For World Mental Health Day
Updated: Oct 11, 2018
For a long time I pushed against my need to meditate, do yoga and eat well. With these practices I found peace, happiness and clarity but I hated the fact that if I didn’t do them I didn’t feel well.
I questioned, “why can’t I be normal?”, “why do I need to put so much work into functioning?” “I don’t, want to have to meditate to feel calm/happy/healthy! I want to just be like everyone else.”I just wanted to live life, have fun, be happy and not worry about doing the work I presumed other people just were happy without.
There are people with food sensitivities, diabetes and other physical disorders that take care and precautions to avoid flare up or attacks. I’m sure at times, these individuals wish they could just eat whatever they want, not take medication to keep them functioning and alive and wish they too could just be “normal” like everyone else.
I don’t think I even realized what being healthy mentally felt like until I started practising and living by the guidance of Ayurveda. I was in an abusive relationship, stuck in a vicious cycle of shame and guilt. When I started tending to my well-being through the prescribed tools of Ayurveda (yoga, meditation, conscious diets), I could see or rather feel how off the things in my life that weren’t serving were.
When teaching conscious eating through Ayurveda, I often reference greasy fried chicken. If you eat it often it feels fine but if it’s been a long time since you’ve eaten it (or something similar that doesn’t sit well in the gut) and you give in to that craving and eat it, there’s no denying you feel like shit afterwards. Once you start feeling health more regularly you are more sensitive, less numb to things that are unhealthy. The bad begins to register and you can’t deny it anymore. Your body is intuitive, it talks to you and tells you, “ that doesn’t feel good”, “something isn’t right.” But if you haven’t been paying attention, you don’t see the signals.
For me, that is what Ayurveda did for my mental and emotional circumstances. I couldn’t comfortably be in that life anymore and I was able to finally walk away.
I no longer wanted it, I couldn’t stand it anymore. Like fried chicken, it made me feel sick. What followed was amazing. I felt light, freed and I remembered that I am allowed happiness.
As time went on, I fought against my need to keep it up in order to feel happy. Which in turn made me feel like I wasn’t normal, everyone else seemed like they could get along just fine without having to meditate daily, do yoga often and eat well regularly. And that’s where I began to understand my own mental health. I am not sensitive to gluten. I don’t have to watch my sugar intake and I don’t have any glaring physical disorders to monitor but I do have to monitor my emotions.
I am sensitive. I have experienced trauma and even with all the guidance, therapy and healing, there are scars. And sometimes when those soft spots are touched I hurt again.
Sometimes, I don’t know what triggers me. Sometimes, it’s a slow progression and I just feel off. Just as some people avoid gluten and sugar, my mental health (I’ve learned) requires avoiding certain people, situations, too much alcohol, too much work, having boundaries and knowing how to consciously communicate with my family and friends.
The practices of Ayurveda have given me the tools to monitor myself. Check-in, listen and understand what I need in any given moment or situation.
For all of us who suffer from a mental or physical imbalance/disorder/ disease let’s be reminded that it doesn’t define us. We all are meant to be healthy and each of us are on our own journey, with our own way of getting there.
Maybe I wished I didn’t have to do certain things to feel healthy and happy but prior to finding the practices, I didn’t even recognize the lack of it. Now that I feel healthier, I am grateful I can sense what unhealthy is and I know what to do with it.
Thanks for reading. This was a quickie and I felt compelled to share today, on World Mental Health Day, skipping over editing and simply wanted to put it out there.