My name is Angélique and I am 18 years old living in Québec, Canada. I’m a full-time student studying social science. My ultimate goal is to someday work in the mental health field to help people see that light at the end of the tunnel who are in as dark of a place that I once was in. Around the age of 12, I began feeling depressed. That depression has followed me ever since, but has been reduced greatly thanks to yoga and meditation.
I’m an only child, so my parents and I have always been close. However, in 2016 my father and I drifted apart. I blamed him for how I was feeling because my depression began when he himself was depressed from a work-related burnout. I ended up seeing three different psychologists before finding “the one”. She helped me a lot, but that didn’t stop my mind from going to those dark places.
I was also being followed by my doctor. She had prescribed me medication, but that didn’t seem to help. We tried a different medication at a much higher dose, and that worked a bit, but when I ended up in the hospital after almost attempting suicide, we knew we needed to take a different approach.
I was about 15 when my doctor recommended trying yoga. The yoga was for my minor scoliosis and the pain it was causing me. I was pretty desperate to get rid of this pain in my back, so I gave it a try. I quickly discovered that there was much more to yoga than physical relief. With yoga comes meditation and being one with your mind, body, and spirit. That allowed me to vanish into my own little world of tranquility, and forget about all of the pain my body was going through not only physically, but mentally.
I began doing relaxed, modified positions to help my back. Later on, as I got more comfortable, I started pushing myself to test how far my mind could go without being distracted. There’s this pose in yoga called Savasana. Many people position themselves differently, but ultimately, everyone is experiencing a similar state of mind. The goal is to relax all of your muscles and focus solely on your breathing. You shouldn’t be thinking of anything else, but if you are, acknowledge the thought and dismiss it. This technique of meditation served me lots. I’m an anxious exam taker, so whenever I felt like I was about to break down in the middle of one, I would stop, put my head down on the desk, relax my body, and focus on my breathing. This method always made me feel much more relaxed.
In October 2019, this pose came in very handy. My dog of 11 years passed. That dog was a part of the family. She was my best friend; and just like that, she was gone. My parents began to worry that I would fall back into a nasty depression. I knew that wasn’t an option, so I used what I could to prevent it. The only way I knew how to cope with the grief was to become one with my emotions. The following yoga sessions were mostly focused on meditation.
My instructor wanted to make sure that I had breathing techniques available at any given time so that I could use them to cool down when needed. We focused a lot on not ignoring but instead channeling the pain from the loss in order to acknowledge it and cope. At night when I was at my worst, I would lay in bed and use the breathing techniques my instructor taught me. This would clear my mind and let me get a good night’s sleep.
I am doing much better now. I feel that yoga and meditation really gave me the tools to combat depression. I’m at the lowest dosage of my antidepressants, so I’m almost fully off of them. I also meditate on a daily basis. Whenever I’m feeling anxious, I sit and focus on my breathing. I do the same when I feel ill or just when I need a pick me up. I began slacking on yoga when the pandemic hit, but it’s something I intend on reintroducing to my day-to-day life. As for meditation, I don’t think the practice will ever leave me. It’s a tool that helps me tremendously in all sorts of situations.
Meditation is a beautiful and natural approach to overcoming physical and mental pain. It has allowed me to go from zero to one hundred, simply because I was focusing on myself. My episode of depression was painful and I feel so grateful I could find solace in yoga ane meditation. Taking medication is a lengthy process to get into and to get off of. Meditation only requires a bit of self-determination and practice. It’s definitely something to think about before getting on pills that can have some serious side effects on your body.
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