In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month ~ I humbly share my healing journey to finding true love.
12 years ago, I graduated high school… barely. I say “barely” not because my grades were poor, but because I was so mentally and physically unwell at the time. I had spent nearly a month in a mental health in-patient facility unable to see anyone other than immediate family members, and several weeks more in an out-patient facility. I missed the last weeks of high school, missed prom, and had to leave my job. I was mentally and physically disappearing. I had lost the will to live.
With the support of my parents, psychologists, psychiatrists and my newfound yoga practice, things began to change over the next couple years. At first, I wasn’t fighting for me. I was fighting to survive for the people who I had realized needed me to survive…my parents, my then-boyfriend, my siblings, my extended family…I saw my loved ones drowning along in my sorrows which pained me more than I could bear. But years later, I started fighting for me. And eventually, the fight was over. I was in love….sweet, sweet love… with my life for the first time.
I poured so much love and care into myself to heal from the many years of self-hatred and lies I’d told me about myself — that I was fat and ugly, that I wasn’t intelligent, that I had nothing to share, that I wasn’t good enough — unfortunately, that list went on and on. I developed healthier coping skills and let go of bad ones. I replaced negative patterns of thinking with peaceful, loving mantras. I released trauma I’d previously held onto with shame and guilt. I chose to forgive myself for past decisions and missed opportunities. I taught myself how to love.
For my 21st birthday celebration, I visited San Francisco and had my palm read in China Town by an old Chinese woman — I’ll never forget what she said to me. After reading my palm, she looked at me and said, “You have two life lines on your palm. You’ve recently begun your new life – you almost lost it. You won’t be revisiting your old life – it’s behind you now”. My mom was with me and immediately started balling. She knew all too well, I had almost lost it.
I share my story with you in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month and because I genuinely believe all of our stories are gifts to share. My journey taught me mental health and physical health are not gifts or only something you work on for a short while – they require daily practice. Many people who meet me today would never believe that I could have been this depressed person. They meet an open hearted and joyful person. This is my reality now. Every moment is a chance to begin again – we just need to give it the chance.