Today I did Day 3 of the Bad Yogi “I am” challenge: I am free. I really enjoyed today’s flow, because I have been feeling quite trapped lately. This class reminded me that I’m not.
One of the tricky things with mental illness is that although you can seek professional help, and take a course of action to try and improve your health, whether it be medication, therapy, or both, as with any other illness, it is largely outside of your control. You can’t just make yourself suddenly be better. This is pretty obvious with physical injuries or illnesses – we wouldn’t expect to put a plaster cast on a broken arm and for it to instantly heal, or for somebody with the chicken pox to will themselves out of it.
With anxiety and depression, I am simultaneously very aware that I don’t have control over my mental health, but also tend towards blaming myself for how long the healing process is taking. Mental illnesses are fairly invisible, and I think sometimes its hard for me to remember that the healing process is just like the healing process of any other illness or injury.
This is so important to remember, but so hard too. Sometimes I feel very trapped. Either I feel like I have no control, and no matter how hard I try, I will just keep spiraling; or I feel that surely I must be able to do something to be better, surely this is because of me, because I’m doing something wrong.
Neither of these things are true. Some of it I have control over, and some of it I don’t. I can do the things that I do have control over: I can take my meds, I can go to therapy, I can reach out to people, and I can keep trying to do small things that make myself feel better – like having a cup of tea, going for a walk, or reading a comic book. The things that I do to help myself are important, and I couldn’t heal without them. And yet, it is also not my fault that I am not well. Just like with a broken arm, I am doing my bit to get the right medical attention, therapy and care. The rest, I have to leave to time. Some of the process I have to let go of, and trust to God.
There is freedom in that I think. In both doing the things you can, and letting go of what you can’t.