I had a good run there, a few days straight of feeling good, feeling whole, feeling safe in my skin, feeling - dare I say it - hopeful.
It feels so far off now, like that was just a figment of my imagination.
The panic is back, the feeling like I am running away from something, constantly. The feeling in my body, fight or flight, the trauma response. The inability to find enthusiasm, motivation, energy. My body feels dark, heavy, congested, stuck.
Through the day I am lethargic, slow, it is tough to move my body - and yet, inside, there is a constant agitation. At night, the agitation becomes more obvious, and I lie in bed, awake, trembling, panicking. E was very late at work last night, and when I woke at 1:30 and realized he wasn't home, it didn't take long for me to fly into full anxiety. I called twice and was in the midst of sending a panicky text when he called back - and I screamed at him. He understands, but doesn't deserve it.
I was telling E the other night that if I were making a film about this experience, I would have two different actresses play me, one for the "before" and one for the "after." And they wouldn't look similar, not even one bit. It would be a device and it would take the viewer a long time to figure it out...That is how different I feel. Like if someone were on the outside looking in on this, the "me" now would be completely unrecognizable and completely different to the "me" then. The only reason my family and friends recognize this "me" now is because they were there for the moment it all changed - so they are somehow immune to seeing the fact that I bear absolutely no resemblance to the woman from before. (It's all very sci-fi and hard to explain clearly...)
I got a card from one of my yoga students recently. I hesitate to talk about it because I don't want to sound all braggadocio, but it was a beautiful testament to my teaching, and to the impact I've had on her life. She talked about how missed I am in classes, about how many students are waiting patiently for my return, and reminding me of course to take my time, but that she will welcome me back so wholeheartedly when I am ready to return to teaching. And I stood there staring at the card, trying to remember this woman she wrote about, the woman that used to teach yoga, not so long ago. Laughing, smiling, a twinkle in her eye as she led the group through another sequence of plank-down dog-side plank-down dog-side plank-down dog and then held them in plank for minutes...Opening up hearts, encouraging even the most inflexible to find an opening, taking students to a place where each one of them felt seen, strong, brave, open, and loved. I doubted my abilities as a teacher, I did. I doubted my strength, I doubted my practice, I doubted a lot. And yet, looking back, I would give anything to be that woman, in that body, with those insecurities, instead of this woman, in this body, here, now. The insecurities of my past seem so trivial now. I can't really fathom the fact that life felt difficult for me then. (Is this yet another case of me just romanticizing my past? Perhaps.)
My wrist has been effed-up for weeks, maybe months now. I can't even do one down dog without it sending pain throughout my body. My hip flexors are so excruciatingly tight that I can't stay in child's pose. I do not sit, I do not watch my breath. I tried yesterday in acupuncture to focus on my breath - I lasted maybe four full breaths. I can not even imagine leading a group through a yoga class - it would feel so inauthentic to me right now - my body is a source of such suffering for me - and my mind is anything but quiet. Not only that, but I run away from the practices that might bring me into better balance. My chiropractor, who saw me through my pregnancy, and now treats me after, says that my body is completely unrecognizable to her right now - the tightness in spots that were so remarkably open before, the physical shutdown, the pain. At the same time, she is a bereaved mother, two and half years since her one year old son left this planet, so she knows grief, she knows this journey all too well. She said to me yesterday, "Sarah, if your body wasn't doing this, I'd be more concerned. If you weren't falling apart, I'd be more concerned." When I asked her when I get to take a break, when I get to be "better", her response was, "When I get there, I'll let you know..."
I used to lead my yoga classes through a chant at the end of every class, and then recite a blessing. For five years, usually 4 times a week, I said that blessing.
It has taken me weeks to remember the blessing, and I am still not sure if this is it, or not.
May this practice bring us all into better balance,
with body, breath and spirit,
with each other and the world we all share.
Open your eyes and take in the light of the room,
and acknowledge the light within yourself, and within one another.
That woman, the yoga teacher - she is unrecognizable to me. And I can barely see the light within, it is so damn dark here.