My own story of having the blues

WITH October being mental health month, I have decided to share my personal experience of depression with you.

A few years back I lost two members of my immediate family. I had just become pregnant with my second child and was terrified that the sorrow I was feeling would negatively impact on my unborn child.

Knowing that prolonged emotional stress and anxiety during pregnancy can have lasting and dangerous effects on a foetus, I suppressed the painful emotions as best I could and focused instead on the joy and miracle of life growing inside me.

It worked for the nine months, but unfortunately suppression and denial of emotional pain is never a solution, and after my baby was born, I found myself in the grip of post-natal depression.

I was diagnosed by my GP, who put forward anti-depressants as an option for treatment.

Understanding that my depression was circumstantial and brought on by my failure to deal with personal tragedy, coupled with the fact that I was breastfeeding my newborn, going on anti-depressants did not bode well with me.

Please don't get me wrong - I am in no way knocking anti-depressants as a valid and successful means of treating depression.

I have family members who have quite literally been saved from the void by being treated with anti-depressants.

But as I felt anti-depressants were not a good option for me as a nursing mother, I sought another option.

A psycholigist friend recommended counselling, exercise and meditation. With a number of scientific studies backing the assertion that meditation is able to increase happiness, I decided to give it a go. A year ago I signed up for classes at Blue Cloud Studio. I have never looked back. I am completely convinced that the regular yoga and meditation classes lifted me from the depths of despair and gave me my life back.

Today I am a passionate advocate of both. They have been my lifelines, and I practice both fastidiously. Like everything worthwhile, it took months of consistency before I started experiencing their deep benefits. I will also always be grateful to my personal sifu, Nikki Ward, whose passion and guidance saw me break free from the mental prison that threatened to consume me.

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