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Sober's Blog

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Social Anxiety Disorder And Working Through It Through Capoeira



Social Anxiety Disorder - How many of us struggle with this each day? And yet I sit here and nobody can possibly even begin to imagine that I am struggling even just now... I smile and work and talk (well ramble) because I don't want to be the "weird girl". My heart is pounding, my palms are sweaty, my mind is racing. I can feel the panic attack at the edge of my subconscious...I hate this feeling.

The first class when I joined Capoeira, I didn't even know if I'd be able to bring myself to participate. I thought my heart was going to explode. I practiced the first thing they taught us for days before the class with my children, they'd been going for a couple of months and love it. (You should see how excited they are to show off their hand/head stands and cartwheels and kicks) Ginga, the very basic move of which all moves are based from. That is where you start, step back, arm up to block. It was almost like protecting myself from the eyes of everyone else around me. I started to think I can do this!

The class was all women that day, except one boy of about 14 years old. I can handle this, I know I can. I kept telling myself that. And then S approached me, she could see how afraid I was. Or at least how nervous I was, but she taught me the basics and there was A, 8 months pregnant and still doing it. I survived 45 minutes that day. And have stayed an hour to an hour and a half each day since. They are all very friendly, and they keep this safe distance that makes me more comfortable. Even the guys, they aren't pushy or overt and they really don't flirt which is nice. I mean they're nice and they smile but that's just being nice, right? Sometimes I think too much into things but I am trying not to do that here. There are all different levels, people at every stage of learning and they all help and teach in different ways which is great because some ways are easier to learn than others.

And where is this all going? Well now 1 month later, I can step inside the class and my heart is only just barely pounding. I don't feel like I'm going to cry, I don't feel the panic attack coming. I feel stronger, braver, prouder, almost worthy. I am stepping towards a future as a Capoeirista. It is something different for each person, and for me that is a sense of belonging somewhere, being a part of something bigger, being a part of something period.

Next step, feeling confident enough to participate in the Roda....slowly, slowly, I'll get there.


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Glad to hear you are overcoming your anxiety and panic attacks. And, that you are taking some defense classes. I've never heard of Capoeira. What sort of things do you learn?

Whenever I feel a panic attack coming along, I inhale for as long and as deep as I can through my nose and then slowly exhale through my mouth several times. According to my psych, this engages the parasympathetic (sp?) nerve as allows you to relax!

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Hi Pdls06,

Capoeira is a Brazilian/Afro martial art, that was originally disguised in a dance by African slaves. If you get a chance, google it. The Wiki site has a really good, fairly accurate explanation. It's beautiful to watch and they have a kids' program down here, for little ones 2-4 year olds even. You have to see them doing hand and headstands and kicks. It's adorable. LOL

It's very balance based, and although the hands are used for blocking, the offensive moves are more kicks. It's a dodge, kick, very cardio intensive, nonstop moving type of martial arts. It becomes an addiction. There are so many great websites.


That one is especially informative. If it's something you'd be interested in trying, I highly recommend it. The people here in our group are incredibly non-judgemental. I love that, they are so accepting and helpful. It's a very nuturing environment. :)

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