This is a minorly condensed version of My Life Story. I'm trying to keep it to the bullet points, but I know I can be a rambler. Hey guys, I'm doing my best.
I guess the crying sprees started when I was 11. Tears. All the time. I had no idea why I was so weepy (my best guess now would be puberty) but it clearly worried my parents so much that they put me in therapy. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety then and later in life, bipolar. My first therapist was not my favorite, but I stayed with her for a couple years. In 10th grade I got a new therapist. I remember she had a cool exposed-brick wall in her office. She was the first one who told me to scream into my pillow, she told me to share things with my best friend (who would then tell my parents), and I signed a "I Will Not Harm Myself" contract with my mom sitting next to me. Apart from being suicidal for the next few years, mostly I just remember feeling so uncomfortable a lot of the time—as many high schoolers do.
A couple years later I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. It was an even more difficult diagnosis for me than depression because the doctor said things like “Since it’s chronic Lyme, you’ll have it the rest of your life. You’ll give it to your babies. You can manage the symptoms, but you’ll always carry it.” When I started asking what treatment options were avialable he said something that really threw me: he said “you can either do multiple rounds of antibiotics, follow the herbal regimen, or make diet and lifestyle changes. Or you can do a combination of any of those.” In confusion I asked, “But which one works the best?” He said “Whichever you think will heal you.”
This moment at 17 years old was a total breakthrough for me. It was the first time the concept of “our thoughts create our reality” began to percolate in my mind. I began to consider, if I have the choice over a method of healing for my body, maybe I have more control over my brain/emotions/life than I thought.
Eventually I discovered a passion, ballet, that brought me so much joy and excitement that I came off my medication and felt better than I ever had in my entire life. It was around this time I began reading self-development books and decided that I was lucky enough to come out of this darkness myself and that helping others overcome this consuming despair was what I wanted to spend my days doing.
My next step that led me to was yoga. A natural hobby for a dancer became something that led me even further into the mind-body connection. I spent the next nine months becoming a yoga teacher, moved to LA a few weeks after I got certified, and decided to spend a year studying and training in EFT, NLP, hypnosis, and life coaching so that I could help others release their negative beliefs to help them create a life they love.
I don't want to make it seem like life is just totally easy and perfect all the time now. I still have tough days or deal with dark thoughts. But the incredible thing is how I bounce back to my baseline within a day, an hour, or even a moment rather than just staying stuck in the whirlpool of negativity. It took years of work to get to the point I'm at now. It took so much practice, falling down and picking myself back up, choosing to trust that I was put here for a reason, growing in awareness of my thoughts, thousands of pages in journals, and having coaches to help me grow into this woman I am now. It took a whole lot of love to get me here, and I want to show others that love that they can have for themselves and for others.
So at the end of the day, I stand for love. Love of self, love for others, love for humanity. Love encompasses so much: goodness, kindness, patience, non-judgment, selflessness, service, self-regulation. Isolation, whether circumstantial or self-induced, creates pain, loneliness, and lack of connection. If we can love others and love ourselves with truth and grace we can create a world of community instead of isolation.
Here's to love, my friend.