Lately I have had lots of time to think. More time than I ever thought possible. I just left the hospital three days ago, after spending 11 days admitted. In all honesty, the first few days, explaining my absence from life was the last thing on my mind. As things started to come back into focus, as I talked with my family and close friends, and as I realized that there were going to be things that I loved doing that were going to have to move to the back burner for a while, I began to realize that I would have to explain my absence. So, here we go; I was admitted to 3 West, which is the Mental Health Inpatient ward. I was admitted after coming to the emergency room for help. I will spare you the details of what led me to seek help, which is a nice way of saying that some things are private, even in this time of seemingly endless accessibility. But what I am willing to share, is that over the last little while, my mind has become increasingly busy. Being inside of my mind felt like being in a crowded room, and hearing hundreds of conversations at once. All of my emotions seemed amplified. I was not sleeping well, not remembering to eat, and felt like I had endless amounts of restless energy. The worst though, was my anxiety. Luckily for me (picture me laughing, for real, and rolling my eyes), I am pretty adept at keeping most of this to myself.
I have never hidden the fact that I have struggled to keep my mental health balanced, and it is the number one reason that I delved so deeply into yoga. I believe that the reason I was able to maintain a semblance of balance for so long is because of my yoga practice. I genuinely feel that for the most part, or at least for a period of time, I was keenly aware of where I was at mentally. At a point earlier this year, I lost this to some degree. I got to a place where my mind was so busy, that it became impossible for me to meditate. Even though I understand that a grounding, restorative practice would be the most beneficial for me, it ended up as a time for me to ruminate in my worries. My meditation, my practice, became another source of anxiety. I know that there are people who will say that if you just practice right, eat properly, meditate regularly, use essential oils, and wear the right gemstones, that you can overcome/heal/live with mental illness. I am in complete agreeance that it can definitely help you to cope. I don't believe these practices cure. Even though I personally believe in their ability to help, they may even just be a placebo effect. But, in at least my case, it was not entirely enough. I am currently trying to adjust to new medications, one that helps to slow down my thoughts a little bit, and one to help with my anxiety. I am waiting on my referral to the Canadian Mental Health Association to be processed for further support. My psychiatrist would like me to begin Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and I will also be seeking the help of a counsellor.
Upon being admitted to the hospital, I had two major concerns. One was that parents of my friends children would find out that I was being hospitalized for my mental health, and become uncomfortable with our children playing together, or allowing their children to visit our home. The other concern was embarrassment that I was teaching people to find balance using asana and meditation, and I was unable to sustain this balance myself. There is nothing I hate more than a fraud. This is why I chose to share as much as I did. Because even though these practices can help, sometimes they don't help enough. I also wanted to share, because there is such a stigma associated with mental health. If I was being admitted to the hospital because I had a physical illness, I wouldn't have had to worry about either of these points.
So, now that that is out of the way, I just wanted to share that I am taking a little bit of time off to adjust. The medications have me currently feeling a little slow, a little dizzy, but I have been assured that this feeling will pass. I am not going to book any additional photo sessions for the rest of the year, and I hope to ease back into teaching yoga as soon as I am physically, mentally, and emotionally able to.