I have been meditating consistently for about 4 years and am so grateful to have found this practice. I feel like it has opened me to so many areas in life that I had closed off to, including love, inner peace and self acceptance. It hasn't been the easiest journey but I guess life isn't meant to be.
When I first started meditation I was working in a job as an Engineer which I wasn't loving. I knew I needed to change this but had slowly over time set my life up in such a way that to make any change would affect everyone in my family (husband and children) in a negative way and so I kept on, telling myself that I should be grateful, I was very lucky, that my issues were in my head.
So after about 3 months of meditating quite consistently (at least an hour a day) I started to have quite debilitating panic attacks, heart palpitations, feeling like I couldn't breathe and generally feeling like I was about to die (you can only know how horrible it is if you have had one). So this went on (having 2-3 panic attacks a day) for about 3 months. I was on high alert watching my body constantly for the signs of an imminent attack. In addition to this I would have night panic attacks where I would be woken by my racing heart in the middle of a panic attack. And I somehow kept working through this. I changed my diet and tried every alternative medicine under the sun. The doctor told me it was anxiety but though I knew I had allot of stress to deal with in my life it didn't feel like any of my day to day stresses had changed, or increased to warrant this new issue. He offered medication, which I decided not to take. After the initial 3 months of very intense panic attacks I had lost 8 kg and was no closer to understanding what was happening. I just felt like my heart was going to give up on me as each attack felt like I had run a marathon.
Then one day my mother gave me some beautiful advice from spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. She said why don't you just try to accept the feelings and sensations as they happen, instead of fighting them. So feeling like I would try anything by this point, I did what she suggested. I had to implement the advice quite a few times but I was sudden having fewer daytime panic attacks. The night panic attacks continued for a couple more months but eventually stopped too. Yippee!
After this time I changed jobs and then eventually (3 years later) started making and selling yoga bolsters and other yoga/meditation props full time (which is a vocation that has other new and interesting stresses, haha).
The hard thing for me through this process was wanting to solve, manage, control my body and not being able to. I wanted to know what was wrong and solve it.
A meditation course that I went on recently provided some very interesting information that would have really helped me back then. It described kundalini energy movement, which I think I had unleashed with my meditation practices. When you have stuck energy (fear etc.) through your chakra system the kundalini energy can't flow. I realise I was fighting this energy movement and when I decided to accept it (thanks Eckhart!!), it was able to flow and the attacks stopped. Very occasionally I will still wake up in the night in the middle of what feels like a panic attack, with this new approach I look at the sensations differently and though its still not pleasant it is not scary and now the energy moves through and my heart doesn't go crazy. Just a normal heart beat... yippeeee.