Nobody likes being in pain, especially chronic pain whether it’s physical or mental. It sucks. It can really put a damper on things and can become a real downer when it starts to have an effect on day-to-day life. Thankfully there are ways to help manage both physical and mental anguish. It’s not an easy journey by any means and it is not a journey that has to be taken alone.
Mental Illness is real and it’s not easy. You do not need to suffer in silence. Please reach out if you are experiencing mental and / or emotional pain. There are people that you can talk to. Be open and candid with your struggles. I can guarantee you that you are not alone. I understand that knowing you’re not alone doesn’t change the mentality or lessen the pain, but it gives you a level of support that you didn’t have before. I’ve learned over the years to speak openly about my struggles with anxiety and depression as I know it can help others that are suffering as well.
Band together. TALK. We are all one and all in this together. Stay strong <3
My depression started well before high school. I was unpopular with the female class mates of my age group and they made it known. I carried it with me for years afterwards, always trying to make sense of it all. I’d always had so many questions about why things happened the way that they did. I never did get those answers, but looking back on life, I do realise that the experience did give me tools. Tools I am grateful for now, almost 20 years later. I still struggle with mental health stuff almost daily, but it’s more manageable now.
I did not heal well after the birth of my first son. I was in mass amounts of physical pain due to what I feel was a botched emergency c-section. On top of all that, I was completely unprepared for motherhood and I was depressed. I was bedridden for weeks afterwards. Some days I couldn’t get out of bed because the physical pain I was experiencing was too unbearable, some days it was because my inner demons were wreaking havoc on my well being. It took me nearly 6 months to be able to stand on my own without feeling like my insides were going to fall out of my abdomen.
Post-partum pain and depression is real and it is a bitch, let me tell you. I felt lost, alone, isolated and sad that my life had taken such a drastic turn. I was in constant pain AND to top things off, I was in a relationship that I knew was going nowhere fast. My partner was young and uninterested and not ready for family life. I can’t really blame him though because neither was I. (for some godforsaken reason, we somehow managed to hold our shit together for 10 years and 3 kids…)
For the first couple years after my son was born, I worked my way through a number of different anti-depressants, each one making me feel like a zombie, each one raising the question that there had to be more to life than this cloudy dream-like, emotionless state of being. To everyone’s disapproval, I stopped taking all my meds (I do not recommend anyone do this without consulting your doctor). I felt something inside me tell me I had to try something else. This pharma-induced zombie mom state was not working for me. I knew feeling NUMB wasn’t normal and there had to be other solutions out there. Something inside me told me I needed to get my ass into a yoga class.
I called the studio a couple days before going in to make sure it would be the right fit for me (being overweight, depressed, inexperienced and completely clueless about what yoga actually was) and I was told I would be fine, all are welcome here regardless of experience level.
I was not fine. It was not the right class, nor the right fit for me.
I hated it. HATED it.
They were doing arm balances and hand stands and I was sitting in the back row wondering what the fuck I was doing with my life and how I ended up in this room where I clearly did not belong. I left that class feeling discouraged and disgusted in myself. I cried all the way home, feeling even more hopeless, useless and ashamed of myself than before. I vowed to never step foot in a yoga studio again.
The next day though, something happened…
That stupid voice inside my head that told me to go to class in the first place piped up again. It told me to go back to class. Pfft, fuck no. I’m not subjecting myself to that ever again. I felt out of place and ashamed of how far I let myself go. The voice kept telling me to go, try again. Now, if you’re anything like me and deal with this little thing called “anxiety” you will understand why going back seemed like an absolute death sentence for me.
Eventually, and I am not even sure how it happened or who captained my legs to get me there, but I somehow, with a strength unbeknownst to me, made my way back to that damn yoga studio to try again. I cursed the whole way there, I may have even cried a little bit in the car AND in the parking lot. My negative reel of self hate and put downs was on full blast, but somehow I still managed to hear that tiny little voice tell me that it was going to be ok, that I had to trust that I was doing the right thing by being there. Somehow, I managed to hear that voices little cheers of encouragement over the megaphone of negativity blasting in my ear. (That’s spirit, baby. She’s always there cheering you on and aiming you in the right direction, we are just too busy and our heads are just too cloudy to actually hear her anymore)
It was different this time.
The studio felt warm and welcoming, like a big hug from someone you haven’t seen in a while. It wasn’t ominous and scary anymore. It felt familiar. It felt weird.
I had a quick chat with the instructor prior to class and he made me feel like I was in the right place. He said he was grateful to have me there and felt honoured that I would be sharing my practice with him. This class was different. The atmosphere, the energy, the students. The pain and tightness in my chest went away. My body started to relax.
It felt like… home.
I’d never felt that before. It was overwhelming. Discerning. Confusing.
My thoughts in that moment… wtf is happening right now. What is this I am feeling. How does something that is so unfamiliar and scary feel so… right?
I cried after that class as well, but for entirely different reasons. I cried because I felt like I found a piece of my heart that I’d been missing. A piece that I didn’t even know I had been missing. I felt love. I felt LOVED. I felt a fleeting moments of peace in my body and there was even a moment where my thoughts settled, briefly, but they settled enough for me to realise that there was hope.
I signed up for the 30 day challenge and committed to a year membership. I thought, if I can find even a millisecond of peace in my head during every class, then this investment will be worth every penny.
A clear fucking head for the first time since forever. Fucking eh.
… And so began my spiritual practice and journey into yoga.