At 21 years old, I experienced my first panic attack. I still vividly remember that August day — how fast my heart was beating, the way my breath shortened, how the world seemed to close in around me. It felt like I was having a heart attack. My step-mom drove me to the hospital, my one-year old sister sitting next to me. At the hospital, they told me that I was experiencing a panic attack. In the nine years that followed, I suffered in silence and shame, experiencing many periods of anxiety and agoraphobia. I remembered my panic attacks so vividly, that I began to fear the feeling of fear itself. I feared entering crowded rooms and going for long drives. I feared anything that might trigger that feeling of panic again.
And the sojourn began, on an uncertain and unlit path to seek relief, peace and serenity from anxiety and a propensity towards perfectionism (sound familiar anyone?). At first, I began with exercise for stress relief, and then I found yoga and meditation. I remember crying during one of my first yoga classes as my breath merged with my body, forming a powerful moving meditation that let me gently access my emotions. It was amazing. Who knew that so much grief lay in the hips, and that pressing on the heart chakra could bring such inner warmth?
For years, these feelings of anxiety and relief ebbed and flowed. But once I began graduate school while working full-time, the pressure began to build again. I put my hard-earned money towards bi-weekly massages with my roommate’s mom, a Saturday morning treat that helped for a few days. And like many people around me, I used alcohol to relax and unwind, but it became clear that it did more harm than good. After having an honest conversation with my Dad about my anxiety, I decided to try medication—and finally, I felt a shift. For me, it was the combination of medication and holistic modalities that saved my life. My massage therapist introduced me to Reiki, I began studying energy work, sharing and receiving Reiki with my friend Eliza and the many healers she brought together each month, many of whom are now part of Synergy.
I always thought that I had to “figure myself out” before helping others. It always felt as though there were two sides of me: the strong, achievement-oriented clinically trained professional with the “I’ve got this” attitude, and the spiritual gypsy, seeking solace and guidance through energy healing, crystals, and spiritual books. I did not realize that it was because of my experience with anxiety that I could be a resource to others. I did not have to be “fixed” to be of help. I did not have to compromise my work ethic in order to live a healing centered life.
It was through these realizations that I began to dream of creating Synergy. I wanted to create a space where people could arrive with ease, and find all of the services and classes they needed to nurture and heal their body, mind, and spirit. I sought to create the place that I was searching for all of those years ago— a place that was free from stigma where we could all heal our invisible injuries. Thirty years after that August day, the path to Synergy was illuminated with clarity, love, and light. May we all find hope and healing in sharing our stories and may we all find solace through experiencing this shared sacred space. Thank you for being part of my journey, as I hope Synergy is a part of yours.