I am your average 21-year-old college student by day and bartender come the weekend. I enjoy long walks on the beach, cupcakes and the occasional trashy reality television show. Looking at my life, as an outsider most would say I live a ‘perfect’ life (but what truly is perfect anyway?). I come from a great family; have a solid group of friends, a great job with even better coworkers, an honors student, and a self-proclaimed comedian. I enjoy making people laugh, helping out others whenever possible, writing and most importantly yoga.
I found myself at an all time low a month or two into my senior year of college, never would I have previously described myself as a depressed person until now. I struggled to get out of bed, I often found myself debating whether I truly wanted to live, I cried most nights to my very patient mother who spent her nights laying in bed with me, talking me off a cliff. I would credit these depressed feelings to a combination of things; I was sexually assaulted as a young teen, which never truly affected me until I got older and started to see my younger cousins grow up. I cringed at the thought of something so awful ever happening to them as well as my cowardly behavior that let the monster that did it to me get away scot-free. I was dealing with stress due to school, life, and lastly another incident in college where I was sexually exploited by a man I had trusted.
only going down
The combination of all these stressful factors started to chip away at my confidence, pride, humor, and general outlook on life. I felt as if I was loosing myself and finding little enjoyment in activities I once adored.
I started to push away from my friends, my family, my schooling, and anything else I had once loved. I questioned whether I should even live; I started to feel like an awful friend, daughter, student, sister, cousin, granddaughter, etc. I really felt terrible that I had all these amazing people in my life and I could not show them the love that they rightfully deserved. I was and am so blessed and fortunate to be able to live the life I live, yet inside I was completely torn apart. My mom had recommended that maybe I should go see a counselor to help me get through the problems I was dealing with but I was hesitant and embarrassed to show someone my weaknesses. I decided to turn to yoga; I bought a book that talked about healing depression the mind, body, and spirit way. I have always worked out but never really felt that I was helping my mind, rather, I solely focused on my body. I instantly fell in love with yoga – I fell in love with my ability to forget about the outside world for an hour or so. I loved that this practice was not judgmental and everyone in their own way could make it their own.
I had never been able to connect with myself the way I could during yoga, I found myself taking a different outlook on life and started to slowly gain my confidence back by mentally loving myself as well as physically. During a class one day the instructor said, “Our mind is our best and worst enemy.” For some reason this statement never left my mind. I once had found myself living with regret for the steps I did not take in high school to get justice, in college, in relationships with men who just were not right for me, and finally started to let go of the pain that had taken over my body.
set me free
I often turned to throw back TLC and Destiny’s Child songs to deal with my breakups, while still hurting inside, I tried counseling in high school, reading books upon books, going to the gym, anything- but nothing set me free quite like yoga.
I would recommend that anyone struggling in life (or not) try yoga and give yourself the opportunity to fall in love with oneself- mind, spirit, and body.
Katelyn Martin is a 21 years old and a senior in college that wanted to share her story in hopes that her experience with overcoming depression (with the help of yoga) could help other readers.