One of the reasons I sought out yoga (many) years ago is because I suffer from a litany of mental health disorders that have not always been correctly diagnosed. After the kids were born it was post partum depression, then it became serious PMS until I had to have a hysterectomy. Years later they diagnosed me with General anxiety disorder and depression, then came the bipolar 2, Obsessive compulsive disorder (not the fun kind that makes you put everything in it’s place but the distracting kind where you get lost counting steps or run your car into the back of a red mustang because you were counting the reflectors in the road) & binge eating, the one I seem to talk about the least.
But through it all I have been one thing, consistently and without fail. I’m manic. Not every once in a while, manic…always manic. Think “flight of the bumblebee” running through your head on a loop 24/7. It’s exhausting but I don’t know any other way to be. So if you need something planned, organized, pulled off or done, I’m your gal. I’m organized to a fault, I’m detailed to the minutia and I’m happy when I’m busy. Modern medicine helps, a lot, but I’m still going to be that person that has 9,217 things on her plate and a to-do list a mile long. I realize I do this to myself. I don’t rest, not without massive amounts of medications and I don’t stop. Not even a little. When I do the anxiety kicks in and I freak out. I miss things sometimes because I’m always busy. I overdo things a lot and then I crash, hard and spend 13+ hours in bed recouping.
So I have to consciously be aware at all times that I’m rushing from here to there to stop. Just breathe. Take a minute. It will be ok.
Yoga helps. It makes me stop and breathe and remember to be in my body instead of in my head. It reminds me that I don’t need to think about the to-do list or the person who needs me to respond to something OMG_RIGHT_NOW. It’s even let my slightly more than co-dependant family take some space and responsibility of their own. They’ve come to realize that yoga time means no, you can’t text/call/IM/facetime me right now. I’m on my mat.
But it’s NOT when I’m on my mat that I need it the most. It’s when I’ve gotten myself overwhelmed again. When the calendar looks too daunting, the to-do list if filling up pages of my notebook and when i snap at my partners for asking me to do “just one more thing”, when work and yoga and life and kids and dance and everything else in my life is just too much for me to handle. When the anxiety kicks in and I’m scratching rivers of red into my arms and scalp and I’ve lost connection with myself, much less others.
THAT is when my yoga kicks in and I have to remind myself….
I put my hand on my chest and feel the rise and fall. I fill my lungs full of air and hold my breath until I feel like I can burst from the pressure. I let it out slowly, savoring every gasp as I imagine the pitcher being turned up and the water flowing out of me.
The to do list will be there. The people will wait. I can handle this.
I will breathe.
I will think of solutions.
I will not let my worry control me.
I will not let my stress level break me.
I will simply breathe and it will be ok,
because I don’t quit.