A Guest Post by Yulia Sauter
My family was rather dysfunctional. My dad gave up on his dreams to become a sports reporter really young in order to take over his father’s business, which was expected. He married my mom and I believe they were very much in love at the beginning. My dad became more and more frustrated and turned into a full-on alcoholic: he started to cheat on my mom and lost every single dollar of a rather large family business and inheritance.
My mother left him shortly after, and tried to find someone else to take care of her, as she had never worked in her life, and didn’t really know what to do with herself.
As my parents journey continued to be very painful, and my brother didn’t live at home anymore cause he was eight years older, I decided to go to boarding school when I was 14. I stayed there for a couple of years with catholic nuns and a whole bunch of even more traumatized children, who experimented with drugs because they all felt neglected and lost. At the age of 16 I got my own apartment and began to “officially” live on my own.
My husband and I met in our thirties. We both owned a condo in the most fun and “happening” part of Calgary at the time. He was a very down-to- earth man that was brought up in the prairies. Our love was a whirlwind and we partied and enjoyed life quite a bit. After a while reality set in, and slowly both of our baggages that was carefully hidden, started to surface as it usually happens in relationships. And as it also often happens, we believed that we were each other’s saviour… that finally the right person showed up to bring out the best in us, fully understands us, and makes us feel healthy and happy.
The reality of course looked quite a bit different, as nobody can really do “your work” and make you happy. There was so much work to do, and it always seemed much easier in the past to just leave and try again with someone else.
Well we didn’t this time. We dealt with addiction issues, fear of abandonment and a whole bunch of other scary stuff, but it wasn’t really till my husband had a very intense colitis flare up, that our life changed.
The flare up caused major complications, and he was in and out of the hospital for a full year during my whole pregnancy with our second son. There were a couple of near death situations, which were incredible scary at the time. I just kept going like a robot, being the strong mother bear with one child and another one on the way.
My husband survived and recovered just in time for our baby boy’s birth. He was so weak that I had to take care of the newborn mostly by myself, because he needed time to recover, especially the good night sleeps.
I woke up one morning and realized I had nothing left to give. I felt completely empty and drained and starred at the wall. I didn’t know why I lived and why I would have to even get out of bed. It was scary to say the least: I finally had everything that I asked for. My husband had recovered and both my children were doing well. I didn’t understand what was going on, and felt incredibly un-thankful.
I went to see a doctor and she prescribed me anti-depressants. Unfortunately, they had the opposite effect on me of what they are intended for. I now became suicidal, and my husband suggested to go immediately back to the doctor and come up with a new plan. Nothing seemed to work, so the new idea was something completely different and “out of the box”.
I tried doing yoga. I started doing it every day, and wasn’t really too fond of it in the beginning. An amazing friend introduced me to it and convinced me to continue. Slowly it grew on me, even though I didn’t quite see yet what the big deal was, till one day it happened: I started feeling better. A lot better. What was later diagnosed as a mix of postpartum depression and PTSD had vanished.
In order for us to feel our best we need to make time for self-care, whatever that looks like for us: running, biking, yoga, baking… we need to nourish our body with healthy food, most of the time. And not feel guilty when we don’t. We need to become aware of our thought patterns and what they do to us, we need to check in with our stress level and again: being 100% honest with ourself. And then begin to completely accept ourself, forgive ourself and really take care of ourself, so that we can find true joy in our life.
I feel very blessed, and I continue my journey of mental wellness every single day. I believe every step of my path brought me a bit closer to where I am today- especially the darker times. I want to share my story with other people, because I truly believe that it is my life’s purpose: offering tools for people to manage their mental and physical health, and finding joy in everyday life.
About the Author:
Yulia Sauter is a certified yoga instructor, holistic health coach and founder of Mind with Matter - an online wellness community, inspired by her personal journey towards health. She wants to make powerful tools easily accessible to everyone who is ready to take the next step on their journey towards mental and physical well-being. Yulia lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two boys.
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