For the past couple of weeks, I have been feeling much better than I have in at least a year. My new meds are finally working pretty good, even great in comparison to the last 2 horribly failed experiments. I can breathe. My body is not completely taken over in every way possible. I can work. I can leave the house.

Still, things do not feel completely normal yet. This weekend, me and K went to a party to celebrate one of my Sensei’s promotion from Godan (5th degree black belt) to Rokudan (6th degree black belt, Master) and a bunch of other promotions too. Rokudan is a pretty huge deal in Cuong Nhu. There are only 5 in total and only one woman (my Sensei). I wasn’t sure I would make it, but I really wanted to go. It was a great reason to celebrate and I miss my dojo very much.

It occurred to me that the thing that would make my life feel “normal” again would be going back to class. Besides from loving martial arts, going to class was the only regular contact I had with other people. A dojo is a special place and I have been very lucky to find such a great school with the most amazing teachers I could ever imagine and a bunch of nice people in general. I have been a student there for 10 years.

There are not many things that I have done for 10 years. The only other things that I can think of at the moment are web development and playing the guitar. Not so coincidentally, these are the 3 things that I love to do most. I do web dev every day. It is my job. I do not play guitar so much any more because my hands are messed up (arthritis) and because I don’t have anyone to play with. I haven’t done martial arts since sometime last year when the meds situation got very bad.

I have not been ready to go back to class because I am still having a lot of trouble keeping different stimuli separate (sounds, lights, colors, etc.), because I have a short term memory of about 1 second, and because it is hard to interact with people under normal circumstances let alone in an intimate environment like a dojo. Since I have been feeling better, I can actually imagine sparring again, but at the moment, can barely even stand to think about things like grappling and throwing. Unfortunate because I love grappling. I don’t like throwing (or being thrown) so much.

At the party, I talked to one of my Senseis about coming back. She was very understanding as always and said that if I came back that I can take things slowly and only do what I can do. This is normally the case, but some of the things that she mentioned were beyond my imagination of what was possible in a class environment. She told me that I could practice by myself and wouldn’t have to interact so much with other people. This made a huge difference to my thoughts about returning to class.

I don’t think that I can function in a normal class environment right now. It is hard to be around people. It is hard to separate sounds from each other. It is impossible to remember strings of instructions. Basically, hard to do everything that we usually do. I really hope these things will get easier again at some point. Except for remembering things, they are all much better than they have been in a long time.

I am not sure what to do. Most of me wants to go back and try; see what happens. Part of me is freaked out about doing that because when things get bad, I can not talk or think, and it is probably not the best time for me to be driving either.

Things used to be different. My friend TC used to be there. She is one of the few people that understands what goes on for me when things are bad. She was my safe person. She would know what was up without me having to say anything and she would offer to help by either driving me home, explaining why I left to the Sensei, or getting me out of the room to a quiet place. Usually she would help just by looking at me and letting me know that she knew and by partnering with me during drills when I couldn’t communicate so I could stay in class longer. It has never been the same for me there since she left.

K has kindly offered to drop me off and go hang out nearby so that I could call her if I needed to leave early and I wouldn’t have to drive. I think that would help for the first time or maybe few times. Thanks K. I think it would probably be a good idea to go and just watch once and see how it feels to be there and if I can process what is going on. I think I will go back, at least to watch, sometime in the near future. I have to know. I want my life back.