For as long as I could remember, I believed I was less-than. I was less than him, I was less than her, I was less than them, and I was less than you. I wasn’t good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, or smart enough. I was not enough and I hated myself for being that way.
Determined to grow through pain, I abused my body with behaviors that resulted from depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. Seeing no way out, I was miserable and hopeless.
I didn’t see how life could be any different, how I could change, or how I would “recover”. How was recovery even possible? I was who I was and who I was happened to be a depressed, anxious, eating disordered mess. I couldn’t stand being in my own skin. At the end of my rope, I started treatment.
I started working with a treatment team on top of doing yoga and meditation. I heard loud and clear the thoughts that abused me and I began to watch them as they arose screaming and threatening. I didn’t engage them; I acknowledged their presence and I started sitting with them in their anger and in their sadness. I still didn't change.
I continued working with my treatment team and deepened my yoga and meditation practices but the 360° transformation I awaited never arrived. Sure, I was better able to get out of bed in the morning and I didn’t chastise myself with the litany of thoughts and actions that I had previously, but I hadn’t really changed. I knew the real me was lurking, just laying low in the grasses waiting to pounce when it saw my newly reborn self-esteem emerge from hiding.
The negative, self-deprecating thoughts and behaviors began to arise less often but I knew there was a deep darkness still within me. It was sitting dormant like a volcano, one seismic shift and it would erupt. All the yoga classes, yoga teacher training, and guided meditations couldn’t neutralize my internal environment. I knew I was on a pendulum and eventually it would swing back to hatred, disconnect, and deceit. I hadn't really changed; my loving, open, and honest side wouldn't last.
I found a community, I expanded my openness, I continued to observe the inner workings of my mind, and suddenly I knew. I had been with my body; I had stopped abandoning and neglecting my physical being and I knew. I experienced it through my senses in my body and I knew it in the thoughts that went through my mind- all of the small changes I had made over the years, all of the shifts in my thinking and perspective, the external support, and the self-care and compassion I had shown to my thoughts, my actions, and my body had revealed my true self. I wasn’t my mind or the thoughts that would arise and fade away. I wasn’t my actions and I wasn’t my body. I was something lasting, something enigmatic, something truly awe-inspiring and not only that, so was everyone around me. I had changed. I had changed deeply and in doing so I uncovered my true identity and recovered my life.
Although I was someone who struggled with depressed, anxious, and eating disordered thoughts and behaviors- they aren’t who I am. Through yoga, meditation, and therapy I have found and understand who I am. With yoga I got into my body, meditation I got out of my mind, therapy I got out of my shame, and the combination, unbeknownst to me at the time, gently moved me into recovery. I have been in recovery for years and continue to deepen my strength and resiliency with the yoga and meditation practices that helped me first move toward wellness.