The Day I Learned to Forgive Myself

venice beach

Do you remember the day you learned to forgive yourself, to accept yourself?

I do. It was today.

As I sat on my psychiatrist’s couch attempting to suppress my sneezes from a nasty sinus infection, I rattled off my usual litany of random questions. She is a wise and brilliant woman (I look forward to our sessions, is that weird? I promise it’s not just because she holds a prescription pad…) who knows and understands me well after the four and a half years I’ve been seeing her, so I trust her insights implicitly.

While discussing the smaller episodes I tend to think are setting me back further, she used the phrase “in recovery,” and it changed everything.

As much as I preach—and do believe—that there shouldn’t be stigma in taking psych meds, in dealing with mental illness, I realized today I didn’t apply those same standards to myself.

I’m crazy, I’m weak, what is this woman thinking about me when I walk out, am I crazier than her other patients? Why do I need so much medication just to get through life? 

Walking up Lexington back to the subway, I finally internalized this: depression is a real condition, and my doctor is treating me for it and treating me as such. It’s something I’ve dealt with since before my mom got sick. I’ve had a shitty past few years, but I am healing and recovering, bit by bit.

As I wrote in my Women’s Health article, I’ve heard depression described as emotional cancer—it may go into remission but never go away. Even if I relapse—which I certainly have since being hospitalized—that doesn’t erase the progress I have made.

And today, I can recognize: I have made a shit ton of progress from the woman I was a year ago, nine months ago when I was hospitalized, even the woman I was arriving in LA three months ago.

Was there a moment you can point to when you learned to forgive yourself?

Yoga Diaries: Y7 Yoga Silver Lake

Y7 Silver Lake

Back with some more yoga diaries!

I spent last weekend back in California, and obviously I had to get some yoga in there. The entire time I was in LA this fall, my friend Melissa and I kept missing each other, so we vowed to get together this time. She’s also a yoga teacher, so yoga was the natural choice.

To be honest…I’m not crazy about Y7. I consider it more of a workout than a yoga class, personally. I go to yoga, yes, partially to move, but also to connect with my spiritual side. While the fast pace can definitely lend itself to a meditative-type state, it’s not usually my preferred way of getting there. I prefer a slightly slower class.

The format of most Y7 classes is roughly this: a warm-up/class opening, slowly teaching a flow, repeating it at the speed of your breath and then repeating it on your own. (This pattern is repeated with three different flows.)

I hadn’t taken a Y7 class since before my own yoga teacher training. Pre-YTT, I DESPISED the flow-on-your-own with the fire of a thousand suns. I hated having to try to remember what the flow was. But this time, I kind of liked it. I had the muscle memory of knowing what typically followed a given pose, even if I couldn’t consciously remember the whole flow, and I felt much more confident and comfortable.

We took class from Ari, whom I loved because she was much more soulful and grounded than the typical Y7 instructor in my experience. She had a really calming presence, and we spent a long time in the opening on our backs and getting grounded in our breath before getting into the flow. Melissa and I chatted with her afterwards and found out that she had done her YTT at Laughing Lotus, my favorite studio ever. So it made sense that her class resonated with me.

I’d just flown in the night before, so I was a little nervous about my own practice. Well, I was tight AF when I stepped onto the mat and my balance was off, but I flowed into my own by the end of class.

Y7 Silver Lake

Also, only in LA can you have lockers outside. My NYC was so bemused by this.

tl;dr: I was so pleasantly surprised by this class.