My name is J. Lantern. I am a writer living in Northern California with my husband, my two middle school-aged children, and three large dogs. And for a long time, a panic disorder rendered me completely helpless
I am not a doctor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. I am a person who has recovered from a panic disorder – a condition that for a time, rendered me completely helpless.
In the years since, I have learned all I can about panic and anxiety. I have worked with multiple doctors, and I have read all the books. I am familiar with the medical descriptions and lists of symptoms. But knowing these clinical definitions and terms, I have found, is not the same as knowing what it is to be consumed by panic. There is a horror to it that the medical descriptions fail to capture.
Over the past 20 years, I have reflected on and written about my journey through a panic disorder and anxiety, and I share these reflections and insights here, in the hope that they might help others on the same journey.
What I discovered, first-hand, is that panic changes you. But, believe it or not, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can change you in extraordinary ways. You can emerge from panic as a stronger, wiser, and more insightful individual. What I discovered is that we can do more than just survive panic. Through panic, we can learn to thrive.
There are times when I wish I had a different story to tell. Some Eat, Pray, Love type of adventure that is about traveling to all these fabulous places and growing into this very wise human being, all the while eating great food, seeing fabulous places, and having incredible sex. That would have been so awesome.
Only, that didn’t happen to me. That’s not my story. (If that’s the story you want to read, try “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.) Instead, I fell through a wormhole in the fabric of the cosmos and landed in hell. Only, no one else around me was in hell. Just me. And no one else seemed to realize that I was in hell, even though I was standing right next to them. And I guess I looked perfectly fine, normal even, despite the fact that I felt like someone who had just fallen through a crack in space and time and landed in Hades. And to top it off, I was pretty sure I was dying, even though I wasn’t sure if anything was actually real… maybe our existence was all just a horrible nightmare… in which case, maybe dying wasn’t even possible…
Yeah, that’s my story. Pearly white beach people should exit here. (You might want to read, “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.) For the rest of you, whatever twisted path of cyber-links brought you here, I am guessing you didn’t come here for pearly white beaches. You came, maybe, because you fell in too. And even though it sucks to be here, it kind of helps to know that you’re not alone in here. And shared suffering is always a little bit easier to bear.
But I didn’t create this blog just so we could frolic in this land of misery together. I wrote it because I found a way out. I found my way through. But I have to warn you, it doesn’t look exactly the same as it used to on the other side…
Heck no! Turns out I ended up somewhere BETTER! And guess what? Here’s the kicker… it turns out that the ONLY way to get from where I was originally (before I fell in) to where I am now (somewhere better), is through the wormhole and the fires of hell.
So, you’re in it, my friend. You’re on your way. You’re in the shit of it now. I know. It’s shit. But, it’s going to get better. And one day, yes, one day… you’ll be glad you fell in too.
And in the meantime, I’ll be glad to slog through the mud with you for a while. We’ll be like Frodo and Sam, slogging our way through Mordor. And like Frodo and Sam, we’re going to make it out too.
*Do not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.