Everyone who has said yoga is a good practice for people who experience PTSD has been correct, in my experience. It was a long, rough road to get started, and I know so much more now than I did when I first started hearing that. Research said do yoga, my therapist suggested I do yoga, people I know said do yoga. But it was so impossibly hard for me to do yoga, and I am just now starting to enjoy it rather than endure it. I can get really angry during yoga. I’ve talked about this before, but as I continue to practice and start to get into a regular practice I’m noticing a lot more about it, both the benefits and why it was so hard for me to get here.
Yoga tends to bring up a lot of emotion for me.
Hence the anger, sometimes seething rage.
I’ve not been feeling well this week, but “not feeling well” can mean a multitude of things. I had gotten so far as to tell my boyfriend I thought something might be wrong with me, and as much as I’ve stuck with my regular work schedule and knocking out my do-to lists, I’ve been slowly plodding along during the day, and have had a lot of other things going on – upset stomach, anxiety, hard time focusing, not feeling very strong or energetic, etc. And my resting heart rate, the best indicator of how much I’m experiencing PTSD symptoms, has been creeping back up.
I avoided yoga on Monday, because I just didn’t want to, even though the next video in my playlist, ironically enough, was Yoga with Adrienne’s Yoga for When You’re in a Bad Mood. Ha! I snacked, ate dinner, snacked and ate ice cream instead, trying not to be hard on myself for eating more than I needed to instead of doing yoga. I knew I was avoiding, I just didn’t know what. Last night I did yoga, and it took about three minutes before I was in tears. There it was.
If I have an experience that echoes an experience that was traumatic, or that was connected to trauma somehow, or if I’m in a context that resembles one that was previously connected to trauma, it messes with me. Even if the reality is, “nope, totally different this time.”, by brain and body sometimes (most of the time) can’t tell the difference. It is a constant battle, and one I can never get ahead of because there’s not a way for me to anticipate this. Even if I could block out all of the experiences that connect to trauma for me, and I don’t want to because a lot of positive things connect to trauma for me, there are so many and so many that surprise me that it’s not even feasible.
So I have to keep going, keep trying, keep sorting through the thoughts and the connections and repeatedly checking my emotional responses against reality and making specific and intentional choices to not allow trauma to win. It is exhausting, and it is making me really slow and ineffective this week when I want to be doing a lot of writing for work and pushing some projects forward. Interestingly to me my work isn’t bad, and the quality isn’t suffering, but my speed is super slow compared to usual and I’m not excited about that.
Now that I know what’s going on I can address it and work through it, but like the rest of my week this isn’t something that can be resolved quickly, and my brain needs to see “it’s different this time” proved out before it can accept the new information. This shit is hard, y’all, and if this is also your experience, I get it, and you are certainly not alone.