I want to keep brief track of my experiences at the gym, and blogging lets me do that easily, but these posts will likely not be of interest to others. The gym is a kind of laboratory for me, as what I do there is very regimented and controlled, and it repeats, so I want to record how it’s going. I have tended to dissociate during exercise, and am struggling not to do so.
Tuesday I went to the gym. This time I progressed to doing all the weight machines in my (very easy) program, as I was no longer as worried about dissociating. 15 minutes on the elliptical. Felt a lot of choking sensations, and a bunch of anger kind of coming of my back. Kept thinking about my feet and legs, and allowed myself to feel bad and heavy. And I can see why I dissociate – choking is not a good feeling. You feel like you might not be able to breathe, and the automatic reaction is to panic and fight for breath. I told myself that I was not really choking, it was likely a memory, and tried to relax my throat a bit. If it was a memory, it was half strength, and I could definitely cope. Music helped – I was playing fairly slow music that I liked, and it helped to calm.
On to the weights – I continued to do them very slowly. No huge issues – choking feeling receded. I kept feeling my feet to ensure I was present.
One unpleasant thing – I guess I was making odd faces, and a young woman, there with a friend, seemed to be laughing at me. My first impulse was to bolt. But no, that is not courageously facing experience. So I kind of stopped what I was doing and slowly looked over at them. Then slowly went back to what I was doing. My next weights were right in front of them. Yikes. I thought about skipping those, but went ahead and did them. The young women stopped laughing after I kind of looked over at them. Thinking – grow up infants….
So it was fine. Perhaps they had not been laughing at me, though I think they were. I don’t care. Of course I don’t want to look like an escaped mental patient at the gym, but I think I am allowed to have whatever expression I want. In the end, I didn’t care the least bit what they may have thought.
At home, I was not dissociated. Yay! Though somewhat tired and weepy, but nothing like the inability to function of dissociation. I’m going to keep going this way.