Day 18 – A Journey of My Spiritual Experiences (Listen while you read)
They were lovely. The psychologists were all such sensitive individuals; they belonged there working with those whose needs were great. I became quite fond of two of them in particular. One was a woman, the other a man. She treated me as one would treat a frightened animal. She saw my fear of speaking and socialising, and took the time that was needed to gain my trust. He was a down to earth personality with a tenderness not normally seen on such rugged individuals such as he. They were to become my cornerstones for the next 3 weeks.
They used the Gestalt therapy. My only understanding was that, for the first time ever, someone was truly concentrating on me and helping me to discover myself. After a few days, and still having panic attacks, I knelt down on my knees and asked for help. I had been looking out of the window at the Newcastle Cathedral and it was this that I now took to heart. I asked Lord Jesus to help me. Instantly I was in the arms of a spiritual being. He took me somewhere in space where he showed me a scene of (what appeared to be) grains of sand, or bubbles all cleaving together. He told me that they were the perfected consciousnesses who had returned home. I don’t know how long I spent with him; it seemed like an eternity and yet, by the wall clock, I knew that it had not been more than a few minutes. He told me that I was very ill, and that I would recover; although the road ahead was going to be long and hard. I asked if I could stay; however, he told me that was not possible; there was still so much for me to do. From that point on I would like to say that life became instantly better; however, (as the spiritual being had advised) the road was long and hard.
Three weeks passed very quickly and they discharged me. My husband picked me up and stopped by the hotel on the way home, trying to entice me to drink with him. I had determined (whilst in the clinic) that I would no longer drink with him, and remained true to this resolve. He did not like my new attitude one little bit, and spent many a night trying to persuade me to have a drink with him.
(I was still having the panic attacks (a separate issue from the Agoraphobia) and I still found it very difficult to go out from my home. Social occasions were still incredibly hard; yet my resolve to ‘get well’ stirred me on to face my fears. It took nearly a decade in total before I was free from the panic attacks and able to move about in public successfully; a decade of enormous self doubt, self learning and enduring courage.)
This marriage was coming to an end; and this made me happy and scared. We moved back to Sydney (my home town). I gave him an ultimatum: Either you go to A.A. and get sober, or we part. He attended A.A. meetings for a few months and decided that he was a social drinker, after all. He then started to go to Parents without Partners in the hope of finding a new relationship; yes, he was that immoral. He moved out and began to have various relationships with woman (like myself) who enabled and supported his drinking. As I have written in an earlier transcript; he died with sclerosis of the liver as a contributing medical cause of death.
In my confusion I attended A.A. thinking that I too had a drinking problem; and indeed I had, when with him. However, the fellowship enabled me the space to ‘get well’ (as I have also written about in that earlier transcript). It was over those years in the fellowship that the Agoraphobia and panic attacks started to abate. I was able to ‘look at myself’ through sober eyes and begin the process of ‘knowing myself’. Six years in the fellowship was an absolute blessing, leaving me with an appreciation of life, and myself, that otherwise would not have been known. Today I look back on those years with sadness; it is true, and gratitude. Sadness, because it was such an horrific fight to regain my ability to reason; to see things clearly; to learn that I wasn’t a bad person; to understand myself; to appreciate my shortcomings… Gratitude; because it gave me the time and space I needed to recover.
Carolyn Page – ABC of Spirit Talk