3) How Did the Downward Spiral Begin?

Around the age of 18 I began to suffer from panic attacks.

These, over time, became more and more frequent. They forced me to rush to the hospital at night, as I was certain, absolutely certain, that I was on the point of death.

These panic attacks always began with palpitations, followed by cold sweats, and after that came a feeling of lightheadedness. I then got short of breath, and finished with a feeling of total panic and confusion that fogged my brain.

At that point I was totally finished: the panic reached its height and I had to wake my father in the middle of the night to have him take me to the hospital.

This horrible sequence of events repeated itself all too often.

But this is only the beginning. The symptoms got worse and were joined by others. Over the years intercostal pain and a stabbing pain at the mouth of the stomach increased. The last one literally drove me crazy: it was like having a nail under the last rib on the left side which pierced me from side to side, tearing at my flesh.

At the same time attacks of indigestion became more and more frequent: they consisted of episodes of heartburn which ended in attacks of vomiting. At first they were only occasional, but over time they became more and more frequent. These attacks caused me to lose a great deal of weight.

Almost it seems like the diagnosis of a sociopath. Yet I was certain that I wasn’t one.

In this period I began to notice that my body was not exactly upright. I looked at myself in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw. I noticed that my back was curved and my head was bent forward. It seemed I was about to fall over. Sure, I had always had this stoop, but it was in this period that I became truly conscious of these features of my body. Who knew if there wasn’t a connection between these ugly curvatures and my “imaginary” symptoms?

I sensed that there was a connection between the shape of my body and these symptoms. This was the principal motivation behind my decision to choose Sport Science as my course of study. I wanted to understand how the body worked and why mine functioned so poorly.

So I went and registered at the Faculty of Sport Science at the Parthenope University in Naples. I tackled my studies with particular dedication, the dedication typical of someone who wants to escape at all costs from the tentacles of an illness.

That’s not all, during this time I focused on biomechanics (Reich, Lowen, etc.). Biomechanics deals with the relationship between posture and psychology.

I read a great deal of what these two essays of biomechanics had written; I read everything I could get my hands on, I attended yoga classes and practiced a therapy based on meditation.

Meditation in particular came to be very useful to me in acquiring the skills which allowed me to understand the origins of my suffering. Meditation allowed me to map my body and to isolate the feelings I had down to a single point. Thanks to this I gained an awareness of my symptoms, and I learned to acknowledge my pain and the purpose of its existence.

Since childhood I have also been passionate about sports and have always taken part in athletics with enormous enthusiasm and dedication, but also in this area there was something that always kept me from achieving my best.

Thanks to all the knowledge that I had acquired, I did an incredible amount of work in stretching, exercises at the gym, swimming and other sports in order to succeed in gaining control over my posture. Nevertheless it seemed there wasn’t anything to be done.

The downward spiral was relentless; it seemed to be a curse from which it was impossible to escape. My body got worse and worse, and no matter how much I thrashed around I didn’t succeed in stopping the deterioration.

Then, all of a sudden, around May, the spiral of deterioration made a stop. What had happened? It appeared that the body was settling down. It seemed to have found its own balance.


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