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There I was, walking out of the doctor’s office, armed with an arsenal of pharmaceuticals, ready to finally go to war with anxiety and depression. I conceded to my physician that something was “wrong” with me after years of stress-related illnesses; ulcers, enhanced fear reactions, “loss of breath” to the point of dizziness, chronic insomnia and weight fluctuation. It was deflating and empowering at the same time. I’m crazy, but I can fix it with these magic pills, right? Who doesn’t want the quick fix? Patch my brain up Doc, and get me back to the courtroom where everyone expects me to be! Make me love the career that was slowly killing me Doc! All the while fearing that everyone would find out I was a fraud. “She’s not strong and independent, she’s crazy and medicated.” I just knew my family, friends and colleagues wouldn’t understand and surely not empathize with my “weak and unstable mind.” So I took the medication, and endured, some would say persevered, through circumstances no one should have to withstand in the workplace (including being assaulted by a defendant and stalked by a victim). The truth? I was a zombie. I had to take 3 pills just to walk into work each day. Just smile and keep going. Laugh and keep going. Cry, cry, cry and keep going.
Enter yoga. Hokie, right? Intentional movement with attention to breath while holding a “compassionate” mind. Right...Namaste, bitches! Whatever. I could hear the heckling all around me. You want to hear the funny thing? The shit actually works! For the first time, I could breathe fully. I could move my body in ways I never dreamed possible. Could yoga be the answer? Could I find my way out of this chemically flat-lined existence with yoga?
Cultivating a regular practice saved my life. Yoga, breathing and meditation alleviated my dependence on pharmacology and enhanced my ability to manage my mind. Was the change instantaneous? Of course not. Do I still have anxiety and depression lurking just beneath the surface? Absolutely. Isn’t it easier to refill my prescriptions? Well, probably. But, ultimately my need for an alternative outweighed the ease of picking up the phone for medicinal relief.
My battle is ongoing. But I’m no longer “at war” with myself.
I found my path to peace. Are you still looking for yours?