Help for a Hypocrite


I’m a yoga teacher. I specifically work with people struggling with eating disorders and the host of other issues that goes along with an eating disorder. I teach entire classes on using tools to manage stress and anxiety. I have a whole toolbox of techniques for calming the mind, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, calming anxiety. I give breathing techniques, espouse the benefits of the eye pillow, and talk about the therapeutic benefits of synchronizing bodily movements and breath. I love to tell people about how I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression most of my life, and no medication was ever as effective for me as yoga. I’m a walking, talking testimonial.

As I write this, my hands are shaking so badly it’s hard to hit the right keys. I find myself, at all times lately, a hair’s breadth from either screaming or crying. I try and regulate my breathing and all I can hear is the sound of my breath stuttering over my rapidly pounding heart. I told my gynecologist this last week and she looked at me and said,”I can not help you. We know you don’t have goof luck with medication. Anybody else I would tell to do yoga and meditate, eat whole foods. I don’t have anything to tell you to do.” Lest she seem cold and uncaring, she said all this with tears in her eyes as I sat in her exam room wearing my paper dress, crying. She also suggested I see a psychiatrist, a suggestion I plan to take her up on as soon as I can get an appointment with one.

A dear friend mentioned that it would be hypocritical of me to work with people receiving treatment for mental health and not acquire treatment for myself when I need it.

Yet, I still feel like a hypocrite. Why, suddenly, are my tools not working? How can I teach this stuff to other people when it’s not working for me? How can I tell people to do yoga when I’ve managed to squeeze in one practice in the last two weeks? When my breath practices send me running to the bathroom to hide?

I feel like I’m crumbling under this load. Running a large household, raising a big family – in addition to the chores (cooking, dishes, laundry, cleaning, errands) – carries a huge mental burden. Scheduling. Appointments. Extracurricular activities. Meal planning. Budgeting. Keeping promises to kids. Planning renovations – that we are doing one-hundred-percent ourselves. Worrying. Trying to be everything for everybody. It’s like being pressed to death by an invisible board. Some days I just quit. I can’t make another phone call today. I can’t pretend to be ok to some stranger on the phone. I can’t sit somewhere and listen to people make small talk while my board gets heavier and heavier, as more invisible rocks are piled on top. So I go hide in my room. I cry some more.

Well this is crazy. Literally, as I typed the period on that last sentence, my phone rang. The psychiatry office I was told two days ago would take seven to ten days to verify my insurance and then call me back – was calling to say they had an opening at 10:30 tomorrow, could I make it? Of course, I burst into tears and was all, “Hell yes!”. “Oh, and by the way,” they said, “There’s no copay with your insurance.” So I hung up, cried some more, and am trying to figure out what to do with the little one while I go get myself some help.

I’m still not sure how I feel about this, but when my dry, stoic husband looks at me and says, “Please do something. I don’t care what, but this is not good,” as I sit at the kitchen table crying for the ninety-fifth time for the day, I guess it’s time to take action. Am I a huge hypocrite? Am I trying to give responsibility for my health away? Or am I taking responsibility by recognizing when I need more help, and getting it?

I’m not giving up on my yoga. I still believe it works. I know it has changed my life, and me, for the better. But maybe I need a little boost to help it. I need a starting point right now. I still believe in the benevolence of the Universe. I’m taking that phone call as a direct indication that the Universe (Spirit, God, whatever you want to call it) is trying to help me help myself.


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One Response to Help for a Hypocrite

  1. Shae says:

    What an incredible load…and I for one am very proud of you for tapping into any resource that will give you peace! There is no longer a stigma for seeking help for mental overload. Some people need it all the times…others it is more of a situational issue. When my husband was diagnosed with metastatic cancer of both lungs….I could not even speak…whenever I opened my mouth…tears sprang to my eyes and I could barely croak out a sound…I ran to the psychiatrist chair….and when 8 months later the doctors at M D Anderson found 17 brain tumors…I returned for more meds and more tweaking ….I could not have coped otherwise. We live in an age where we have resources and professionals to help us. Why would we suffer needlessly? Shame? Pride? Stigma? Martyrdom? No!!! We are smarter and stronger and wiser than that!! So I am proud of you!!! I love you! Godspeed!!! Get in that chair!!!

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