Photo by Jenni Young

Photo by Jenni Young

I judged myself viciously when I went on antidepressants years back. How wrong! Yoga should be able to help me 100%! How I have failed!

It was before I was a yoga teacher but I considered myself a dedicated yogi, and I couldn’t possibly imagine taking medication to help me, even though I had been depressed since early childhood. I was also terrified of gaining weight. At the time I was battling a serious eating disorder and I would’ve rather been sad than fat. At the time, I probably would’ve rather been dead than fat.

They saved my life, those meds. I gave in and took them despite my fears and eye rollings. Despite my shame.

I saved my life, of course. But taking them helped me more than anything else in my life had ever helped me thus far. They helped me where numbing out couldn’t. Where starving myself couldn’t. Where yoga couldn’t.

Yes, it’s true. I have long thought about writing about this. I am a yoga teacher! There is no way that up until recently I was on meds. Shame! Couldn’t I have just meditated?

I am not advocating you to take them. Ever. Yoga your ass off! Dance! Sing! Write! See a therapist! Do it all, and then, if and when, you realize that perhaps something inside of you is chemically unbalanced, then perhaps you can talk to a doctor and weigh your options. I only know what I chose.

I had fallen deep inside a pit and it was like someone finally threw a rope down, and I was able to climb out. There was still work to do and I still battle depression but I cannot imagine what the alternative would have been.

They helped me get through a day without starving myself and obsessing on my weight for the first time in fifteen years. With the new space in my brain, I was able to make room for other things.

Judging: it’s a habit. Breaking a habit is hard. What’s harder is not going back to the habit. For years I had stopped sucking my thumb and then one day I started again. It was that easy. One suck and the safety I had always known was back, the thumb was back in the mouth, the pleasure remembered.

I won’t write that I am going to stop judging, that I am going to meditate twice a day, that I am going to stop drinking 100%, that I am going to love every single person I cross paths with, that I am going to write every single day. Sounds like a list of New Year’s resolutions. No. What I will say is this: I will do better than I did before. I will do my best. I will love harder.

I will look to myself with love and kindness especially if and when the I am fat, I am a monster, how did I ever take anti-depressants, what kind of jerk am I?—starts to creep in.

Here’s what I say to you, to me, and to anyone that cares to read this: stop judging so much. People are doing their best. You are doing your best. You will keep getting better. You will keep rising to the occasion. You will keep meeting yourself in the coffee shop or bar and telling yourself what your Highest Self would do now. What Love would do now.

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