Last year, I remember around this time I was getting out of the out-patient program and not feeling ready. Two weeks wasn’t enough to get back to “normal” life. Looking back on it, it barely got my feet wet. I remember being on all sorts of different medication and having them be switched around constantly, sometimes because certain doctors disagreed with a certain prescription. Some even told me to cut off of certain medications without weening. I lost who I was in that time. Not only was I struggling to find a reason to live, I had too many chemicals pumped into my system to make me not feel alive to begin with.
And it’s hard to love yourself when you don’t feel that same love from other people. They either don’t want you to be a burden to them once you unveil what really happened or that just expect you to get better overnight. I think my mom said it best when it came to the medications and diagnosis: “It’s an art, not a science.” And everyone had their own opinion. I got so sick of the labels that people kept putting onto me. I just wanted to be me.
And I think about where I was last year and how much I hated myself and how hard it was to even convince myself to cook food when I was hungry and how numb I felt to everything. I hated it. I remember the last visit I had with the psychiatrist, one that I already predicted would be fruitless. He kept suggesting me to go back onto meds, for at that time I cut off from all of them and that alone took over a month to get used to. So when he asked me if I wanted to go back onto the meds, I clearly remember telling him that I’d rather be aware of my senses, aware of my thoughts, aware of being alive, and deal with the constant highs and lows I have for the rest of my life than go back onto medication that just flat lines me. And he nodded, wished me good luck, and we said goodbye.
I don’t take medication on a daily basis to normalize aspects about me or to dull the pain or whatever. I wake up in the morning and do yoga in beg to get everything moving. I do yoga around midday to maintain that flow. I meditate before going to bed to calm my mind. I go to classes to strengthen my practice and learn from other students and teachers. I go for acupuncture twice a week to not only ease my mental instability, but to also help my body when it’s in physical pain.
And I look at myself standing here now in comparison to last year and it makes me want to cry. Not in a bad way, by any means, but it’s just a surprise how much I’ve changed, just because I’ve made this a part of my lifestyle. I don’t hate myself. I find the manic moments where I sink down into despair or have a panic attack are few and far between. I don’t have to wait a week or month for it to be over; I usually wake up the next morning better. And that will always be incorporated into my life. It will never go away and I’m perfectly fine with it. Those highs I have are worth it alone, for in those moments everything flows and the only thing I want is for time to stop so I can do everything I want to do at once in that very second.
And to think that tonight I’m teaching a class and I’m able to share this gift that has made a difference in my life with other people. I don’t have to sit in a cubicle all day or do things that I have no passion for. I’m doing this because I love it and I want to do it, both for myself and for others. I really couldn’t ask for more.
If there is one thing I have learned this weekend from teacher training, it’s that I never want to become an arrogant teacher. I never want to force my beliefs onto people or come off so assertive that I scare people off instead of drawing them in. There’s a fine line that us teachers must balance on, for while it is our class and we lay down the guidelines, the class is not for us, but for our students. Sway too much either way and you will be off balance. I want to make people feel welcomed and not be scared about their limitations or traumas. I am as much of a student as they are, for we are all equal. I don’t want to sit on a perch and dictate their lives in the class; I’d rather walk along their side and speak as if we were peers.
I wonder if those who put themselves up on a pedestal even realize what they’re doing. I’m sure they’ll draw in a niche crowd and be happy with that. It bothers me to know that they get away with such a demeaning attitude. Sadly, smacking a bitch in the face isn’t very zen like. However, if said bitch starts preaching about the “benefits” of wearing nothing but white and turban wearing, I’m just going to turn to her and say, “The people who follow my beliefs shave their heads and wear bright ass orange.” So who’s right? I don’t know, nor care, but I do know I’m never the type who will willingly allow information to be stuffed down my throat and follow blindly.