I'm an addict. Always searching for my next hit. I think about it when I wake up, when I go to bed and all the hours in between. I don't know that anyone knows the true extent of my obsession. It's the only thing that makes me feel almost normal. And when I can't indulge my cravings, I get unfocused, sullen and capricious. Feeding the very depression and anxiety I'm self medicating to suppress in the first place.
What am I addicted to? Pole dancing. Well, exercise really. But, pole is my favorite form of it. And I often refer to it as pole therapy. Because that's exactly what it is for me. Working out my body helps me to work through things in my mind. It challenges me to do things that scare me, like confronting my fear of heights. But, even more deep seated than that, I doubt my capabilities and talents. I always have. Pole gives me a chance to prove myself wrong. And do it alone, because by far the biggest fear I have is people. Thanks social anxiety.
But, like everything else, there's a dark side to addiction. When I overdose on pole, I get overly self deprecating. And I'm already extremely self deprecating. I know I've exceeded my pole limit when I start to focus on everything I can't do instead of everything I can. Which usually happens when I'm working on something that really stretches me that I just can't get. (It doesn't help that I'm a perfectionist with unrealistic expectations of myself.) Starting a downward spiral.
I'll start to watch even more videos of other pole dancers and compare myself to them. And I always come up short. Why can't I do that? I should be able to do this after 4 years of pole dance! Why do I get motion sick on spinning pole? Why didn't I try spinning pole until 3 and a half years in? Why aren't I more flexible? Why didn't I start working on my flexibility until this year? I berate myself; swearing and calling myself horrible names. (This is the dark side of my addiction with pole that only my husband gets to see. What a lucky man indeed.)
But, when I have my pole dosage correct, it keeps me off medication. I've never actually been on medication to treat my depression/anxiety. But, there are definitely times I should have been. And I shouldn't have been ashamed of that. But, I was. The thing is, I talk about it now. By "talk", I mean write, because people and all. And that helps me cope too.
I'll always be an addict. And I'll always have to balance the dosage on the prescription I use to treat myself. And maybe some day I'll stop my dubious, toxic self-inflicted behavior altogether and treat myself better. But all I can do is take it day by day, just like every other addict.