February can feel like the longest month of the year. It’s dark, gray, gloomy, and cold (at least where I live). Valentines Day can add insult to injury, with an over-whelming barrage of delusional and incere images of love that really do not match anyone’s experience. Whether you are single or in a relationship, Valentines Day can be a painful reminder of what is not in your life.
Traditionally, February brings a rise in suicide attempts. Otherwise manageable depression feels even heavier and intolerable when it’s so cold and gray. Like the commercial says; depression hurts.
I experienced post-partum depression about 4 months after my second child was born. Yes, even me, who does lots of yoga. I was sleep deprived and it felt like I was just generally and totally deprived. Deprived of light-heartedness. Deprived of an easy laugh. Deprived of gratitude. Deprived of patience. Deprived of energy. Deprived of tolerance for crying, noise, needs, everything. I had a hard time doing anything; being a mom, taking care of myself, getting together with friends, being nice. I called my doctor’s office and sobbed my way through asking for help. I am crying now to remember the most wonderful receptionist who after I told her why I needed help said; “Oh sweetie, come in right now. We are going to help you get through this, okay?”. And thankfully they did help. I found a good prescription for me and I remember the day that I noticed the difference…like everything just got easier, lighter, bearable. A breathed a huge sigh of relief that the “train had finally arrived in the station”. I am so grateful because I know that for many other people, finding relief from depression is a much more complicated and frustrating road.
I have been heartbroken again and again when I hear stories of veterans returning from war (a month ago or 40 years ago) suffering with depression, PSTD, addiction, and what must be such a huge culture shock to return to “normal” life. According to multiple articles I found, it is estimated that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Seriously. That is a horrible, horrible tragedy. Consider the ripple effect of those deaths…the parents, spouses, children. Ugh.
If you have been depressed or have loved someone who is depressed, you know that it is high near impossible to “do” anything to make it better. It’s miserable to watch someone you love suffer when you can’t take the pain away, convince them how much you love them, or give them a new vision of the world. You just have to keep showing up. And keep showing up. And offer all your love, resilience, hope, and presence.
This Monday is President’s Day and for some reason that means that lots of people get the day off. I say let’s put the day off to good use. Let’s support the veterans in our community and around the country by directing all our resilience, hope, LOVE and some money to them. We’ll meet at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Prospect & Devonshire), 9 -10:15 a.m. for a donation only YogaLoveRaiser class, with all of the money going to support the important work of Wounded Warrior Project.
Bring your own mat and some money (checks to Wounded Warrior Project or cash and I will write a big check) as a small sign of the courage, hope, and love you are sending their way.
Gathering together to practice yoga and send out such love changes something inside your own spirit, I’m pretty sure. I think it’s as close to a vaccine against the cold and lonely dreariness of February as the world could come up with. Practicing yoga together, with a group of people sending out so much love and hope…it’s a pretty amazing space to be in. Don’t miss it. We need your fierce love, hope, and resilient spirit.
If you are on Facebook go to the Daily Bread Yoga FB page and let me (and everyone else) know you are coming on Monday morning on the event post. And if you don’t live in Chambanlandia or just can’t be there that morning, you can practice with us wherever you are – sign in on the event and tell us that you will Show Up, in spirit, to support veterans and all of us. Be part of this raising up of LOVE.
Much peace, courage, hope, and LOVE on your head today,