Online Ballet Classes Help My Schizoaffective Anxiety

Online Ballet Classes Help My Schizoaffective Anxiety

I’ve been taking ballet classes online as a way to get exercise without going out into the cold–or into a world contaminated with the COVID-19 virus. Here’s how ballet is affecting my schizoaffective disorder.

How Taking Online Ballet Classes Is Good for My Schizoaffective Anxiety

I like taking online classes because I don’t have to wear a mask to exercise. The ballet classes aren’t live–they are pre-recorded. So I just go onto YouTube and pick the class I want to take. They are free.

I was taking 45-minute walks outside, but that ended abruptly last weekend when the Chicago area got pummeled with 10 inches of snow. I don’t own snow boots or snow pants. I guess I’m not a very good Chicagoan.

I also realized that, more and more, I was scared of going for walks because people didn’t always social distance properly. That would send me in a downward spiral of worry sometimes spilling through the rest of the day. Recently, I didn’t notice a man walking towards me until he was a mere two feet away from me and finally putting on his mask. If I had been paying attention, I would have stepped aside. There was no time for that but plenty of time to worry afterward. So staying at home and dancing is a better option for me right now.

Sometimes My Schizoaffective Anxiety Makes Me Afraid to Do My Ballet Classes

Sometimes I’m too anxious to complete a ballet session, though. I think, “What if I kick something over?” (The space where I dance in my apartment is very small and I sometimes knock into things.) Sometimes I think, “What if the glass of water I’m taking sips from spills?”

Now, I realize neither of these things is a very big deal. But my schizoaffective, anxious brain zooms in on them and takes it to the worst-case scenario. What if I kick over something breakable and walk on a piece left on the rug after the cleanup? What if I spill water onto the power strip and that causes an electrical surge on my laptop? What if, what if, what if?

I take the class anyway. I’ve moved glass objects away from my dancing space, and I’m very careful with my glass of water. That’s another nice thing about doing ballet rather than walking: I can drink water while I exercise. When I’m outside wearing a mask, I can’t do that. Plus, when I bring water during a walk, I worry I will have to go to the bathroom 10 minutes into the walk.

Today I really didn’t want to do my ballet class. But I turned it on anyway. When the first exercise started, I found it very soothing. Once the weather gets better, I’ll probably juggle a combination of walks and ballet, which is what I did before the snowstorm. But for now, it’s ballet for me.

I almost forgot to mention something very important: I’ve been taking ballet classes and dance lessons since I was three. So, ballet feels like home to me.

Source

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