Dear 100 Hour Board,
I need some advice. A few months ago, I went through the temple to do an endowment session for the 2nd time ever. In the middle of the session, I had a bad panic attack. I've dealt with anxiety for years but never faced anything that hard. I felt trapped, my throat felt like it was closing, hands were clammy, etc. I couldn't focus on the session & felt bad I wasn't feeling the spirit. I tried counting in my head, tapping my foot, etc. and eventually it died down.
My sister just got her mission call & is going through the temple soon. She wants me to come. I really want to be there for her, but am scared of going back after what happened last time. It really was that horrible.
Do you have any tips? Is there any type of one-time medication I could take that would calm me down? I'm just not sure what to do..
You may enjoy this rather timely article. It has helped others with your same concern!
-Sunday Night Banter
I wholeheartedly recommend all the advice in the article SNB linked to. In addition to that, I would recommend going one or two times with a good friend who is supportive of your anxiety. They can sit beside you and do simple, unobtrusive things to help if you become anxious. I had a friend who had a similar experience in the temple, and the next time she did endowments I sat with her and held her hand during the parts that bothered her the most. You could also use a similar strategy when your sister goes through the temple - enlist another friend or relative.
I suggest trying to fit in another session before your sister goes through because even though you don't need to feel bad about having a panic attack, if I were in your shoes, I would probably place more pressure on myself to not have a panic attack during such an occasion, which would probably just make me more stressed the whole time.
You could talk to your doctor about options for antianxiety medication. They might recommend something to take consistently, instead of a one-time thing, but medication really does help. Also, if you haven't seen a counselor about your anxiety yet, I would highly recommend it. If you're a BYU student, the CCC in the basement of the Wilk is free. If you're not a BYU student, the BYU Comprehensive Clinic is an affordable option in Utah Valley that serves non-students.
Finally, please don't feel bad for having a panic attack in the temple or not feeling the Spirit while that happens. It's not your fault, and God understands that. He doesn't blame you for it in any way.