“Above all, don’t fear difficult moments. The best comes from them

-Rita Levi Montalcini

This week I learned that one of my high school classmates passed away. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw the news. Instantly my heart broke. She left a young child behind. In high school, she struggled with depression, but through the years it seemed that she had recovered, or so it appeared in social media. Behind the smiles and happy moments, there can be a lot of darkness.

I remember the first time I felt like I wanted to die, I was 16 and has just gone through the most traumatic moment of my life. As I laid on the floor sobbing, I wished with all of my being to no longer live. I was in so much pain and felt so betrayed. I never thought the feeling would end. For the next 11 years, I walked through life almost numb. Getting into a relationship trying to find healing but instead encountering more hurt. I was looking for fulfillment and validation in the wrong places. I had moments of happiness and temporary fixes. I moved through relationships, jobs, and locations and the darkness would return. In my mid-twenties I began to search for answers. I was finally coming to a place of inner peace and stability. At the end, the last relationship before my husband I decided to accept where I was at and love myself. Shortly after he came into my life, the man I had always dreamed of. He patiently waited as I was unsure, always telling me that we were meant to be together.

On July 24, 2015, we got engaged. It was the happiest day of my life. As I started to plan the wedding all of the old feelings began to resurface. All of the things I had shoved deep inside. Outwardly it seemed that I was struggling with the normal feelings that brides to be go through. I couldn’t express to my friends the feelings of angst and despair that plagued me. I felt myself start to spiral into a depression. There were days I felt so stressed and anxious that I would cry, or yell. Through it, all my husband remained, patiently soothing me and loving me. He showed me love and grace during one of the dimmest moments.

The year and a half of wedding planning were the happiest and most difficult moments I’ve ever endured. I was forced to face all of my insecurities and past hurt. On the wedding day, I was able to put all of my worries behind and enjoy the moment. For a few weeks after I was in wedded bliss until the honeymoon. We decided to go to Fiji, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. As soon as a landed I received a message that sent me spinning. For the first 3 days, I was absolutely distraught. It seemed that no matter where I was, or what part of the world I was in I couldn’t get away from the looming pain, it would always return.

It was about 2 am, and I couldn’t sleep. Fiji is 12 hours ahead of Los Angeles, and I had terrible jet lag. I waited until my husband fell asleep and cried uncontrollably. I got out of bed and looked beyond the balcony towards the ocean. In an instant, I had an urge to jump and end the pain. I looked at my husband as he was sleeping and started weighing my options. I could finish everything and no longer feel pain, but at the same time, I would be inflicting enormous pain on my wonderful husband–the greatest joy and gift in my life. The logical part of me knew that this was not the answer, yet I was tired of being strong. I was at a breaking point and knew that things needed to improve and that I could no longer live like this. As I went tobed I made a choice to give myself time and see if things would improve. As the days went on, I searched my soul for answers and knew that things could never be the same.

Many times our struggles are so private that not even our closest friends or spouses are aware of our internal conflicts. I remember thinking how terrible it would be for my husband to have to deal with my death on what was supposed to be our honeymoon. I didn’t want that to follow me into the afterlife. Something told me that my transition wouldn’t be so peaceful. I was so focused on the negative that I was missing the blessings in my life. I knew that no matter what part of the world I was in a would never be able to escape myself. Before we came back to the states, I decided that I would seek help. I didn’t want to destroy my marriage with my unhappiness or worse make an irritational and permanent decision.

I made an appointment to see a therapist and together we began to unravel years of self-destructive behavior. I would leave each session with homework, and after a few months, I noticed a vast improvement. To further things along she suggested yoga, which is something I had tried off and on for years. During this time I had developed a habit of walking. On a whim at 8 am on a Saturday morning I decided to walk 30 minutes to my first kundalini yoga class. I went through so many different emotions in that first class, everything from anger, joy, self-doubt and then at the end tears. After my first class, I saw such an improvement paired with therapy that I was hooked. I had to know the darkness to make changes in my life.

If you’ve been reading this blog or following me on social media, you’ll know that I’m a huge proponent of meditation. Meditation and yoga have saved me. They’ve made me get in touch with my innocence and remember who I really am. I’ve been able to shed years of hurt and pain that we’re stuck in my body and ingrained in my DNA. Through my breath, I’ve been able to create a union between my soul, body, and mind. It’s allowed my overactive mind to dispose of all the useless chatter and make peace with my past and present. Through mantras, I’ve been able to reprogram my brain. I’ve found a way to nourish my soul while discovering the beauty within. I accept myself physically and mentally precisely as I am.

Time moves quickly, and the pain you’re feeling will eventually subside. There is so much beauty that can be found in life, yet it’s so easy to focus on the negative. Whenever you’re feeling down make a list of 5-10 good things in your life. If you can only find 1 thing that’s ok. Elaborate on what those things are. It can be something as simple as seeing a rainbow, walking your dog or having a cup of coffee. Make sure to hold on to how your list makes you feel and reference it anytime you’re feeling low. Know that never you’re never alone, the healing and guidance you seek are attainable and within you. Lastly find community, when we get sad or depressed many times we retreat which can make us feel isolated and even more alone.

Here are some things you can do if you’re going through a challenging moment:

Go for a walk in nature, preferably barefoot to ground you
Listen to upbeat music
Long deep breathing for a few minutes
Volunteer/help someone in need
Take a new class
Listen to an audiobook/podcast
Reach out to a friend and invite them for coffee or tea

If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call a friend or this hotline:

For Veterans:
1-800-273-8255 Press 1
Text- 838255

Talk to a therapist from the comfort of your home:

Have you gone through a difficult moment? What helped you surpass it?

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