The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and antidepressants aren’t enough. ~Amy Weintraub
There's been a lot of talk lately about depression, especially recent events, with Robin Williams death. I was a huge fan, and felt deep sadness when I found out he took his own life.
I couldn't help but think of my own journey with depression and being diagnosed bi-polar, I had to look at how far I have come and where I am NOW. Because when I began to look back, I started revisiting all that hopelessness again, and if you stare too long, it can suck you back in.
It wasn't that I was sad, it wasn't that I had no one to talk to, it wasn't that I didn't feel loved, or that I didn't love immensely. If anything I was happy, or so it seemed to others, I was manic, bouncing off the walls to make others laugh, to have the best. time. ever.
The best way I can explain it, think of your favorite restaurant or favorite food. The tastes, the smells, the ambiance, the conversation, the colors, all that you take in during your dining experience. Now imagine one night you go to dinner and you are expecting an amazing experience, but the food is bland and grey, the smells are distant, not sizzling or wafting thru the air. The conversation, is like a bad rerun of some bad show on TV. You're annoyed. With all of it. The shining silver is too bright and too loud scraping across plates and teeth. The talking is too mumbled and too much. The food, less than filling. Something you once loved and enjoyed, for some reason, all at once, lost all it's appeal. It's disappointing, upsetting, and sometimes downright scary, especially when all those around you can still taste, and smell, laugh and enjoy one another, nothing has changed for them, why can't you feel what they are feeling anymore? And you wonder if you'll ever get that back. You don't want to say anything because those that still feel are still feeling, and how could they possibly understand. In a room full of people, you're alone, afraid to say anything, because you would suddenly be different, a problem stuck amongst a lovely experience.
You wait for life to return to normal, you talk to a few people, they say things like "things will get better", "snap, out of it", or "things can't be that bad". All meaning well, but really not helping because, they can still taste, and see, and feel. To a normal me, no, things were not that bad, not bad at all, but to this changed me, everything was terrifying. It's like being in a place you're familiar with during the day, but at night you creep along, some things look familiar but can take on different shapes in the dark, they can look terrifying. Or maybe you feel lost. A place you've been a thousand times, and now you are lost? Absolutely frightening. You wait for the sun to come up. 6 am comes. Still no sun. What if it never comes back up. Panic sets in.
You go to the doctors, they roll the dice and prescribe an actual cocktail unlike the ones you've found previously to numb the pain (maybe it's alcohol, or drugs, or gambling, or sex, some sort of risky behavior) and they numb you down. You couldn't feel before, now you are looking at yourself from the outside in. Like a zombie of yourself, not even a zombie, a zombie has too much vigor or passion for what it is seeking compared to the shell that you now have become. Sometimes the docs get it right and create shiny, happy people. and sometimes they play medication roulette.
I was numb. I over felt. I wasn't eating. I was over eating. I was pissing the bed at night. I lost 20 pounds. I gained 60. I wanted to sleep. And all the while the docs are asking "don't you feel better"? If you say yes, you're stuck in this limbo of hell, if you say no, it's a new cocktail and a whole new roller-coaster ride of unknowing. I lost friends, some became distant, some I hurt terribly. The docs finally got a cocktail down. I could make it thru a day, I could sleep thru the night. But I was not shiny and sparkly like I once was, and people noticed, I hoped they wouldn't but they did. I wanted to say hey I'm still happy, I can still make you laugh, I'm just a little diluted, A LOT diluted. Instead of Fireball I was cinnamon water, not even cinnamon schnapps.
I went to therapy, 3 different therapists actually, and most times each would get a different story. I had become "friends" with the one so I would lie so she wouldn't think less of me, the second was all medical talk, and the third was one that listened, and actually made me feel I wasn't crazy for being angry, or numb, or making mistakes. How 3 strangers could make you feel so different, all talking about the same "problem", me.
For me, what worked for me, I started eating better, I started exercising, I left my job, I made changes to my surroundings and the people in them, I found God, I found Holistic health, I found chiropractic and acupuncture, I found yoga. I found me. I found self-worth. There I was on my mat, the whole time I had been in there.
But yeah sometimes that little voice creeps and says I'm not good enough and never will be. And sure there are days I'd like to stay in bed and hide all day, but I get on my mat. and there I am. thankfully. full of gratitude.
Robin fought a long battle I am sure, and was preparing for another with Parkinson's. We will never know what he was going through in those last moments...
He was quoted as saying: “The demons are still there,” he told one American interviewer, describing his battle to beat depression even after giving up alcohol. “The little voice saying, 'You're garbage, you're nothing, you hear me, yeah'…he’s still there, believe me.”
Rest In Peace Robin...
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number1-800-273-8255
No matter how silly. No matter how desperate. No matter how low and ridiculous it seems. No matter how dramatic. It could save your life. Call. Just call.
We are all works in progress, my hope is that we may all bloom to our full potential, to be our radiant selves, so that our light may brighten others.
A Blooming Yogini is someone on a journey to their authentic self, a union of mind, body and spirit to a more healthy, thriving , and vibrant you.
Live. Love. Bloom.
Casandra Barnes - The Blooming Yogini