(I should probably explain at this point that the panic attacks are sometimes tied in with situations where I am reminded of stuff that has happened to me in the past. So it is relatively common for me to have a bit of a flip out, then afterwards to be able to look back and relate what happened to a particular historical event. Generally, once I am aware of a potential reaction, I deal with it, re-process the original event that triggered it, and it doesn't happen again.)
I have no conscious memory of ever having been subject to the kind of experience I describe above.
B and I discussed it, and came up with two options:
- My brain is looking for structure to hang it's wierd feelings and sensations on and as I have a very active imagination it sometimes comes up with quite way-out scenarios.
- It was a past-life memory that was so strong that I have carried it with me.
I am open to the idea of past-lives. When I was a lot younger I did some 'dabbling' in that area, going in search of memories. My experiences then led me the conclusion that it's not a healthy thing to do just for kicks. If there is something that you need to deal with, it will come up and you can address it just as you would a present-life memory.
Working on that basis, situations 1 and 2 both can be dealt with in the same way, whether the memory is 'real' or not - re-process it, let it go and move on. Which is what I did.Then, earlier this week I went for a final session with the cognitive behaviour therapist I have been seeing to help me manage the panic attacks. He is a NHS guy, *really* straight, very professional, very diffident. As we were getting towards the end of the session and drawing things to a close, he coughed, and said:
"Er, would you say that you had any religious beliefs of any kind?"I was slightly taken aback and replied that I felt that religion per se wasn't really for me, although I liked to label myself as 'spiritual' and believed in a (pomposity alert) "
"Would you say that you were open to the idea of reincarnation?"I was even more taken aback. Not the kind of thing that your NHS CBT normally comes out with. I replied yes, and explained my 'don't look for stuff' attitude. He then went on:
"You may find that some of the things that you have been experiencing that you can't place - the confusion for instance - might be related to something that you have brought with you from before. So you will never know what caused that pattern to be triggered".I was gobsmacked.
I told him about my own conclusions about the incident and I asked him whether this was the sort of thing that he normally said to clients. And he blushed. Apparently he has never, ever, suggested this to anyone before, or felt that he needed to. He has no strong feelings about it one way or another personally. He said that he just 'felt in to' the client, and suggested whatever he felt was appropriate.
So it looks like I have been having sessions with a psychic therapist :-).
I recounted this to my mother last night and she calmly trotted out two examples of past life memories that someone has told her about this week: A four year old girl who asked her mother for a go on her spinning wheel, span perfectly and told her astounded parent that she had always been able to spin, as she had remembered from 'before'. And a woman who has always been able to speak fluent arabic, despite never having learnt and never having spent any time anywhere she could have learnt or with anyone who could have taught her.
I am slightly wigged out - by the co-incidences, rather than the events themselves.