My psychologist gave me a task, and that was to write every day (which I already do) and to do one activity out of the house a day. I’ve just joined the gym, so those go together well.
Yesterday, I decided that a yoga session would be my one activity. I had been going to the gym for the running machine for the last couple of days but this time I decided to take a class.
What could possibly go wrong?
I’m a beginner, but I’ve done yoga before, even at this gym. It was a different instructor this last though. I didn’t think that would matter too much.
As the people came in and the door was closed, it turned out that there were only 5 of us in the class and straight away my anxiety went up. Other classes had at least 20 people and I could hide far in the corner. Not this time.
The teacher then decided to do the worst thing she possibly could: she asked to go around and say who we were and what were our intentions for the yoga today. This might sound like nothing to some people, but I died inside at her words. (Even as I’m writing this, I’m reacting with physical anxiety). I find it extremely difficult to speak in front of groups of people.
As she was saying her own piece I started to shake. She picked me first. My face was twitching and ticking as I managed ‘I’m Zoe’ but the panic was just too much. I said ‘I’m going to pass’, waving my hands in front of me like I wanted to push her into oblivion. I walked away into a corner. Obviously the whole room was looking at me wondering why I was reacting that way. She made a face but said ‘ok’.
The class carried on round, saying their pieces but I heard nothing. My body had gone off like a firework. As the class started, I began to dissociate, unable to properly comprehend what the instructor was saying or doing. I began to hallucinate green circles of light and colored spots. This is not unusual when I am very anxious.
I was finding it difficult to get myself to do what she was teaching because the instructions were just not getting through to my brain. This was obviously making me even more anxious.
Not only that, but I started to shake really bad.
Both my legs went into spasm and they shook so hard I looked like I was having a fit below my waist. Here I am trying to yoga moves and I’m flipping like a fish. What makes it worse is that everyone has turned to the side and I’m at the end, so they are all looking at me.
To walk out now would make a huge scene, plus I’d have to put equipment away, so I think that the only choice I have is to calm down. I’m stuck here, so make the best of it. I try and breathe. Breeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaathe.
After a while it helps. I have the odd breakthrough spasm but it works on the whole.
Other things then happen like I forget to pick up certain equipment that everyone else is using so I sit there looking stupid while they use it. I also end up doing things the opposite way to everyone – nothing major but just another thing to make me look like the weirdo in yoga class together. Ugh. (Meanwhile I’m covered with tattoos putting me in the weird category even more).
When we’re lying on the mats in relaxation at the end, I have so many negative thoughts going through my head. I’m ALWAYS going to be DISABLED by this shit. I try to think of positive affirmations, to cut though it, like my psychologist told me, but it doesn’t work.
I’m so thankful it’s only a 45 minute class and I get out of there asap.
I’m determined not to let it break me down though, so I go into the gym area and on the running machine for 30 mins or so. That makes me feel like I’ve achieved something at least.
I just wish I didn’t have that firework of adrenaline go off in me – shaking, twitching, hallucinations, dissociation. I can’t control it.
I try not to dwell on what happened.
I will also try to go to another yoga session with a different instructor next week.
It will not stop me.
I need to get over this.