Trust Your Struggle.
For those of you who don’t know, I used to have an advice column on here aptly titled “Dear Abi”. Until I realized that I was a complete mess (still am), and had no right to be talking. But for those of you going through “it” that are still in need of something – ANYTHING, below are give things I’ve done in the past as well as something new I’ve recently adopted to help me get through dark times.
Bikram. In the winter of 2009, I was not myself. I experienced panic attacks so intense, I often times didn’t leave the house, was in therapy and had no reverence for life. Somehow, I made it past the eye of the storm but still had a long way to shore. Fortunately, thanks to the ladies of Dub, I found bikram yoga and was able to stay afloat the rest of the way. The thing about bikram is it’s so intense, that you are forced to focus on the present. Otherwise, you’ll fall out of your pose and feel like an idiot. Even up ’til now, bikram is the only hour and 30 minutes of my life where I am able to think of absolutely nothing other than my posture and how thirsty I am.
The mantra. I can be really cynical at times, the rest of the time I’m just a downright asshole. So positive affirmations usually annoy the shit out of me. However, around the same time I started bikram, I began to chant mantras in my head. Specifically, the first verse of the Serenity Prayer and only during savasana. Savasana, was the one time in class where I could hear my thoughts. In an attempt to drown them out, I would repeat the serenity prayer over and over until the teacher broke the silence.
Gratitude. The first 4-5 months I moved to New York were TOUGH. On more than one occasion I thought I’d have to go back home. It was during one of these low points that I decided to adopt an exercise suggested on IG by Stella Santana. I forget the original instructions, but every night at 9pm my alarm goes off and no matter what I’m doing or where I’m at, I make sure to think of 5 things I am grateful for that day. It always made me feel (even just a) little bit better after a job rejection knowing that I at least had a roof over my head, my mom, food in my stomach, amazing friends, and my healthy.
Spend time with my family. Especially the kids. The number one thing people tell you to do when you’re in a rut, is to keep busy. I’ve found that if things are really bad, it doesn’t matter if the only free time you have is when you take a shit, because all it takes is a single second for you to remember what’s bothering you. And as amazing as my friends are, I’ve still cried in their presence. But for some reason or another, it’s hard for me to let my family see these types of emotions. Matter fact, I don’t think I’ve ever cried in front of them. While I might still be sad, spending time with my family at least prevents me from moping. And when I’m in front of the kids, I feel like it’s an obligation to be happy.
iRead. Obviously, writing is my passion and it allows me to express myself. But it doesn’t take my mind off my problems. Although therapeutic, it makes me delve into them instead. On the other hand, reading has the potential to take me to another world, planet, space, or time. If you’re in an Eat, Pray, Love kind of mood, I suggest visiting Tiny Buddha.
Please feel free to share words of encouragement below for others as well.