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  • Emily Johnson

HOW SAYING YES TO THIS CHANGED MY LIFE



Have you ever been asked to try something completely new and out of your comfort zone?


If the answer is yes, well then, you can imagine how I might’ve felt when I walked into my first yoga class back in 2013. The room was 105 degrees, the entire wall was covered with giant mirrors, and there were about 15 other people with barely any clothing on.


“Oh shit,” I thought.


What had I gotten myself into?


Well that was the same question RuthAnne asked me at the beginning of this year. But before I tell you my experience of what unfolded; let me introduce you to RuthAnne.


RuthAnne is my mental health therapist. Just like I have a physical therapist, a medical and naturopathic doctor, and even a lawyer all on speed dial to counsel me and provide therapy when I need it - having a trusted mental health counselor as part of my support team has been life changing.


I met RuthAnne back at the end of 2012. During that time I suffered from serious postpartum depression, as well as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The series of life events that had led up to this - my brother’s accident, Miles’ traumatic birth, my brother’s sudden death, moving, and the birth of a second child - had left me feeling like an empty shell. Everyday was dark, lonely, and painful. Antidepressant medication had helped to stabilize some of my mood but there was a clear indication for further therapeutic intervention. At the end of a therapy session in January 2013 RuthAnne gave me a homework assignment.


“Go take a yoga class, “ she said.


“Ok. Yes, I can do that,” I replied.


The next week I was SO excited to report back to her how amazing (and equally hard) it was. I told her how good it made me feel and how at home I felt at the studio. I shared with her I felt I had found something really special. I began practicing regularly and soon thereafter ended seeing RuthAnne (or so I thought).


What unfolded for me the 7 years after that first yoga class in 2013 was a direct result of what I learned while on my mat. What I had gotten myself into was a profound experience of healing and transformation. My life completely changed in the most positive way; opening up more and more possibilities and opportunities for continued personal and professional growth. So when my mental health declined this past year due to the grief, anxiety, and trauma around our son’s illness of PANDAS I knew what to do. I picked up the phone and called RuthAnne. One of her first questions to me was, “Are you still into yoga?” I answered in gratitude to her:


“Let me tell you how my life has changed in the most amazing ways over the past 7 years all because I said yes to that first yoga class.”

As we approach May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month; I’m not just urging you to say yes to yoga or other therapeutic interventions. I’m encouraging you to say yes to support. Whatever that looks like for YOU. Maybe that means making a therapy appointment, asking a colleague for help, or simply reaching out to a friend.


What I know is true is that there’s no way in hell I would be able to function all on my own. Everything I do - whether it’s caring for our son, operating a business during a pandemic, working on my graduate degree, supporting other parents, and beginning to plan for building my private practice - I do it all with help.


My hope for you is that you access the help and support you desire. I know sometimes accessing that support can be a tiring process but imagine how much more exhausting a life without support would be. You can do it. Choose to say yes to what might potentially change your life.


P.S. - Please share this with a friend. You never know who might need to hear this. ❤️


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