Depression : Balancing on the Precipice of Self | Finlay Wilson - The Kilted Yogi
This entry was posted on 15th September 2017.
I’ve had this battle with a feeling within myself that has been present since childhood; a sense that there was something irrevocably wrong with me, something others did not have wrong with them - something terrifying and powerful. This is my understanding of depression.
When I am still for long enough, I begin attacking myself, reviewing my life and focusing on everything I have ever done wrong, ripping into every trivial detail with a vicious scrutiny.
The result is a bitterness laced with both mistrust and hopelessness.
I see it in my Yoga students too. One pose gone wrong and the client collapses inwards and is almost unresponsive; some I never see again.
A few years ago, before I was able to healthily set these feelings aside, I would turn to a few different mechanisms:
- Alcohol - to excess; spending every afternoon and night drinking. It wasn’t an effective night of drinking if I remembered it!
- Excessive exercise and diet tablets. The aggression and contempt turned on my body leading to bouts of bulimia and starvation.
- Yoga. While this may seem like a good thing, it wasn’t. I lived by the rulebook to the letter; ate as it said, practiced when it said and followed with a fierce rigidity, finding virtue in injury.
If any of these addictions were unavailable or something was in my way I would either fall into deep depression and shut down, or lash out. This initially started manifesting itself whilst I was at university, and very few people from that period of my life have stayed in touch because of the seriously erratic behaviour I presented.
For a long time, my relationships suffered as a result of my own depression.
When I entered Forrest Teacher training, I was still in the grips of struggling with over-training, numbing out, diet pills and a painfully hidden eating disorder.
It was there that I learned that in order for the depression and its roots to come forth, the addictive mechanisms had to be set aside. Once I had set these aside - thanks to deep meditation practices and the power of collective ceremony - I was able to gently tap into what was beneath. Ana Forrest held space for me when I fell to tatters many times on that training saying “You are not breaking down, you’re crying. Breaking down happens to people who don’t cry.”
Underneath the addictive layer was a maelstrom of emotion, pain and hurt. As any hero’s quest goes, you have to leave everything behind and face the dragon. That training was a turning point in my professional and personal life. I hung up my Ashtanga and Vinyasa cape and began teaching Forrest Yoga.
Focussing on daily intents, exploring my own physical and emotional state, journalling, and assessing my reactions to many different situations
I began tracking what threw me off the precipice into shut down and became good at picking up the scent of those triggers before they pushed me over the line.
I became less reactive and more resilient as a result. It is my hope that through teaching Forrest Yoga, that more men can get in touch with themselves and begin to take the time to see how they tick. This work has kept me from the cliff edge, many times.
Finlay Wilson is wearing our 8-Limb Hoodie in the featured picture