Stigma Fighters: Jenny Parks

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Stigma Fighters: Jenny Parks

I thought I’d take a moment to share why I started my blog, The Depressed Yogi. To begin with, I am a person who lives with chronic mental illness, committed to find my authentic self and balance. For as long as I can remember I have lived with depression, suicidal thoughts/urges, self-hate, anxiety and without a sense of self. I was an empty walking shell filled with deep sadness and grief, as if I experienced a loss that I couldn’t remember. I made poor to disastrous personal choices that made my illness much worse. Finally a friend suggested I try therapy and this was the beginning of my path to healing. That was about 20 years ago.

 

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Image courtesy of Jenny Parks – © 2016 Jenny Parks.

The awareness that I was not my illness came within the last seven years. Looking back I see so clearly how all events have transpired to guide me towards understanding this awareness, and I give myself mad props for not giving up and being open to the opportunities to grow/learn/heal when they presented themselves. My most recent flare-up of the illness brought me to a form of therapy that helped me to a new level of self-awareness. With this therapy, many other helpful sources and an inspiring support system, I’ve begun to realize some important truths. The most important of these is: I am not one aspect of myself or another. I am one whole being, with many oppositional parts.

I am a practitioner of yoga as a physical and mental practice (and also a 2oo-hr certified yoga instructor). Most people’s perception of yoga practitioners is that they are relaxed, balanced people, living a state of constant bliss. Truthfully, I thought that too. I couldn’t understand how I could possibly be depressed or have panic attacks when I had yoga as my guide and support. Why the hell was I not blissed out and “zen”? Around this time I began Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and this was the key to accepting the dichotomy within myself. I began to realize that I can suffer from depression and at the same time practice yoga to help me with it. That I can be upset and still practice yoga in the same moment. I have accepted this duality. Even still, I have cried through yoga, been more depressed after a class, and completely forgotten to connect with my breath throughout the dark moments. This does not mean that I have failed or not a yogi. No, it is in those moments I am living a yogic life.

The Depressed Yogi blog is my way of addressing that duality within all of us. We are all in a constant state of one emotion or another, especially those of us who struggle with mental illness. Padma (the girl) and Bodhi (the bunny) represent the sometimes oppositional forces of emotion and the authentic self. With this blog, my hope is it will help people realize their struggles are ok and shared by many. And the thoughts I share will bring them comfort and strength.

© 2016 Jenny Parks. Please do not use without permission or credit.

bwI’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety almost my entire life. Recently I started The Depressed Yogi: An Illustrated Blog About Living with Depression Through Mindfulness. My goal is to write books for children that help them understand and accept their emotions.

 

Jenny can be found on her blog The Depressed Yogi, Facebook, and Twitter. 

By | 2016-05-16T08:43:44+00:00 May 16th, 2016|Categories: Depression, Stigma Fighters|Tags: , |0 Comments

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