An unsteady heartbeat might be the first sign.
Sometimes it will be racing, full of excitement, an intense curiosity, a feeling of being so alive, reborn.
Then it will plummet.
You will trip over an unseen edge and fall, deep into a murky black pit of lethargy. Everything will slow down. Time will bend around you and smother you. Your heart will fight to pump your blood, to keep you living. You might feel numb.
Shortness of breath can go along with your breaking free experience.
At times, those shallow breaths come from the sense that you’re flying. You’ll be gasping for air, but it’s because you’re seeing the universe for the first time.
At other times, you will gasp for air because anxiety has pushed all the oxygen out of your lungs and you are suffocating. Panic will sit heavy on your chest. You won’t know why. You’ll claw at yourself, trying to release the pressure, trying to get the burden off, trying to get some air in.
Try to remember it’s only a feeling. I know that doesn’t help much. When you feel like you’re suffocating, nothing helps. Breathe as slow as you can. Don’t try to fight the panic. That only makes it worse. Focus on a single, slow, deep breath. Then another.
Over time, this practice will become easier.
Muscle tension is also common.
You might wake up in the morning with shoulders so tense and crunchy that you can barely turn your head. Your neck locks up. Your lower back may feel as if someone is stabbing knives into you, repeatedly, for fun. It’s not unusual to feel sharp pains, aches, and heaviness in the region of your womb.
You are birthing yourself.
Expect some nausea.
It will pass, as all things do.
Here are some things that will help you alleviate your symptoms:
- Try some peppermint tea.
- Or try running out into a quiet space alone and yelling every curse you know into the sky.
- Write a letter to everyone who’s tried to box you in, and tell them all the ways you are angry, and tell them why they cannot keep you in that small box any longer.
- Try taking a nap.
- Long walks are good.
- Howl at the moon to ease the pain when you realize how much of your wild self was caged and domesticated. This is grieving and it is holy.
- A warm herbal pack on the back of the neck can ease stiffness.
Roaring like a ravenous lion when someone suggests you are overreacting, being emotional, or needing to calm down. This is a lovely practice. I recommend it.
- Try standing up very, very tall and straight for as long as you can. Take up more room. Spread out. Get big. Bigger. Hold your space. It belongs to you.
- Try not breaking eye contact: when someone questions your motives, your sincerity, or your right to be. Stare deep into their eyes. Growl softly.
Repeat as needed until symptoms alleviate.
The rest is up to you.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.
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