Fuck Yoga

Sorry, yoga fans – yoga isn’t the amazing medical miracle that will cure me of anxiety. My medication is.

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I can’t remember living without mental illness. I was officially diagnosed with anxiety and depression when I was 19, and in October 2015 I started on SSRIs as treatment, along with regular(ish) counseling sessions offered through my uni for free. As soon as the meds kicked in I noticed that I not only felt more energetic, awake, and not-suicidal, but also that they were treating the anxiety as well. I could make a phone call to people other than my mother. I could approach strangers and ask to pat their dogs. Stammering was a thing of the past. That’s not to say it’s a miracle pill; there were and still are issues with my anxiety. But my medication helped.

You know what didn’t help? The people (with no mental illness or medical training) who would, upon discovering that I had anxiety, recommend three things: yoga, meditation, and a diet change. Now, from a counselor or therapist or psychologist I would listen, consider what they recommended, do my own research on their suggestions and maybe try them out.

But when someone who hardly knows me tells me to do something (keeping in mind I am incredibly stubborn and find it hard to do what I’m told by people I actually like) such as yoga or meditation to cure my ills I want to scream. These are almost always people who’ve never actually suffered from any kind of anxiety or mood disorder, and aren’t trained to give advice on them. They think that me and my mental health team don’t know enough about my particular circumstances and unique experience to work out what will help for me. It’s irritating, ignorant, and kinda disrespectful to suggest to me that I try jogging as if I haven’t already tried physical activity and reported the outcome to a doctor. As if I haven’t made actual plans, constructed to-do lists, made endless appointments, to deal with my illness. Like getting out of bed at sunrise to do yoga and drink a smoothie is going to suddenly stop the anxiety attacks that come daily when I’m in a depressive episode. Or as if meditating every night before bed is going to stop me from having vivid and unsettling nightmares that wake me up in a puddle of sweat. Or perhaps clean eating will stop me from pulling my hair out strand by strand at four in the morning.

Not only is this ignorant of the actual medical advice I’m following, it feels disrespectful. Suggesting to me that I eat healthier, especially when I’m in a bad headspace, actually doesn’t help. When I feel like that, I’m lucky if I’m eating at all. I don’t need someone commenting on how three hashbrowns dipped in tomato sauce isn’t a good meal. I need someone to tell me they’re glad I’m trying. Telling me to exercise definitely doesn’t help, either. All you really tell me when you say “have you tried signing up for the gym?” is that you think I’m physically unhealthy – it usually makes me wonder if I look fat. I already have issues with my body image, and I don’t need more self-esteem problems from a well-meaning but clueless suggestion.

The idea that these ‘natural’ treatments could be more effective than taking the medication that offsets the chemical imbalance in my brain is laughable, to say the least. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking medications for mental illness. My brain doesn’t produce enough serotonin; my medication supplements it. It’s been over a year and a half since I started on Sertraline, and both my counselor and my GP have told me more than once that I’ve improved immensely. There are a lot of ways to treat mental illness. And there’s a reason that yoga isn’t at the top of that list.

That Introductory Post That Everyone With A Blog Seems to Make

What on Earth do people write in their first blog posts that aren’t ridiculously cliche and overdone? Including pointing out that ‘first post’ posts are cliche and overdone?

My name is ⬛⬛⬛⬛, pronounced ⬛⬛⬛-⬛⬛⬛, rhymes with ⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛⬛. I’m non-binary, and use gender-neutral they/them pronouns. If you’re having trouble with gender neutral pronouns and how they work grammatically, Minus18 has a great little interactive page set up where you can learn how to use different pronouns!

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I remember, and am now studying Creative Writing at Flinders University. Despite how often my friends hear me complain about it, I love it immensely, and am forever grateful I was accepted into this course. It’s given me skills I wouldn’t necessarily have gained otherwise, and some of the best friends in the world. Also they have therapy dogs that come to the uni at the end of every semester and it’s always the best day of my life. There’s this one really tiny chihuahua called Chi Chi and one time I threw an orange tennis ball for him but the ball was too big for his mouth!! He pushed it along with his nose!! It still makes me tear up when I think about it.

I have a cat called Asparagus, who is currently sitting atop my wardrobe, probably looking down on me and wondering if I’m done with my toast yet and whether she can eat what’s left over.

I’ve spent all day today switching between doing my final assignment for the year and setting this website up, which might not’ve been the best idea to try and do when the assignment was two days overdue. It’s done now, though! I’ll probably get a decent mark. Minus 4%. Still good, though. Probably.

I guess it’s always probably a bit boring just reading about another person, especially all this introductory garbage that you’ll forget as soon as you close the tab. Or maybe I’m just a dick. Maybe both?

Anyway, this is getting longer than I intended and I’m bad at ending things so if you’ve actually read this far; why?? Also thanks, mum. I know you read down to here, at least. Creative writing to come! Probably.