You’ve probably heard a variation of it a million times, “some people need to hit rock bottom before they can begin their journey back up.”
This was entirely true for me throughout all of 2017. The year started with some pretty trying times for me and my then fiancé, Scott, and my stresses only built from there. I am the “typical” millennial who has always been told that I could accomplish whatever it is that I set my mind to. Unfortunately for me, I always set my mind to a million things at once.
At that time, I was going to school, working full time, just beginning my two month intensive yoga teacher training, trying to plan a wedding in New Jersey all the way from Atlanta, hardly sleeping,
flying almost every weekend for a million different reasons and yes, still trying to have time for my family, friends, and some sort of social life.
Also at that time, I wasn’t particularly excited about where I was in life. Everything that I was doing was either part of a life that I was working to leave behind in an effort to provide enough money to keep me afloat or preparing me for the life I was working towards. I was hunkering down and plowing through with everything I had in me without feeling very fulfilled but trusting that I would feel that fulfillment in the future.
Then, I became a yoga teacher, and to spare you the all of gory details about how becoming a yoga teacher changed my life – just know that it did. I finally felt that I was contributing to the world again and in a way that gave me a sense of fulfillment. I valued the time that I was spending with my students and other teachers. I couldn’t wait to find more studios to teach at and pick up as many classes as I could. I convinced myself that even though my bucket of tasks was overflowing that I needed to find more time to devote to teaching and building my yoga career.
What was I thinking putting that many things on my plate? It was as if I thought that I could create more actual hours in the day for myself.
My anxiety attacks had started to come back at an intensity that I hadn’t felt in years. I was stressed, overworked, and exhausted. Me and Scott were fighting more than usual because I was feeling insecure in my path and what I was doing each day. And yet, I still made sure that I attended every social event when I was in town, attended every bachelorette and birthday party, and made sure that everyone still knew that I was there for them.
One morning I woke up with what seemed like a few small bug bites on my foot. It had been a few days and they didn’t improve or go away so I decided to go to the walk in clinic. After a quick visit, the Dr. prescribed me a pack of oral steroids and sent me on my way.
I was taking the steroids as prescribed and they were making me feel even more drained then I had been. Suddenly, with a stack of work right next to me, I was able to nap in the middle of the day again just like the good old days.
Then the weekend came, me and Scott went to another birthday party, stayed out much later than I needed to and woke up the next morning feeling at my lowest. That morning was my last day on the steroids. I had been dwindling down on my prescription and taking less and less each day.
The next day, the first day without any steroids, was possibly the worst day of my life. My anxiety and depression were in full force. I had a deep seeded fear that something terrible was happening to me; that I had pushed my body too far this time. I was uncontrollably crying all day, felt weak, had no appetite. My vision was so wonky that I didn’t feel safe driving. I had the most terrible and haunting thoughts that I have never had before. I never thought anything was going to be okay ever again and these feelings of some sort of impending doom were looming over me.
I had severely overdosed on the steroids. The Dr. prescribed me a 10 mg pack. Weeks later my mother was prescribed 4 mgs. I was given more than double her dosage. My body was in withdrawal. Unfortunately, it took us weeks to realize this.
I took off of work and school, something I hadn’t done in years as a contracted small business I worked everyday. I continued to suffer through these terrible thoughts and feelings. I saw a counselor. I almost flew to Florida to check myself into an inpatient facility. I feared being alone and called Scott crying to come home from work – something “normal” me would never even consider doing. I went with him to an appointment and feared waiting without him there even for a few minutes.
This went on for about three weeks before I started to feel like I was beginning to get better.
My adrenal glands had to have been shot. The steroids had used up the last bit of energy in my body that my lifestyle had not already sucked up and thrown out.
The psychiatrist told me that I was “over stimulated” and tried to put me on klonopin and antidepressants – a combo I have denied once in my life already. I was refusing xanax for the fear that it would make my depression worse. I didn’t want to beat this by coving it up with more freakin medication.
I had hit my ultimate low. I needed to get out and I never wanted to be there again. This experience forced me to re-evaluate my entire life. What I was eating, how I was moving my body, how I was moving my mind, and what I was giving to my relationships. It forced me to take a deep step back and change my way of existing.
Burn out was something I had been warned about in my counseling program and in my yoga training but I somehow thought I was still being good to myself. Still listening to my body and my mind. I thought that my self care practices were fine. But I was never slowing down, never resting, never truly recuperating.
I couldn’t physically or mentally continue down the path that I had been on. Had it not been for the steroids, I know I would have ended up at this place eventually.
Me and Scott took this time to shape up our diets and our sleep schedules. I began taking Lou on 5 mile walks in December because A. He is a bulldog and that is his best Atlanta weather and B. The fresh air and exercise was the only thing making me feel better. My yoga practice changed from daily power yoga to more restorative moments on my mat. I began burning palo santo and meditating every morning.
I started to slow down and breathe. I changed my lifestyle in a way that allowed me to start living a life that I could enjoy and not speed through. I will always strive for perfection but my self-talk needed to become more positive like it was so long ago. I could still keep working towards the same goals but needed to find a more balanced way of doing it.
So, I started to look at what self care really means to me, in my life today. What did I need for my mind, body, and soul?
When I began slowing down, listening to my body and mind, finding balance, and breathing deeply I discovered a whole new world of healthy self care.
And so this blog was born.