I was about 10 minutes into a yoga class when I heard my name called from across the room. I was a bit surprised because it’s pretty uncommon for anyone besides the instructor to talk. I walked over to the woman who said my name as I approached her I recognized her as the girl who was at the front desk when I got to the gym a few minutes before. “I’m sorry,” she said timidly, “we have down that you’re supposed to be subbing Laci’s dance class right now.” I felt my stomach drop and a hot feeling flashed through my body. When my brain caught up to my body I realized that I was indeed supposed to be subbing the dance class in the other room; the class that started 10 minutes ago.
Panic set in
I quickly and quietly gathered my things and rushed down the stairs. I glanced at my phone and saw multiple texts, missed calls, and a voicemail. A lot of thoughts sped through my mind: what playlist am I going to use? Oh my gosh, I’m in the wrong clothes. I can’t believe that I completely forgot. I don’t even have shoes with me! I wonder if the people in class are upset. I’m not mentally prepared to teach right now…
For the duration of my thirty second walk/run I must’ve thought of at least 15 different things.
What they didn’t know
Something that no one else could have known was that I barely even made it to the gym that morning. About three years ago I started feeling really down. At first I thought I was just having a rough couple of days. But a few days turned into a few weeks, and then months. And all of sudden I was to the point where every day when I woke up the first thing I thought about was how I wanted to die, and that terrified me. I found myself unable to perform tasks that had once been easy, like doing laundry and cooking meals. I caught myself thinking about how my children would be better off if I died and they had a different mom. But once I started opening up to people about the thoughts I was having, I felt immense love and support. Soon after that I met with a professional and started taking medication. Within a few weeks I noticed that I was feeling like myself again and I literally felt like I’d just taken my first breath of air after someone had been trying to drown me.
Did you cringe or feel uncomfortable when you read that word? It’s okay if you did; I’m not here to judge. Let’s talk about the word depression and the stigma that’s attached to it.
I feel a little embarrassed to say that I used to judge people who “struggle with depression.” Somewhere in my mind I think I believed that if they would make changes to their lifestyle they could somehow heal themselves (which I should say I still do believe to an extent). But going through it myself really changed my perspective because it seemed like no matter what I did, I just couldn’t make myself better.
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Bringing it back
Back to two weeks ago at the gym. I had barely made it to class that morning because I had been feeling extremely depressed for a couple of weeks. It’s not uncommon for those who suffer from depression to have relapses consistently throughout their life, and I was in a relapse. I walked into the dance class feeling like a complete wreck. I had already been desperately sad and now on top of it I was super embarrassed for forgetting to show up to teach. I stood in front of the class and briefly explained that I’d forgotten and I apologized as I struggled to fight back tears. And then I taught class and did the best I could to shut off the thoughts of inadequacy.
As it always does, love saved me
At the end of class I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. I was relieved to be done, surprised that the class seemed to have a good time, and a bit surprised that my mood was lifted too. As students came up to talk to me they had smiles and gave me kind and reassuring feedback. One woman in particular had a special awareness and offered to give me a hug. “I want you to know that I’m here for you,” she said. And in the middle of one of the worst experiences of my life it transformed into one of the best. I could feel her love for me, and even though we hardly knew each other, she gave me the love that I was struggling to give myself.
I walked out of the gym that day a little bit better than when I walked in.
A week later
When I went to talk to Laci in person I didn’t quite have the experience I expected to. I expected her to be kind and forgiving, which she definitely was, but what surprised me was when she described the experience as “meant to happen.” I honestly got chills because I had thought the same thing when I left from teaching class that week before. I described how the experience was for me, and she started talking about how it was cool to hear how her class reacted. “I teach them to love, and it seems like that’s what they did.” I haven’t been able to get that idea out of my head since hearing her say it.
The love you give…
The love you give does every good thing in life. Love helps to lift spirits. It dries tears. It infuses patience in moments of tension. It gives you a reason to choose well so that you don’t hurt the important people in your life. It brings warmth and unity and gratitude. Sometimes love simply gives someone a reason to smile, but what it did for me that day was remind me that there’s a reason to hope and a reason to keep on going.
You never know what mountain your love may move.
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