My {rocky, wobbly, crooked} Path Towards Truth

I don’t think of myself as a private person. In fact, if you ask me anything, I’m quite open and honest about myself and my life. But I don’t usually put stuff out there, unsolicited. I’ve always been shy like that.

 

This past week, however, has brought forward several people, soliciting my advice, wisdom, knowledge, guidance around some of the heavier things of life: intense anxiety, spiraling thinking, complete depletion, the physical costs of intense emotional and mental turmoil. With each connection, I’ve shared a bit more about myself and my history.

 

I’ve been a Truth seeker since before adulthood. As a result of my personal experiences, I’ve made it my life’s mission to support people in living lives in which their inner and outer selves feel equally heard, balanced, and valued; lives in which there is less suffering, less doubt, less fear; lives in which there is more clarity and connection to the things they value most.

 

I didn’t land here unscathed and it certainly wasn’t an easy ride. I’ve worked my way here for easily over half of my life. Sometimes I’m surprised I even landed here at all. So, as individuals have trusted me with their experiences of suffering, I am compelled to trust you with my own.

 

In my late pre-teen/teen years (perhaps even earlier?), I began navigating elements of depression, though I didn’t know it at the time. Sadness, disconnectedness, self-doubt, and self-judgement were all part of my normal day-to-day existence.

 

In my late-teens/early 20’s, I struggled intensely with what one counselor at the college counseling center called “delusional paranoia.” Whether or not there was an actual clinical diagnosis didn’t matter. Since, due to the nature of my experience, my mind neither allowed me to trust nor communicate about my experience to anyone, not even my closest friends and family members, I figured it was up to me to work my way out of it. I used my own made up form of what I later understood to be cognitive therapy - basically learning to disbelieve one set of thoughts (the delusional ones) and believe a different set (the one’s based in reality).

 

To this day, I don’t know how I did it except for will power and the sheer determination to know what was true and then to gradually trust that and myself more and more. It took at least 4 years before my primary and most frequent thoughts aligned with reality (and another dozen before that type of thinking was completely absent from my mind). This is when my yoga practice began. It felt the most like truth to me and so I made it a big part of my life.

 

In my mid-30’s, after giving birth to my twins, I had intense and immediate postpartum anxiety. This was right before the medical community started talking about “postpartum mood disorder” or “postpartum anxiety.” It was all still lumped under “postpartum depression.” And, since what I was feeling was distinctly not depression, I never sought out help. Chalked it up to being a first-time parent and a parent of twins.

 

Again, I sort of muscled my way through - sheer mental determination worked in the past, right? Wrong. Instead, I became more and more depleted, {barely} operating with an intense sleep deficit. And then, at 10-months postpartum I was diagnosed with a mood disorder on the bipolar spectrum and was put on medication. My yoga practice (as I understood it at the time), that thing I depended on to help me connect with the truth, no longer “worked.”

 

It was also at this time, not surprisingly, that I met and began intensive study with my meditation teacher. As the adage goes, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

 

And now. Here I sit, seven years later, steeped in self-discovery, innerwork, meditation, meditation, and more meditation. I self-coach on the daily. I exercise. I eat foods that support my body and my brain. I have a specific daily vitamin/supplement routine. I drink lots of water. I say no to things that don’t support my well-being and yes to things that do. I question my thoughts and beliefs, especially those that cause me suffering. And I prioritize sleep over all else. And I’m able to laugh at how boring and plain and utterly wonderful that all sounds.

 

Also: I have hard days. I forget all that I’ve learned. I fall back into habit - even those so long ago uprooted. I get tired of working on myself. I get sad. I get tripped up. And then I begin again. With each moment, I have an opportunity to begin again. And you have an opportunity to begin again...to choose differently… to move in a different direction… to consider a different thought, perspective, possibility or outcome… to support your physical and mental health. It is in that brief moment, the moment of choice that lies before each decision, where empowerment lies. Where you can choose Truth. Start there.