Elements For A Healthier Life Magazine Issue 02 | June 2016 - Page 27

My doctor initially prescribed antidepressants, an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) agent and sent me to a therapist, along with prescribing various treatments for the syndromes I was experiencing – everything from Irritable Bowel Syndrome to Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder to migraines. He added the therapy pool for my chronic pain, and I had exploratory pelvic surgery.

For about two years, I tried prescription after prescription, had test after test, and saw specialist after specialist, nothing yielding great results. Eventually, I was a walking pharmacy, taking one prescription to combat the side-effects of another…and I was taking both a benzodiazepine (think Valium-like) and a narcotic pain killer, and I was pretty hooked on both.

At the time, I was raising four children and I owned a contract medical transcription business, so life was hectic.

The first therapist wasn’t too helpful. Later, I found someone who was a better fit, and I began to make painstakingly slow progress toward understanding all that had happened to my body and my mind as a result of suppressed trauma and a lifetime of believing I somehow wasn’t good enough to be loved.

I was frustrated with the never-ending prescriptions and tests, and I was scared about how reliant I’d become on the anxiety and pain medications. I wanted to find healthier and safer solutions – and I wanted to actually heal, not just mask the symptoms.

In 1999, at the age of 35, I did three major things: I had a breast reduction, I had a hysterectomy, and I stopped all my prescription medications and treatments and started treating my pain and anxiety holistically – and the foundation of that was yoga.

Through yoga, I became aware of my breath, and how shallowly we breathe when we are anxious, and I learned to settle my anxiety with breath focus.

Through yoga, I became aware of the energy moving in my body, and where it was blocked and caused pain, and I learned to open myself to greater flow.

Through yoga, I became aware of the way thoughts will dissipate on their own, and how “monkey mind” can quiet naturally, and I learned to let my thoughts ebb and flow without getting caught up in them.

Through yoga, I became aware of the specific

reas pain localized in my body, and how easy it is to perceive pain is everywhere, and I learned how to gently work with the pain and allow it to ease.

Through yoga, I became aware of my internal rhythms, and how nutrition, hydration and sleep go through cycles, and I learned to follow my body wisdom.

Through yoga, I became aware of how strong my body is, and how strength, balance and flexibility work together to create stability, and I learned to let go of the need for rigidity and control.

Through yoga, I became aware of my ability to relax and will, and to practice progressive muscle relaxation, and I learned how to release tension and prevent it from turning into even more pain.

Through yoga, I became aware of the energetic space around me, and the energy of other people, and I learned to filter negativity and to trust my judgement of a situation.

Through yoga, I became aware of the voice within me that rises when the body is quiet, and the intuitive guidance that voice provides, and I learned to access my inherent wisdom and intuition.

Through yoga (and yoga communities), I became aware of meditation, affirmation, herbal

June 2016 | ElementsForAHealthierLife.com | 27