5 Minutes a Day, by guest blogger Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe

I went to see my psychiatrist a few weeks ago for the sole purpose of having her increase my anti-depressants. I walk in confidently, sit down and tell her, "I need to up my medication. I have been depressed. I think I need the change." 

She smiles and says, "How is your yoga going?"

Shit, I think.

I then respond, "Well, I'm not motivated to do yoga, so I can't really do it. I think a higher dose of the meds would help me get motivated so that I could once again do yoga, and not just think about doing it."

My thoughts then rapidly go to our last session when she informed me that I should be getting a minimum of 9 to 13 servings of vegetables a day. She actually stuck to that outrageous number, even after I gently reminded this well-trained MD that the pyramid thing only says 5 to 6 per day, and that number also includes delicious fruits. Whatever. 

Fortunately she didn't ask me how that part of my life was going, but she did say: "Here is what I want you to do. Get out your yoga mat every day and just sit in child's pose for 5 minutes a day. Do you think you could do that?"

Now I'm not thinking shit, I'm thinking  the f-word because this is not what I want to hear. I want more medication. I don't want to have to do anything other than swallow a tiny pill with a cool glass of water. And, my not eating 9 servings, or even 5 servings, of veggies per day and my not doing yoga seems to be going just fine. But I pay her way to much too not follow at least some of her advice. I then quickly realize that not doing yoga and not eating my veggies isn't actually going fine at all. That is why I am sitting in front of her.  So I say, "Yes, I can try and do that." 

She is still smiling when she says, "You know, there is research out there that has shown that doing just one hour of yoga a week can greatly and positively alter the make-up of the brain." 

I say, "I do believe all of that. I am just one of those people that feel like I have to do all of it or none of it, so I tend to quit before I start. I've never honestly thought about just doing 5 minutes a day. I will try."

I am trying and I have had some success. I've actually been able to do a lot more than 5 minutes most days and I've even included poses other than the blessed child pose. 

But here is the deal. Although my meds weren't upped, I am still on them because one thing I know, and so does my psychiatrist, is that no meds doesn't work for me. I have tried and tried and tried to do the med-less recovery. I go to therapy regularly. I do yoga (sometimes). I've tried essential oils, rigorous non-yoga exercise routines, trusted God, and a whole slew of other "remedies." While all of those things have helped, they've never been quite enough.

Going to see my psychiatrist the other day helped to remind me that just taking meds isn't quite enough either. Although they might make me feel better, it's not what will provide the healing my body and soul is longing for. It also reminded me that healing is a process, a life-long one. I'm not going to magically wake up one day and no longer have depression, much like a diabetic isn't going to wake up one day and feel 100% better for the rest of her life just because she is on insulin. Yet, at the same time, that insulin is absolutely necessary. 

Depression will come and go. And, I need the depression sometimes. I need it as a reminder that the opposite of depression isn't feeling good all the time. The opposite of it, for me, is learning to live with it in a way that helps me to see the light on the other side and to trust that the light is always there. I just have to be willing to not quit before I start by simply looking for it for 5 minutes a day. I can do that.

 

Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe
Read her blog, "Not So Supermom" at www.notsosupermomjq.com