My story as an adopted geminii living with Bi-Polar Depression
I am now 33 years old and I was born under the sun sign of geminii on June 12. Geminii's are known as the twins (I definitely have two sides). They may also exhibit negative traits like inconsistency, the inability to express oneself emotionally and a lack of depth in thoughts towards other individuals. This can lead them to be not very close to anyone.
I was adopted at birth and no matter how hard I try, there is still a feeling of being abandoned deep within my being. In my teen years, I questioned everything. Why was I given up? Do my birth parents think of me? Since then, I have been able to see the grace of the situation and be grateful for all the blessings my adopted family brought to my life. I have an extremely loving family and I would not be where I am without them.
I also have bipolar depression. For the last 18 years I have been hiding behind my disease, afraid of what others may say about me. I was diagnosed with bi-polar depression as a young teenager. I tried to numb out my suicidal thoughts with drugs, alcohol and other negative behaviors like staying in tumultuous relationships for too long. I had no self worth and in fact, I didn't want to live on this earth knowing that I was different and I would have to take medication for the rest of my life. Oh boy, did I rebel...
In my senior year of high school I attempted suicide. Having a condition like bi-polar depression was like receiving a death sentence for me. I was scared, uneducated about mental illness and I wanted to escape from this life. When life gets sticky for me, the negative thoughts pull me so deep into an abyss that I spiral out of control. If I say or do something that affects or offends someone, I immediately feel remorse, guilt, shame and do not want to continue living. But, I am living, and I am so glad that I am. I have false guilt alarms, where I find myself feeling guilty about things I have not even done. My illness shows up in unanswered text or email messages, not returning phone calls, abrasive conversations, inconsistent social media presence or a dramatic lapse in exercise routines. It can whip me into an emotional state at the touch of a button, and then five minutes later I can move on. The problem is that other people cannot handle these radical shifts in energy. I tend to push people away to protect myself and if I tell a falsehood, in my own limited mind, it is, however misguided, to protect myself.
I found the healing benefits of yoga and meditation when I was 25. For the last nine years I have been diligently studying the philosophy and techniques of yoga. I found a guru who I absolutely love and adore; he loves me just for existing. That kind of unconditional love was a game-changer, and its not the type of unconditional love you receive from a parent or a BFF... this is the type of unconditional love from God. Working with Reverend Jaganath Carrera and The Yoga Life Society throughout the last seven years has helped me shift my thoughts from discomfort to ease. This support enabled me to clearly look at my strengths and weaknesses. Having a positive role model radiating peace and love to emulate helps me to bring light to the darkest parts of myself. Yoga is the science of the mind, and with the right amount of fervor and determination we can do anything.
During my twenties I was unmedicated and looking back I can see the damage I did to my life and to others. I was a "hot mess," and I had no idea. It took some of my darkest days to realize what was going on. I am happy to share that this year I am back in therapy and back on my meds, and for the first time it is my choice to do so. I now know that I can be helped with the medicine, so therefore, I take it. What is so different about taking meds for our mind and taking meds for our gut? Or diabetes? I can see that this darkness is a part of me, and if I want to keep it under control I know that therapy and medicine works.
I currently teach full time for a private school called Fusion Academy, which specializes in individualized learning plans for every student. Because each class is taught in a one-to-one setting, I am allowed to get to know my students. I see myself in many of the students at school, as they learn to cope with new mental health conditions. I believe it is my karma to work at this school to help heal painful wounds from my past. I run a yoga business called Sunshine Yoga Life and every day I try to put energy into the business. When my dark days come and its hard to get out of bed to do anything, I reach into my tool box for help. Having a purpose and a direction with the business helps motivate me when I feel down. Throughout my life, while learning about my disease, I have found ways to cope and connect with others. Educating yourself is the strongest weapon in making a change. Serving others is the best way to get out of the darkness.
It is now time for me to stand in my truth. I am learning to accept that the only way out, is through the darkness. Having this side of myself is a part of me, but my condition does not define who I am as a person. Many people have been coming forward about mental illness, and the time is NOW to strip down the stigma about mental health. As one of my favorite singers, Lady Gaga told Prince William in an interview, "We have to make the strongest, most relentless attempt to normalize mental health issues, so that people feel they can come forward."
During the month of May I have been posting videos and articles on Sunshine Yoga that inspire me about various people's stories and ways to cope with mental illness. Below you will find a collection of my favorite videos. I am Sunshine and I am Chief Thundercloud. May we all grow to love ourselves completely.