I was recently questioned on how to handle certain social anxieties while also having a love for BJJ. This is often an over looked topic in our world. How does someone cope with such disorders such as OCD, Social Phobia, and PTSD and still practice this art?
I, myself, do not suffer from any of these problems. I have, however, been around a lot of people that do. It is certainly something that needs a little extra special treatment from those directly around the individual. Certain steps need to be taken first to properly begin in a social environment for the ones suffering from these disorders.
First thing is to educate, be upfront about the problem. Tell your instructor what bothers you and the extent of your stress levels. It is his job to help you fit in to the class and/or to provide you with a little help on the side to give you the proper instruction. Also educate your team, certainly in every crowd there is at least one person that has dealt with someone that may have suffered from the same problems. He or she can probably help you in some way or another.
Second thing, start slow. Jiu Jitsu isn’t built for everyone right off the street. Maybe start with just the drills, then gradually work in to rolling once your confidence begins to grow. Maybe even just do private lessons if the instructor offers them. These can help stop the fear of embarrassment that comes from a group setting. Maybe even ask if a friend can go with you to give you a familiar person to learn with.
Lastly, know your limits. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, tell your instructor, and call it a night! Maybe skip the next class and drill at home instead. There are hundreds of drills you can do at home and still improve on your Jiu Jitsu. Don’t push yourself to the point that you are scared to attend classes. Fear is the number 1 cause of failure.
As I said before, I am not a professional in this field. This is just my advice, not everyone is the same and I know some cases are a lot more severe than others. It can be managed though! A Jiu Jitsu academy should be your family, for better and worse, we deal with each other’s problems equally. Who better to help you than your family. I recently heard someone say “Jiu Jitsu is 90% mental and 50% physical”, yes I understand that math doesn’t add up. It is, however, true!
As for everyone else. Be aware that this is a possibility! Think twice before you make a comment about someone that is different than you! You have no idea what demons they are facing just to make themselves step on that mat to begin with! They might need your help! Oss!!