People joke about nervous breakdowns, but I actually had one. Long before I discovered yoga or cared one bit about workouts, running, hamstrings and fitness, I went through a phase where I cried every day and feared constantly that I would never find my old self again.
Anxiety has always run in my family. For me, it hit on the way back from a ski trip in the Spanish Pyrenees… that feeling that there must be something terribly wrong with me. That I had to get to a hospital, despite the fact that I couldn’t in any precise terms tell you what the problem was.
The episode was followed by bouts of crying, debilitating phobias (some old, some new), and a general feeling that a very heavy weight had settled around my throat and on my chest.
Fortunately for me, a relative of mine who I am relatively close to had experienced something similar in her youth. She recommended going to Brief Strategic Therapy, a kind of solution-based therapy that focuses on providing a series of strategies to cope with disorders like anxiety, depression, anorexia and bulimia. The point of the therapy is not to find the root cause of the disorder but rather to give the patient the “brain tricks” for permanently overcoming the disorder without relying on medication.
What on earth does this all have to do with yoga (which you’re probably thinking by now is the theme of this blog, given such obvious hints as the name “Average Yogini”)? Eight years after the fact, yoga has become a crucial tool for keeping my anxiety at bay. No meds, no therapy, no co-dependence. Just me and my growing ability to focus on the here and now.
This is why I share my story. If anyone out there can benefit from my experience, the tools I’ve gathered or the battles I’ve won, I want to make sure I pass something on. I hope you enjoy.