I had a panic attack in yoga on Friday night. Like, serious — tears streaming (I played it off as sweat), legs shaking — panic attack.
It was in a class I love, with one of the best instructors I ever worked with. And yet, of nowhere…
It happened as the class worked on handstands, a move that has always been a source of fear for me. We were in a safe space, with assistance, and nobody was judging. But the fear came fast and hard and despite every mental trick I know, I could not get my feet even an inch off the ground. I just stayed in downward dog, fighting an emotional battle.
Now, I’ve learned one thing from yoga, and that’s that the emotions I feel on the mat are rarely the same as I feel outside of class. Something about that practice pulls things to the surface that I didn’t even know were bubbling underneath.
The handstand was not the problem. The fear was. And it was the fear and uncertainty that led to the emotional release.
In this case, the breakdown was a good reminder for me that everyone I meet is dealing with something difficult, whether with a relationship, with work or with health. Some of those things are just normal, daily struggles and others are deeper and more painful.
This blog is a therapist’s couch of sorts for me, so I’m not afraid to share with you, my beloved readers, that I am fearful of things. Big and small, they scare me, and often excite me at the same time. I’m afraid that I will do things and I’m afraid that I won’t. I’m afraid that the path I’ve envisioned for myself will not be an easy road. I’m afraid that the goals I have aren’t attainable, or will take longer to achieve than I’d like.
But I think recognizing that I am vulnerable makes me a more accepting, understanding and forgiving person. I’m not alone in what I’m struggling with, and in asking for help (which I’ve done), I realize that people often suffer silently. That means that chances are, one of you is working through some stress. Chances are, someone in my family is quietly dealing with drama, too. Chances are, some of my closest friends are having a difficult time.
So, I ask that in this season of giving…give your kindness and your patience. You never know what someone is going through.
P.S. After writing this in stream of consciousness, I re-read and realized how emo it sounds! I promise, I’m fine. Just some stuff that I’m working through, and I promise…that working is, well, working. I live an extremely blessed, lucky life, and this is just a small speed bump.