November 19, 2016
By Sari Leigh, Photos by T.S. Ellis
“Sari, you are smiling. But the words coming out of your mouth sound like discouragement.” That is what my therapist said after I shared my disillusionment with my life.
I told him, “You know after gaining 30 pounds, overwhelmed with motherhood, heartbroken over a relationship turned sour and feeling defeated by so much bad news in the world, I just keep thinking, What is the point of it all? How can I continue to smile, stay uplifted and committed to a greater meaning when I can’t even manage the small meaningless things in my life.”
NO! NEVER! I wanted him to understand that I’d hit a wall with my will to persevere through it all. My swift, flexible and agile body had taken new shape after recovering from an avalanche of obstacles in my life. My heart, which once was an overfilled well of positivity was a dry cracked shell of empty and broken promises. These feelings were foreign to me. I’d never been someone to be so easily broken, so quick to give up, so weakened by the weight of the responsibility.
Maybe yes and maybe no. All I knew was that I needed more insight on how to manage these alien emotions. So I sought professional help in the form of a therapist and was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I knew something was wrong when the intrusive thoughts in the middle of the night began to haunt the safety of me and my family.
Friends and family were supportive in the best ways that they knew how, but they didn’t have time to work through my complexities. In order to address the shit in my life, I needed to take my mind and body back.
Yoga was a balm to soothe the aching memories of having my child in the hospital for months on end. Pranayama and deep breathing were tools to manage my anxiety when I needed to confront a judge to argue for custody. Meditation helped in those lonely nights when my thoughts were racing with the uncertainties of how I could manage raising my daughter on my own. But therapy was a thread that connected all of these healing traditions to living a balanced life. Therapy helped me see patterns of self destructive dating , reactionary comments to my coworkers and even childish ways to avoid confrontation.
Therapy put a mirror up and shined the light into my face. Therapy dared me to see all the imperfections and all the beauty and accept it. Once the acceptance began, so did the understanding and ultimately the healing. A good therapist helps you find your stride. A caring therapist allows you to take your time getting there. A healing therapist gives you the correct dosage of support to keep you on the road toward a fulfilling life.
If you are feeling down, discouraged, depressed or just uncertain, tap into the power of therapy. You are not the first or the last. Don’t let any event, any person or circumstance break your stride. Keep moving and keep living.