she coped best with the last. Because of the dream, she had made sure she cherished her mother while she was still alive. In the regression, she met her deceased parents and was told she was doing well with her life’s purpose, which was dealing with loss.
People lose loved ones to develop compassion. One client lost her child in a past life in the early nineteenth century. She was so devastated that she never recovered, shutting people out of her life. She had been shut down emotionally for many lifetimes, carrying a strong self-protective energy. The loss of her child opened her up emotionally. This shift carried over to her current life where she is gradually softening and learning to be more compassionate.
People also lose loved ones through suicide. In part, this can be about family members learning the lessons outlined above but more likely a person suicides because she or he is struggling with the demands of being physical in this hard school that is the Earth system. In the Afterlife, they can be exposed to the pain suffered by those they left behind. That can be enough to turn them away from suicide in a subsequent life. But some have a habit of leaving when the going gets tough. If this habit is not broken, next time they might get sick and die or have a fatal accident when life is difficult.
We have discovered some principles about death:
- No one dies without agreeing to their death, either at the soul level before they incarnated or at the physical level when they are incarnated.
- Once they have let go of physicality, death is beautiful. They feel relief, peace and happiness.
- Those who leave early to help others grow are having what we call a ’gift life.’ Their main purpose in that life is for others evolution, not their own.
- Loved ones pass but their love for us and our love for them is unchanged. In many ways, they are still with us.
Once you deeply understand that our lives and our deaths are purposeful, dealing with loss can be a little easier. You still need to grieve, but eventually you might be able to move past the shock and horror to see the larger perspective, accepting that there is order in our universe. Nothing happens without a reason.