When I was sixteen years old, I began suffering from panic attacks. I am still unsure to this day what the cause was exactly, but I remember feeling absolutely terrified. I had looked in a psychology book and came to the conclusion that I was experiencing some sort of panic disorder and decided that I should probably go see a therapist.
It is difficult to describe exactly how this panic felt, but the world felt very unreal and terrifying, I was at a point where I would not leave home because I was terrified of dying. I had grown up with a concept of what God was, or at least people's interpretation of God. Although, I knew about God during this time I lost my faith in God. I felt very isolated, alone, and pretty much doomed.
One evening, when I was particularly distressed I got down on my knees and I prayed. I do not remember the exact content of what my prayer was, but basically I said to God that I did not believe anymore. I had lost faith, and if God was in fact real, to please help me or prove something to me, it was the next day or a few days later that I had what I describe as the "spiritual experience".
On the day of the experience, I was in my bedroom lying on my bed, in mental agony, which was something I felt constantly during this time period. I was lamenting and feeling sorry for myself. I remember having the thought..."Why is this happening to me?" It was then that a question was posed in response "Why not you?"
I then realized that I could not answer this question because I was no better than anyone else. It is from this point forward that my experience was more about feeling than thinking, so it may be difficult to describe in words, but I will try. After that question was asked I suddenly felt my oneness with all humans, and everything on earth. I did not feel separate as I once had, I felt like I was just the same as everything else on this planet.
Although I was realizing that I was at one with everything, all at once I felt very loved and special. This is probably the most significant part of the experience, because I remember that prior to this experience I felt very unloved by God and left behind. It was during this experience that I literally felt love, a very intense love. I realized that I was important, and I was loved. It was at this point that I began weeping because the love for me was so intense.
I realized how I had treated others, but I did not hate myself, all I felt was unconditional love and forgiveness. It was as if I was getting a lifetime's worth of information all in a matter of minutes. I was a sixteen year old girl, who came out of this experience with the wisdom of someone much older. I knew that not only did I need to forgive myself, but I needed to learn to forgive others. I knew that my anxiety was something that was meant to happen, and that I did not need to go to a therapist. (Although I would recommend that most people with anxiety issues to go see someone.)
It was like I just knew what I had to do deep within myself. I have never had so much clarity. I knew that I needed to face the things that were scaring me, and that I would be just fine. I did just that and my anxiety disappeared. How this happened to me, is still a mystery even ten years later, but needless to say I have never been the same since.