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Two things you should know about me: I used to do yoga and I used to be on medication.
I started practicing yoga when I was younger because I saw girls posting poses on Instagram. I too wanted to post pictures proving I was healthy, flexible, and happy… Not the most humble way to go about it, right? Let me backtrack, the first time I did a yoga pose I wasn’t actually practicing. I taught myself a ridiculous form of crow pose, got a picture of it, and called it a day. What a poser, right (pun intended)?
My yogis out there are cringing. I’m so sorry. I promise this came to a screeching halt. Long story short, I couldn’t get into it. I had no interest in breathing exercises and couldn’t even pronounce "chakras."
It wasn’t until a few years later, my senior year in college, I enrolled in a yoga course as an elective for extra credits. I showed up every day. I began to breathe better. I slept during savasana, though. I wasn’t a yogi yet, but I was at least trying this time around. I really believed I was going to get into it. I had a feeling deep down that yoga would help me with my depression.
That all changed when we did hip stretching. I had been looking forward to it all semester. We were told many people pent up their feelings in parts of their bodies, particularly the hips. When you stretch out these areas, you supposedly release these repressed feelings and many tend to break down.
I know I have a lot of emotion in me. I was on antidepressants then, but that didn’t stop the bouts of sadness, hopelessness, fears, and anger. I had hopes that hip stretching would help me, alleviate me of whatever was deep within digging up depressive emotions.
I was fully present the day of our hip stretches. I pushed through the stretches, waiting for the excretion. I watched people’s eyes fill with tears. Not mine. I didn't sleep through savasana that day.
After class, I approached my instructor. “I thought I would feel something today. I thought today would be the day.”
She sadly smiled. “Not everyone’s emotions are hiding in their hips. Your’s may be somewhere else…” I left defeated.
Exactly a year later I was struggling with aches, pains, and symptomatology that no one in their early 20s should be experiencing. I was still on antidepressants. I was no longer doing yoga. I went to the first doctor who would see me. With not an ounce of concern on her face, she said she would simply and significantly increase my depression medication.
I took the script with eyes full of tears. I never took it to the pharmacy. I never took a pill again. Every day, I chose not to take my medicine, I waited to feel something. I waited for the explosion of emotions. Like a soldier in the battle field, weary and waiting for a sneak attack. I was ready for my demise by depression. Weeks went by and the only thing I felt was the aches and pain.
I decided to see a chiropractor to realign my back. I was weary because I've been warned about the damage they can do. But nothing could have prepared me for what happened moments after my appointment…
He popped everything that he could into place and cracked back bones that I didn’t know existed. It felt more rejuvenating than yoga and a hot stone massage combined.
I struggle to explain what happened the minute after I left the office, though. My eyes filled with tears, my blood pressure rose, and I broke down like the least reliable car.
My boyfriend was an eyewitness to the event. I threw my glasses off, I started shaking, I was yelling, I was hyperventilating. I was a human hurricane. Everything that had ever hurt me was in the air that day suffocating me. I choked on memories and screamed at nightmares. My boyfriend’s beautiful blue eyes reddened with tears and fear.
Then, I got very quiet and very still. Aside from the fear of my boyfriend leaving me, I finally felt relief. The relief I hoped those little pills would give me every morning I popped them
As years of chemicals were leaving my body the weeks after I stopped taking my antidepressants, the only withdrawal effects I experienced were dizziness and mild irritation. The moment I allowed a chiropractor to stretch and crack my aching back that all changed.
Have you ever had to “sweat out” a fever? You cover yourself with a ton of blankets until your body breaks out into a cold sweat, excreting the toxins that are making your body temperature rise. One moment it’s maddening, you become nauseous, your eyes criss cross, you shake and quake, you might even pass out. The next moment you’re drenched in sweat, but nevertheless, feeling a bit better.
That’s what happened to me mentally that day. What was left of the serotonin reuptake inhibitors excreted from my body that day. With it went a lot of emotions that were jammed in between my joints.
I always heard that physical health can be a manifestation of mental illness. I never fully believed that until a chiropractor released a lot of pent up pain.
I always heard about people being embarrassed about their mental health. I never fully understood that until my boyfriend saw me have a nervous breakdown.
I still don’t practice yoga. I no longer feel the need to act like I do, though.
I still am not on medication. I no longer feel the need to be, though.
My boyfriend chose to stay with me that day. I know he’s scared it might happen again.
My chiropractor never heard from me after that day. I know what will happen when I go again.
Some days I still feel relieved.
Some days I’m still achy.