My name is Lori and I am a panic survivor currently in recovery.

I have struggled with debilitating panic disorder since early 2000’s.My life had become unmanageable in that I got to the point that I could barely leave my house anymore. It started with a panic attack on the 59th St bridge which then led to a panic attack on the Throgs Neck Bridge. From there, the panic attacks happened on all bridges, and then when I was approaching a bridge. Eventually, even thinking of a bridge caused a panic attack; I couldn’t breathe, my throat closed up and I thought I was going to die. For real! I got to the point that I completely avoided bridges; missed events, made excuses, struggled to find alternate routes and pissed off a whole lot of people who kept being disappointed in me.

For sure I couldn’t talk about it; I was extremely embarrassed and ashamed. What the hell was wrong with me?!

The bridge fear then spread to planes and elevators, and eventually all places that I felt trapped like I couldn’t get out or escape. It had gotten so bad that I started to have panic attacks anytime I left my house! Taking walks was my stress reliever, and I started panicking then too! After more time, I began panicking at home too. No place was safe; I was suicidal; I knew that I couldn’t live like this anymore.

Just as I was ready to give up, Deb Wertz, my mentor/yoga teacher/friend offered the Yoga To Heal Panic course, I figured “Why not?” I trusted Deb; she had helped me use yoga to learn to trust my body again after some injuries and a bad bout of fibromyalgia.

What I experienced in this course was much more than just a quick fix like a Xanax; I experienced true freedom. An awakening. An understanding of my panic disorder. First, is that I wasn’t alone. Secondly, the F.E.A.R. acronym- False Evidence Appearing Real.

Through talk therapy and yoga with Deb, along with sharing my experiences with others, I began to learn that fear was just a big old bully who had me by the balls and kept squeezing them until I no longer could “live”. I learned that, every time I tried to resist my fear, it just grew bigger and bigger. All my methods just led me to avoid life. From this course I learned that I not only needed to face these bullies named fear and panic but stomp the living shit out of them. The tools taught in this course showed me how.

I now am living a full, active life and can not only be in the car with someone who is driving over a bridge, but I now can drive over the damn things myself!

This is me driving (Xanax free!) over the 59th St bridge in NYC:  

I even WALKED across one of the tallest suspension bridges around!

I am not going to lie, I still feel nervous, but I no longer avoid things, I face them head on and congratulate the crap out of myself for every challenge I face.

Two great quotes from the course that resonate with me: “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, and “everything you want is on the other side of fear”. Mostly, Yoga To Heal Panic and Deb Wertz saved my life by offering not only knowledge and understanding of my panic, but practical effective ways to face it head on and stop the bully from ruining my life. I can never express how grateful I am for this course and more importantly, the amazing woman Deb Wertz that has created and teaches it.

~Lori Miller