I Couldn’t Do It On My Own

It’s only been 5 months since I stopped taking medication for anxiety and depression.  Only 5 months have gone by, and I can’t deal.  Today I will go to my doctor and ask (possibly beg) to be put back on.

A series of events has brought me back here.

  1. Six weeks ago, the murder that was too close to home happened.  I kept imagining myself there because I was supposed to go there that same day.  This jump-started my anxiety.
  2. I started taking self-defense classes.  These served to both inform and terrify me.  I began imagining all the possible ways I could be harmed.  I couldn’t stop the images from coming.
  3. I subsequently stopped running outdoors by myself, which sidelined me to the treadmill at the gym.  Running there was so uninspiring that I rarely did it at all.
  4. Because of all of the above, I became irritable and short-tempered at work and in my personal life.
  5. Life circumstances took a downward turn, as they do from time to time.  So I rounded the corner past anxiety and hit the brick wall of depresssion. Negative thoughts pervaded.  Pessimism prevailed.  The heaviness in my chest returned.  My arms feel so heavy at times that I don’t feel I can lift them.  I can’t focus on anything because I am so focused on myself.
  6. The ugliest parts of myself are left unchecked and allowed to show through.

This isn’t me.

Or is it?

I am conflicted about my decision to restart medication.  I feel like a failure.  I went back and read my post, No Refills, which I wrote when I took my last pill 5 months ago.

I made a promise to myself there.  “I will ask for help.”

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“You Can Kick A Man’s Ass”

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Today I attended a 3-hour Krav Maga self-defense for runners seminar.  It was fast-paced, hardcore, and realistic.  This is a world class training facility and I am so glad they offered this seminar.  The techniques we learned and the knowledge I gained are invaluable.  I have become kind of obsessed with learning how to protect myself from an attack ever since the murder of Lauren Bump(and a subsequent attack a few weeks later) on our local running trails.  I haven’t run out there alone since that day, and I don’t know if I ever will, but taking self-defense classes is becoming my new hobby.  I realized through all this that I was a naive fool before Lauren’s murder.  I was completely defenseless and blissfully unaware that bad guys are always lurking.  This seminar taught us that we need to be prepared to stand our ground and fight.

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There were over 200 women there today, all with the same goal in mind – to gain knowledge and feel empowered.  We learned and practiced many techniques to escape realistic scenarios, such as:

  • An attacker grabbing you from behind (a “bear hug”)
  • An attacker grabbing you from behind and covering your mouth
  • An attacker with a knife
  • An attacker who takes you down to the ground

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We did drills with a partner over and over and the instructor was extremely strict about proper technique.  Each pair of partners had realistic weapons.  It was disturbing to think through these scenarios, especially knowing Lauren Bump was stabbed to death from behind.  But it made for realistic practice.

The finale was almost unbearable.  He told us “You don’t have to do this, but if you don’t you’ve wasted your time here.”  They had set up a realistic scenario to resemble a dimly lit trail and we were to each run through, one by one, and an “attacker” was waiting behind trees and attacked us with a knife.  We had to use our skills to fight them off and escape.  Standing in line to do this drill felt like I was waiting to go into a haunted house.  I was so nervous.  My heart was racing as I ran through, was “attacked,” and fought him off successfully.  After going through that scenario, we went into another room where we had to fight off an attack from behind.  The trainers were wearing full pads and helmets, came from behind with full force, and we could unleash our fury on them without holding back.

The two self-defense classes I’ve taken so far have been slightly different, but the takeaway message of both has been this:

  • Avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation
  • Be aware of your surroundings and put away the distractions
  • An attack will be fast; it will be a surprise; and it will be violent
  • Nobody thinks it will happen to them (until it does)
  • Learn and practice techniques to defend yourself, and hurt your attacker
  • Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you have to be fearful and weak

Like our instructor said “Ladies, you can kick a man’s ass!”  And today we proved it.  My fear is subsiding but will never completely disappear – which I think is good.  At the same time I’m gaining confidence and skills I never thought I needed.  Hopefully I never will.

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