My background is that my father was/is an alcoholic and I had pretty rough childhood. I recently turned 33. I always was pretty self aware. I have a good job. I’m easy going open person, have a bunch of friends, but in spite of that there are often times when I feel really lonely. I always had this anxiety/fear shadow on my shoulder, usually visiting me while I was walking street alone, or commuting. I got divorced 3 years ago and after some “rebound/reset” period and couple of toxic relationships decided to get my head straight. Wanted to end the family script of going into toxic relationships and then getting divorced again. That’s why I decided to start meditating.
My journey with meditation began a little more than a year ago. Since then I’ve been meditating almost every day for about 15-20 mins (usually in the morning). I’ve been using one of the more popular apps on the market to guide me through this process, and never had a real life teacher. It’s a standard practice of body scanning, and then observing the breath (+ sometimes some noting/visualisation techniques). I feel that I’m still a beginner in all of this and barely scratched the surface. I started reading “Mindfulness with breathing” by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu but after the first steps the rest is hard for me to understand.
During that year of meditation I gradually got calmer, gained a bigger distance to myself, stopped drinking so much, my empathy and understanding towards others grew. I stopped partying so much (realized it’s meaningless). I pretty much resigned from part of my activities that I noticed had bad motivation underneath.
Seems great, and I’m really greatful for all of this, but recently some dark thoughts began to cloud my mind (thoughts like ‘will I always be alone?’, ‘what if everyone turn their back on me?’). I’m not sure what’s the cause and I’m afraid that my meditation had something to do with it.
Recently during the weekend I had a big panic attack while in the pub with my friend. I quickly got home and realized that I can’t go to work on monday cause I’m too scared of walking the street… I wrote to my boss that I’m sick and I had to work remotely. I even thought about quitting my job on the spot, I couldn’t imagine walking to work again. I still continued my practice. When I finally went out to get to work (just couldn’t give up), the whole journey was a nightmare. I couldn’t stop thinking about the imminent danger. When I walk, the bad thoughts start to arise I try not to repress them, but see them, observe, accept, and get back to the breath. I have to do this almost every 30 sek, cause they keep coming back. It helps when I occupy my mind with other thoughts. But whenever I bring my mind to present moment the anxiety kicks in and I start having this panic attacks again. I have a feeling that by practicing the meditation I dig up something buried very deep inside me and now it messes up my mind. I know I couldn’t handle it alone, so I went to psychiatrist and got some meds to help me during this period. I will begin the therapy shortly.
My question is, should I quit meditating? is that bad for me because of my childhood experiences? am I doing something wrong?
Best regards, Robert