“Let It Go” - Living with Severe Anxiety
This is something many of my yoga students do not know. I feel this is important to share and that I am finally ready to be an advocate. The truth is...
I have lived with mental illness my entire life.
Mainly due to chemical imbalances, and later in my life, trauma through an abusive relationship. This shaped me in so many ways, both good and bad.
Yoga has helped me so much to overcome this, but it is still a very real part of my life. However, I whole heartedly believe that you can thrive, even with anxiety.
Most of all, anyone struggling with any sort of challenges with mental health just wants to be understood. For me, often my anxiety manifests as something else. Some examples are panic attacks, bouts of depression, and even anger. This can make it hard for people to understand. Some people may think I'm unpredictable or unreliable, despite me proving all that I am capable of.
I feel in a way having anxiety has become “trendy” but the stigma against the real symptoms of chronic or severe anxiety still exists.
It seems everyone is okay with me telling them I have anxiety, but they want to run for the hills when I show any part of it. This makes me fearful to get close. I'm afraid of “coming out” as someone with a mental illness, especially because I am a yoga teacher. I feel an extraordinary amount of pressure to seem “enlightened”, but then I remember I am missing the point.
Despite what I deal with, and in part because of it, I feel I have so much to offer others. I am trained in trauma sensitive yoga. I take great care in creating a safe space for my students to grow without judgement. I am real and relatable. Most of all, I have a deep understanding of fear and pain, as well as happiness and peace. I have lived both.
Better yet, I know how to cope. I have tools through yoga, reiki, and meditation. I am more than capable of helping people heal. I have healed.
This was important for me to write, because I must remind myself that I am not alone in this. I know there are people out there that struggle with the same things and I need to reach out and connect with them. I want to tell them that the grass can actually be greener on the other side. That the yin and yang of life-the good and bad-exist at all times. Where we direct our focus is ultimately what decides how we feel. We can always be grateful and focus on the good- and that's a great start.
If you know someone with mental illness, please reach out to support them. Check up on your happy friends too because you never know what someone is going through.
Please reach out if you need me.