Can We Heal Anxiety? Embracing Fluidity and Exploration

Posted by Sabina Pettitt on

 As I have recounted before, one of the significant milestones in my own life journey – and in the path toward creating Pacific Essences itself – was actually a time of fear and anxiety, a moment when I experienced a true ‘crash and burn’ from the life and habits I was cultivating.

As I navigated this experience of vulnerability and helplessness, I took some time off work and allowed Mother Nature, our farm, and Michael to hold me softly and allow me to heal. After a few weeks I thought I was ready to return to work. So one morning I set out down the road back to the office. All of a sudden, I felt that sensation of complete terror and realized that I just could not do it. So I turned around and drove home.

Michael came out of the greenhouse when he heard the car and I ran sobbing into his arms, wailing, “I couldn’t do it! I couldn’t do it!” And he responded, “It’s nearly lunchtime. Would you like a bowl of soup?” To this day, I see that as the perfect response. He fed absolutely no energy into my crisis, and he didn’t label it as anything special.

When I think back on this experience what I remember the most is the care and attention I received from both Michael and a gifted chiropractor and energy medicine practitioner Dr. John LaPlante. In the four to six months that this challenge lasted, I never heard either of them label my experience as ‘anxiety’ or ‘panic attacks,’ or give any other psychophysical label to what I was going through. And for this I am forever grateful.

From my point of view, one of the problems with assigning a definitive label to something is that it somehow becomes more real and solidified. Less open to change and evolution, more likely to be ‘managed’ by pharmaceuticals. My experience of this period of anxiety in my life, scary and painful as it was, is that it never got a chance to solidify. It was fluid.  While it was not a grand adventure with a positive outcome in sight, it was okay to move through it as an exploration. At some point I remember saying to Michael that maybe if I got through this, I would be able to use it in some way to help others.  


Fast forward to 1993, when I was in my early years of practicing acupuncture. A woman in her late twenties came to me because she had seen a copy of the first edition of my book - Energy Medicine – Healing from the Kingdoms of Nature - on her mother’s coffee table. I was treating her mother for a back injury, and most of my patients over the years have been offered Essences as well as acupuncture as part of the treatment protocol. Her mother’s home was the only place she ever went, because she was agoraphobic (which means that she had a fear of being in public places). She and her boyfriend lived on a boat, and he did all the shopping and anything that required being outside their home. She was on medication, and under the supervision of a psychiatrist who was willing to work with her to get off of them.

Like me, this woman had had one experience of panic when she was studying music at university. However, unlike me, her condition had been labelled immediately and the recommended intervention was drugs. Now it was 10 years later and she was significantly overweight (one of the side effects of the meds), she had no light in her eyes, had no interest in a sexual relationship with her partner, but was completely attracted to the Energy Medicine book and acupuncture and the possibility of making a change in her reality. Luckily, so was her psychiatrist.

And so we began together one of the most rewarding journeys of my practice. At some point I noticed that every time I made her a new Essence formula, Grass Widow was usually in it.  Grass Widow (Sisyrinchium douglasii) is for releasing old beliefs and limiting patterns.  What more appropriate Essence for someone who had been locked into the belief that she could not go out in public for nearly 10 years?

During the course of our treatments over the next six months, she regularly saw her psychiatrist and he readily reduced the medications in a safe way for her to take time adjusting to each new level. At eight months after beginning treatment, she was able to stop the pharmaceuticals entirely and began going out into public places. One year after beginning acupuncture and Essence treatment, she was unmedicated, had lost 60 kg, was healthy and active and began her new life. This included breaking up with her boyfriend who had been there for her since that first moment of panic when they were both at university. But perhaps this was because they were both somehow living with the static pressure of her ‘condition’s’ label, and not with her actual experience and the possibility of where it could go. Who knows? 

The point is that my dream way back when I was filled with my own fear and anxiety came true, and with the help of Essences and the tools to balance energy, I was part of this amazing healing journey.


Essences can support our healing journey in so many ways. In times of emotional distress, when fear, anxiety, and even panic come to the forefront of our experience, the gentle intervention of Essences can be particularly effective. Contrary to the practices of categorizing, labeling, and prescribing that are central to Western medicine, it can be helpful to recognize that these mental and emotional journeys are deeply individual, fluid, and subject to change.

Rather than focusing on the ‘cause’ or explanations for when and why these moments of fear or anxiety surface, Essences can help us to simply let go of these old reactive patterns and tune in to the flow of the present moment. This release in turn invites a healing shift that happens in our own time, in our own Mind/Body, and in harmony with our evolving experience.

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