Welcome to a Joyful You

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It's Okay To Say It

“Listen to your body” was the line that echoed through the room during my first class at Joy Yoga. Tears welled in my eyes as I thought of how for the first time in a long time I was actually in fact listening to my body. For years I had done just the opposite of that, I had been at war with myself, my mind trying to kill my body. Most people don’t know, but for five long years I battled anorexia on top of depression and anxiety. I had never before “listened to my body” while working out; instead, I spent years using exercise as a form of punishment. My dietician suggested going to Joy Yoga after becoming weight restored. I was leery at first, wanting to return to my typical workout routine, but I told her I would try it. You could say it was love at first sight. Going to yoga class became my stress reliever. It began to fill my life with joy. The breathing techniques I started to learn helped me with my anxiety. The people at Joy along with my incredible therapist showed me how to love my body for what it can do, and how to truly listen to it. I learned that yoga was not about burning a certain number of calories, but rather moving your body to honor it. In the end, I learned that honoring my body meant giving up control of the number on the scale because controlling my weight could not change my past, but letting go of it will give me a future, and what a beautiful future it will be.

We have fundraisers for cancer and talk about heart disease on television, so why is it that mental illness is only whispered about in hushed tones? Why is it so much harder to talk about mental health than physical health? Only one out of three people with a mental illness will seek treatment, which means two out of three people aren’t getting access to life saving care. I’ve been in hospitals and have done months upon months of partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs followed by hours of therapy, and there is no doubt that without help I most likely wouldn’t be here today. I know what it’s like to not want to get out of bed, to want to sleep all day because your dreams are better than your reality. I know what it’s like to feel like you’ve fallen in a black hole that you can’t climb out of. I’m here to tell you that I know what it’s like, and I’m here to tell you that things can get better, they will get better. For years I’ve been ashamed of my story, I thought that it somehow made me less than everyone else. I treated it like the skeleton buried deep inside my closet. I always had dreams about one day sharing my story, but it never seemed to be the right time or place. The time and place is now; it’s time that we start talking openly about mental health to end the stigma around it. I’ve realized that when we deny the value of our story, we stop fighting to make it heard and I have decided to fight to make my story heard. Joy Yoga is joining Okay to Say to tell you that it’s okay to say that you’re struggling with a mental illness, please reach out to someone. It’s okay to say that you need help. Please seek treatment, it will probably be the bravest thing that you will ever do.

Your beautifully broken story matters, join us and head over to Okay To Say to tell it.

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