By Sara Saldez
This morning I woke up, a few times (as been the situation for a while now) until I finally pulled myself out of bed at 7am. This is the latest I can leave my bed if I want to shower, and attempt to look decent for a day of work AND get to work on time.
I have been struggling with sleep for the last few weeks. Nightmares, dreams in constant fast forward motion, and actual panic/anxiety attacks in my sleep. Today it took its toll on me at work. I was attempting to engage in my daily duties during my down time, when I felt ill. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I was feeling, but I know it was a combination of feeling light-headed, queasy and not all, together.
On the drive to work, I was having a mental battle with myself over accepting that I have depression in its real form (and not just in feeling low and mis-diagnosed), and between wanting to feel a sense of “normal”, whatever form that may be this week.
I have always known things were harder for me. Situations that I saw other people getting themselves into and out of with relative ease, put me in a horribly crippling position. I couldn’t understand why things to seemed to be easier for some people and not for me. But life and things got in the way of me getting a real diagnosis and some real help, until May 20th last year.
For those who know me, they know the significance of this date, and for those of you who don’t, my mother passed away on May 20th, back in 2004. And last year when I was house-sitting in Sydney and experiencing major panic attacks and anxiety attacks, my gorgeous supportive friend decided it was time to see someone for real about what was happening.
So that date I received my diagnosis, and I accepted it. I also graciously accepted the help that followed. Fast forward to almost ten months later, and I am still receiving the help I need, but am again at war with my mind. You see, I am struggling with forgiveness. That seems to be the hardest word for me in this present time of my life.
I just secured a full time teaching job, after over 15 months of no secure lengthy contracts (read; unemployment), I just joined the gym again (after more than two years away from any gym, although I had yet to go to a class/workout), and things were finally falling into place and looking on the rise. So why the battle with forgiveness? I am not sure. But that battle continued tonight, on the mat.
I have been feeling the pull to yoga for a long time now, and I have purchased books, attempted my own flows both on land and in the pool, but I had yet to go to a class, to experience yoga in a place, that in my mind, filled me with dread.
I know I look nothing like the others in the class, but I went anyway. I never used to wear singlets to the gym, and therefore endured more heat and restriction than I should have, and tonight I came out of the dressing room in a bright pink singlet. NO SLEEVES. And I took myself to the mat, and attempted my first class. As we were lying there, coming into our breath, the instructor asked us to set our intention for the class. She mentioned words like love, happiness, abundance etc, but it was the word forgiveness that hit me like a bullet to my head and heart simultaneously.
I started to tear up. I knew this lesson/session was going to be about forgiveness. And boy, I wasn’t wrong. As I fumbled and attempted my way through the next 60 minutes of poses and stretches and breathing, tears streamed from my face not once but over four times. Each time I tried to do a pose that I struggled in – I heard forgiveness, and cried. For previously, I have never been kind to myself. I am the first to be super harsh and tear myself down. To others, I have pearls of wisdom and compassion and kindness in spades, to myself, hatred, fear, rejection and lack of compassion and forgiveness. I would be the first to pick apart all the parts of myself that weren’t so easy to like. I had been working on loving the parts of me that were easy to like. But somehow, the other stuff was just too hard. Being heavy is hard. Being unkind to myself is hard. I was tearing myself down. This wasn’t anyway to treat myself.
So each time I attempted a pose, I had this battle in my mind, between hating myself for not being able to do this pose better, and with more ease, and reminding myself that “I am human”, “you gotta start somewhere”, and “just because you can’t do it today, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it –someday”.
Forgiveness. For being human. For letting life get me down for a while, and for having the courage to get back up. Forgiveness for not being okay all the time, and being okay with not being okay. Forgiveness for not being all that I thought I “should” be at this point in my life, but for trying once again. Forgiveness for being so unkind to myself for so long.
So the end of the class came, I survived, and I cried some more. My instructor encouraged me to continue with the class, to come back next week, and to not give up on myself. And so I cried again. Because I don’t want to give up, I don’t want to give in. I had given up on life two years ago, when a broken foot and PCOS diagnosis hit me like a tonne of bricks, and then when unemployment hit me real hard in the head and heart. And because I am back in the game. I don’t want to give up on life. I wanted to keep going. Reminding myself that all of this is ON the way and not IN the way, to me achieving all my heart’s desire.
So tonight, I forgive myself a little bit more. And I go to bed with a heart filled with gratitude. And a mind ready to tackle it all again tomorrow.
Sara Alicia Kristine, an Elementary/Music teacher, born and living in sunny Queensland, Australia, loves to travel, loves to work with youth and those who work with youth, and believes in spreading the message of the importance of relationships (especially the one you have with yourself) in order to achieve desired outcomes.When she isn’t writing and telling her story, or the stories of those she meets, she is singing karaoke, writing her own songs and poetry, or walking barefoot on the beach under the full moon.
Featured image courtesy of Lara Heimann.
Oh my god. I didn’t write this but it’s like I did. Thank you so much for this touching essay. I am with you in experiencing horrible self talk, depression and anxiety, and trying to learn self love. May we all be healed
We need more people to tell their story. Thank you.