“I gave you more than I gave myself. So loyal to you, I betrayed myself” – Cardi B
You might have noticed that the last post I wrote was dated 12/31/18.
So – what happened?
Life. Life happened. So much life happened, that I needed to take a step back in order to refocus, realign, and reignite myself in order to emerge as myself again. I’ve been trying to write this blog post since November, but apparently, I haven’t been truly ready to write it until right now.
In order to talk about the healing that has happened in the past six months, I have to back it up to the turning point. The warning flags that I passed eventually came to a head.
At the end of October 2018, I had a full-fledged anxiety attack.
I can count on both my hands the number of people I told this to, and that includes my doctor. Why? Because, I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed that I let myself get so out of control of my life, that I physically had a reaction to the lack of control that I had. Should I have been embarrassed? No. But here I am as a health & wellness blogger and fitness instructor and I obviously wasn’t as healthy & happy as my Instagram page would let you think (the highlight reel is REAL).
What lead up to that anxiety attack? Life. My inability to handle the life I created around me. I was working full time. I was a new home owner. I was teaching 13 classes a week. I was driving all over the northern MA seaboard. I had new job responsibilities. I was trying to be a good wife. I was not eating well.
But mainly – the choices I made lead up to it.
It all lead up to the moment where I had to pull over on the side of 95, with pizza that I had picked up for dinner, and tried to catch my breath. To remind myself that I was still here. You know when you feel like you are dreaming, and you have to pinch yourself? I was pinching myself. I was about 8 miles away from my exit. It was dark. It was almost 8PM. I had been up since 4:30AM. I had this deep feeling of dread. I cried. I heaved. I sobbed. I couldn’t stop. When I managed to get moving again and get home, I remember putting the pizza on the counter and just sobbing. Blake just held me. He let me cry. He turned the shower on. He kept asking me “what is wrong”, and all I could get out was “I don’t know.”
I had reached my breaking point. I had cracked. I had no idea how to put myself together again.
I called my doctor the next morning, and described what happened. She told me to drive in, because she wanted to make sure it wasn’t something else. She concluded that yes, I did indeed, have an anxiety attack.
I made the hard choice to stop teaching for a little bit in November. I needed to focus on my newfound job responsibilities, and seeing if taking something off my plate would magically put me back together.
It helped… but it didn’t heal. The fallout from leaving left more of a sting than I expected. I savored the moments that I could drink coffee in the sunlight in my new living room with Blake and Connor. I reveled in the feeling of being able to sleep until 6AM, and not having to pack 10 outfits for a day. I enjoyed the hours that I reclaimed.
But I still felt uneasy.
I gave myself a couple months to rest, and realized that I did miss teaching. I started teaching two yoga classes, with two yoga studios. I had missed giving and filling people’s cups, and seeing them breakthrough their own pre-conceived notions.
I realized after teaching my first class in 2019, that I needed to find a way to fill my own cup.
I committed myself to showing up for myself – which meant that my daily posts on Instagram stopped. I told myself that I would only post if I had something I wanted to share, or something to say. I wasn’t going to just post for the likes or the engagement. I was reclaiming my time and my voice.
I committed myself to challenging myself in movement – which meant that I committed to CrossFit AND Buti yoga. Two completely different movements. Two completely different vibes. But both of these classes and communities have allowed me to reclaim my physical self, and push new boundaries in a fun and safe way. Buti allows me to truly express the way my body WANTS to move, while CrossFit shows me that I can only get stronger if I push my comfort zone a little bit more.
I committed to private yoga & healing sessions. Yes – that’s right. Even yoga teachers take private classes. Jenny Ravikumar (owner of Barefoot Yoga Shala & founder of Yoga for Families of Addiction) posted on Instagram that she was taking on new clients, for a three month commitment, for private yoga/healing/reiki sessions. I saw the posts and kept passing it off as something “other” people needed.
Until, that moment that I responded on January 9th, at 9:11AM (for those number folks, that’s 01 09 19 09 11 – all 1s and 9s):
I said yes. I don’t know why I said yes. I knew I needed something different, and at that very moment, the yes felt right.
Tomorrow is my last private session with Jenny for this session, and I truly can’t believe how much it’s helped me heal. I walked in to our first session on January 16th, not really knowing what to expect or what would happen. I felt heavy and lost, and Jenny knew it.
After talking about a few things, I settled on my mat and let go.
The letting go was the hardest part of my healing – something I couldn’t have done by myself.
Letting go of replaying the conversations, the choices, and everything that lead up the anxiety attack. Letting go of the “I can fix this with just a little more… ” mentality that I had become so accustomed to. Session after session, I could feel the layers of guilt falling away.
I wasn’t broken.
I wasn’t a failure.
I wasn’t a bad person.
I just was me.
The stillness reminded me that I was still here. The quiet reminded me that the most important conversations I can have are with myself. The simple act of committing to asking for help, made me realize the massive support network I had around me.
When I needed them the most, I realized who was here to help me, heal me, and grow with me.
So, here I am. 3/26/19. I’m emerging from a fog of self doubt, fear, and the tangles of preconceived notions.
I’m here for you… but most importantly, I’m also here for me.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for sticking with me.
I am so grateful for each and every one of you.
Now – let’s see what kind of magic we can create in this crazy and wonderful world.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Please see or speak to a health professional if you need more information about anxiety, diagnosing anxiety, and for other coping tools. This is simply my experience.