She had a history of depression. But for the past 17 years she was managing quite
well — or so she thought. Until a series of unforeseen events occurred last fall, creating what her doctor said was “the perfect storm.” This led her to a hospital bed where she spent the next three weeks in treatment, pondering over what she could have done to prevent the severe depression and anxiety she was experiencing.
“I had heart palpitations and my body was shaking. I missed the signs that something was going on. I wasn’t paying attention,” said Julie Thayer; a Yoga teacher, entrepreneur, wife and mom from Uxbridge, ON.
For many years, yoga has been her sacred space. In fact, while she was in the hospital her doctors encouraged her to continue teaching yoga as part of her treatment.
Although she managed to exercise daily during her hospital stay, she wasn’t actually addressing the root of the problem or what was causing her anxiety.
“A lot of people (including myself) pay close attention to their physical health but tend to neglect their mental health. But we need to be more attentive to our inner self,” she said.
As for what transpired over the past few months, Julie believes it happened for a reason. “There is a silver lining in everything. You have to trust that it is leading you to growth.”
In fact, now that she’s back on her feet, she wants to pay it forward by helping others recognize the symptoms of anxiety and depression in themselves or their loved ones.
In the upcoming weeks, she will be providing free yoga on You Tube as a way to be of service to those who may be suffering in silence. She wants to start the conversation around depression, anxiety and mental health while using yoga as a tool. Her goal is to provide a safe space for others to share their stories.
“If I can help just one person, I will be happy,” she added.
Julie believes that women are especially good at wearing “masks” when they need to so that others don’t see what is really going on underneath. This is where Yoga comes in. She says it allows us to create that deep connection with our self, while improving our internal dialogue.
Julie says self-love practices such as “gratitude” are also helpful in the healing process. Personally, she is especially grateful for the amazing, supportive people in her life who helped her through this difficult time without judging her.
She also believes it is important and necessary to take ownership for situations, while also letting go and forgiving yourself in the process. “You can learn the tough lessons in life but then you have to move forward. We are all imperfectly perfect humans,” she says.
Now she is choosing to focus her attention on her purpose or “dharma”. According to Julie, this is where true healing happens — when we are able to learn from our experiences, turn them into gifts and share them with the world. In particular, Julie wishes to support women in becoming champions of their own self-care.
According to Harvard Medical School, anxiety disorders include panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are among the most common mental illnesses, affecting roughly 40 million American adults. A person has an anxiety disorder if she or he has persistent worry for more days than not, for at least several months. Some people with anxiety feel they have always been worriers, even since childhood or adolescence. In other people, anxiety comes on suddenly, triggered by a crisis or a period of stress, such as the loss of a job, a family illness, the death of a relative, or other tragedy.
Click here to learn more about Julie Thayer Yoga and how to get involved with her programs.