I don’t know whether serendipity is the right noun for what happened yesterday. I feel like maybe it should be a word more spiritualistic, perhaps something to do with fate or paths crossing at just the right moment. But serendipitous is such a beautiful word that I’m going to use it anyway! The beauty in the word reflects the beauty of the moment.
Backtrack a second, to Tuesday. I find exercise quite tough, so many parts of me hurt or are stiff, plus I hate the full length mirrors in which I can only see myself as a whale. I’ve been avoiding exercise at all for months now, but I’ve recently come down with incessant insomnia and I needed to tire myself out a little, so that 3am and I can stop being bosom buddies.
I looked on the gym group exercise list, and saw yoga, and thought, what the hell, it’s on my bucket list, let’s try it.
Turns out, yoga is hard. It’s hard when you hate your body. It’s hard when you have no positive connection to your body. I survived most of the session by over-stretching, making it hurt, focussing on the discomfort rather than the pleasure there should be. I was coping though, punishing my body in this way, until we reached the relaxation session. Lie on your back, she said, and she worked up through all our muscles, focusing on our place in the world and how grounded we were and how relaxed we should feel.
Well I didn’t feel relaxed. Instead what I felt was an overwhelming sense of panic, which quickly became tears as I sat upright and let them fall silently into the dark room. I bolted out after the session, followed by the instructor who did a great job of not acting surprised. I’ve been where you are she said, I can sense your pain. It takes time to know yourself again. I vanished out from her back rubbing sympathy (without speaking – sorry, nice lady), into the car and thought that I probably wasn’t using yoga for the right reasons. Body punishment, it is not.
I woke up on Wednesday morning, desperately suicidal. I’m not very in tune with any parts at the moment, they’re all very quiet, except The Boy, who had decided for me that enough was enough, today was the day, pull the proverbial trigger. Though even my conscious adult self is incredibly low right now, I didn’t want to be bullied into suicide by him, so I went about ringing the numbers I have to call – no answer. T’s phone was off, G (my GP) was off work, I considered ringing T2 but decided I couldn’t bear the telling off. Tried T again, still nothing.
It’s hard to explain to people who aren’t mentally unwell how logical thoughts, that people may be busy or sick or working, just don’t connect in your mind. What did connect was thoughts that I am worthless, I was being ignored, that nobody would care even if I did die. Somehow, even the positive act of trying to self care morphs into evil words that back up The Boy’s already negative monologue.
Around 11am, I decided that unless I left the house, I wasn’t going to see 11pm. I had a stern conversation with myself (…him?), told myself that like it or not we were going to give ourselves a chance. Lets leave the house, and in 5 hours time we can have this discussion again.
We went to yoga.
A strange choice, considering I hadn’t enjoyed it the day before. Strange that we had just enough time to get there, just enough time to get home after. Strange that I chose exercise instead of food. Strange, but my Lycra-clad butt and I went to yoga.
The session was really good – I hid at the back and focused on feeling the solidity of my body, really feel my place in the world, focus on my individual muscle strength and how strong I am when we work for good, not bad. Felt how much life there is in me, how much death would take away. I even survived the relaxation bit by bringing a blanket along to make me feel less exposed, and I lay on my side instead of flat on my back. I was feeling a little better, but also a little sad; the thoughts were still there, still scary, still planning. I remember saying to myself, at least we tried.
And then G said hi. Turns out, she’d been in the session the whole time, I just hadn’t noticed her, nor her me. In the next strange moment (after I reconnected thought processes to mouth!), I asked her for a hug. Outright. I am never strong enough to ask for what I need like that. But she hugged me, and somehow, I guess because of the tension in my shaking body, she knew this was shit, and it was important.
We didn’t spend long together. It was awkward, friendly when it should be professional, in an environment you’re used to being solitary in. But seeing her, a 10min chat, the time to be honest that this is a really scary day, plus her freely-given and super-comforting hugs, changed who was in control inside. It changed, and life became survivable again.
I promised her I’d hold until our appointment on Friday, which is now only 24hours away. I feel a bit shaken by the whole experience – if I’d chosen food instead of exercise, would I have been in hospital today? What if I’d chosen to use the gym instead of a class? What if she’d been embarrassed and decided not to alert me to her presence? What if, what if, what if?
If you looked serendipity up in my dictionary, this moment would be filed under it. A chance meeting, with such a positive, life-affirming outcome.