If Regina wasn’t my middle name, Danger would be. Last year, I took a huge leap of faith and started studying Krav Maga. I’m not exactly the athletic type, but I fell in love with the idea of feeling like a superhero, and it was the closest I would get to be trained by Batman.
So now, I spend hours every week learning how to survive gun attacks and knife attacks and shirt grabs and all sort of terrible situations. Yeah, Thanos or the Joker? Bring it!
Unfortunately, the greatest attacker in my life remains my own mental health.
On a good note, Krav Maga has helped a great deal with my depression. I feel more alive, more grounded and more in touch with my body. I no longer spend my days isolated and frightened. In some ways, I’ve never felt better.
However, the flip side of that gift is my social anxiety has actually gotten worse. Depression allowed me to avoid social situations by being alone. Now, Krav Maga requires me to spend time with people. I have to talk to them, touch them and be social. It has given me the confidence to try to make friends, giving my social anxiety free rein to stomp over everything I do in my new life.
Social anxiety really packs a punch. I make the tiniest faux pas and I will spend the next few days castigating myself over it, assured that I am the greatest failure on the face of the planet. Everything I do is magnified and scrutinized and found lacking, demolishing my self-esteem. My overactive amygdala portion of the brain has nothing better to do apparently than overreact to everything and take me along for the ride.
Sadly, no defense has been offered in the Krav Maga curriculum to deal with feeling ashamed of yourself. There is no way I can knee my mental demons in the groin and I assure you, it’s not for lack of trying to find one.
Because of my rather obnoxious amygdala, I spend hours after every class, sure I made a laughing stock of myself. I feel awkward almost every single moment. I say things that sound fine in my head and then it comes out horribly. When I speak from my heart, I end up with my foot in my mouth, and end up spending my nights staring up at the ceiling, sure everyone thinks of me as the biggest misfit and weirdo.
Of course, then I wake up the next day and do it all over again, because every day lived out of my comfort zone is a good day, no matter how bad I feel. Somehow, I’m starting to feel like I can fight back and defeat the anxiety, just as I defeated depression. I’ll take hope wherever I can find it.
So, here’s my journey. I’ll record the tools I learn along the way, and hopefully, someone will find it helpful or at least entertaining.
Of course, now I’m starting to get anxious about writing this. Yeah, it’s a work in progress.