Monday, January 21

punching bags and therapy

I haven’t seen my psychiatrist for a month.

Please understand that this is a really really long time. I miss the lump-in-the-throat rants about things great and small with my unshockable, poker faced shrink. He is a wise old owl. “What’s been on your mind?” he unfailingly asks every week, and I begin to blabber on about anything from carpet stains to the uncomfortably intimate, all in his full confidence. He doesn’t laugh at anything I say, he never blinks an eyelid.

But not only have I been counselling free since just before I left Melbourne, I have also been mood-altering medication free. Right now, I am living life as raw, unrestrained Danielle Skye. I’m sure you can appreciate the difficulties. 

This equation of no medication + no counselling + new city + guests (curious? read this one too) = I needed to hit something by the end of the week. Really hard.  Repeatedly. 

As I’ve said before, when I get anxious, I nearly explode. Implode. Whichever. It’s a peculiar feeling. I tell my husband that I need to punch something. To which he always replies, “You can punch me.” To which I always say, “ No, I don’t want to hurt you.” (And then he privately thinks, “you couldn’t even if you tried.”) On particularly desperate occasions when I have declined his kind offers, the dining room table has suffered, from a rather irrational woman.

picture source

 It would be ideal if I could just run to my psychiatrist every time I was losing it, for he has the most rationalising effect on me. Calmly, firmly, he reminds me that yes, I can say no to people, that yes, I can set boundaries to let myself cope, to recover my health, to foster the stability of my home.

He is now five hours away. Alas. 

I have discovered the most effective solution to this no shrink + no drugs + people issue.


I would advertise this class as just as effective as anti depressants and excellent for sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). We need to get it into the DSM manual.
I was nervous before class. These classically trained arms of mine are on the slender side of things and people have bluntly told me that when I am punching something, I don’t look like I’m punching at all. I regret not tuning into the boxing on telly a little more. Shall I admit that my greatest fear was punching myself in the head? It has happened before, in a class. Once I start hurling my twiggy arms around pretty much anything could happen.

Well, I had a ball. I had a wild, ugly, monster kind of a good time. The brutality of the class had me in unstoppable giggles. It was utterly vulgar and rough, and the contrast to my years of ballet training was deliciously stark. Sometimes we were punching men; I assume they were potential assaulters of the opposite sex? “C’MON, make the blood trickle”, yelled out our ‘inspiring’ instructor. I sometimes made Mr. Foe my Trichotillomania or GAD. I put my disorders in a lot of pain. My favourite move, apart from the high ninja kicks, was one where we walked along like beasts, wielding a club from above our heads to the monster we were sleighing on the ground. We were staggering along in a line, swinging wildly, like massive hairy Vikings on a bloody hunt.

 It was violent and uncivilized and I was delighted. Next we ran into a circle and apparently captured some other fiend. There was nothing pretty or polite about this class of middle class girls in designer gym gear. We screamed “YEAH” as we kicked our air opponents you-know-where. I let it all out, all those perfectionist, people-pleasing horrors, which make it so tough for me to care for my body. I served them an almighty blow, and goodness I felt good at the end of class.

A great deal of mental stability came about without me hurting my table, punching my husband, seeing my psych, popping a pill or having a sob. 

Will I be back? 

Yes, for sure.

Oops I mean, HELL YEAH.


  1. Oh wow! I couldn't help but giggle at your descriptions of the different moves Dee! You have such a way with words.. I could absolutely picture it in my mind. What a feat though! Letting it all out..not holding back because of the fears of what people 'might' think. I wish I could have been there..I know we would have been in stitches! (Just like that step class we did together.. I was so out of rhythm with the music that day and really probably only did about 50 per cent of the steps right.. I still laugh just at the thought of it!) Such a fantastic thing that you are all natural right now! What an amazing blessing and transformation! xxx h

  2. Oh hg, I was thinking of you in this class. I knew that had you been there, and had we had eye contact I wouldn't have been able to continue for laughing. I'm so glad you could picture this experience! I will never forget doing step that first time, it was ridiculously funny. xx