Alternative title: Because the idea of interacting with people makes me feel sick … Even if said interaction is limited to saying “excuse me” to two old dears who are far too engrossed in their gossip about Derek and his weak bladder to notice that I’m trying to bulk buy bog rolls and that they’re in the way of the soft rolls … Needless to say, we now have the scratchy tissue. Way to go Anxiety! Nothing says home comfort like wiping your butt with toilet paper that feels like it’s made of poison ivy, nettles and acid!
I’m not sure what kicked this off … It could have been a particularly stressful time at work or the neighbourhood kids near knocking the door off it’s hinges at Halloween in search of sweets or the meeting with the Therapist (probably more so the events leading up to it) or my brain just feels overwhelmed all of sudden. Whatever is the catalyst is a rather moot point, because ultimately I’ve withdrawn from pretty much anything that involves associating with other people.
Initially I thought I just needed a bit of time to regroup … A lot has happened in quick succession with regards to my Mental Health; I’ve found myself having to adapt to max dose Mirtazapine, I’ve learned what it is to be utterly afraid of my thoughts one minute to trusting everything they say the next (without really knowing if that trust is misguided), I’ve met with a new Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (and unleashed a fresh hell with discussing issues with regards to my body image) and I have an appointment coming up with a new GP (yep, another one) … and, this is a big AND, I’ve actually opened up to my parents about what has been going on in that brain of mine (as you can imagine, that discussion was quite emotive).
When my back was turned dealing with the Depression and it’s ensuing fallout, my Anxiety showed it’s jealous side and started acting out. It started with missing one yoga class, then two, then all of them … I’ve stopped attending weight lifting and calisthenics … I can’t make eye contact with people when in public for fear they’ll talk to me (or about me!) or that they’ll actually meet my gaze (awkward!) or that I’ll see them just looking at me … Judging me. A phone rings and my first instinct is to ignore it, let it go to voicemail … Then ignore the voicemail.
The Anxiety tells me to keep my mouth shut … If I open it all the stupid will fall out and people will see me for the dumb shit that I really am.
The Anxiety tells me to blend into the background … If I don’t people will see how grotesque I am.
The Anxiety tells me to avoid exercise classes … If I don’t I’ll make an absolute arse of myself infront of everyone.
The Anxiety tells me all these things and more.
The Anxiety is as skilled a liar as the Depression is … And even though I know this, it has it’s claws under my skin, it whispers in my ear everytime I have to come into contact with someone else and I find myself withdrawing further and further into it’s warped view of the world. I find myself listening to it talk and agreeing with it’s fears … With my fears.
At the moment those fears relate to situations in which I have a choice to attend or not … So unless the Anxiety is going to pay for my mortgage I do have hours in which I have to associate with people, in which I hide behind a blank emotionless mask and try to ignore the fact that my heart is racing, that my arms are consumed by that ‘pins and needles’ type tingling reserved for moments in which I want to run, that my hands are trembling. Hours in which I can focus on something other than those around me … In which I can be so absorbed by something else that conversation (and even eye contact) takes a back seat. I can be in a bubble in an open plan office.
I’m trying to remind myself that if I can do that on a daily basis then I should be able to go back to a class. After all, how am I going to humiliate myself at yoga class? Fart? Been there, done that, fell out of a warrior pose laughing! Near suffocate due to boobs? Yep, every darned class! Have to remove a front wedgie? Some poses are just designed to make this happen to me.
I’ve done those things and I’ve survived them … Hell, I’m probably not the first or last to experience those things.
So why am I now totally terrified of just walking in there and dropping my mat? … My Therapist has asked if I think it’s related to my need to be perfect. My need to fit an impossible ideal. This concept isn’t new … My PWP believed this need to be the reason for my OCD. My Therapist believes this is the reason for my body image issues. The pressure I place on myself to be something I can never achieve has always been there, it gnaws away at me. It manifests in various ways. It’s possible this is a manifestation of it … A need that makes me insecure, that makes me question myself and the motives of others.
And right now I feel trapped by it. I want to shy away from everyone and stay in a duvet cocoon. It feels as though it’s tearing my insides apart.
Have you guys and gals ever done anything silly in an exercise class? Are you a secret yoga farter or have your legs given out at a spin class?