Opt for Life.

“If you are going through hell, keep going."
 - Winston Churchill

A couple of weeks ago I shared in an Instagram post about my two attempts at suicide after learning of Kate Spade's death. I was a bit rocked by someone so successful leaving this existence on their own clock. It seemed somehow wrong that she wanted out. Yet, I knew from experience how lonely, sad, and empty she must have felt. We truly don't know how much suffering people are holding on to or the depths of which they live in their life and mind. 

I felt a bit compelled to share because it was - and still is sometimes - something hard for me to speak about. I never shared the first attempt with anyone for years. I felt ashamed and sad that it took place but I think because I never reconciled that experience within me - it remained latent. Ready to show it's face again and I allowed the door to stay open. That occurred in Los Angeles in 2002. I was on vacation driving from San Jose to LA to Las Vegas via Highway 1. This was my first California experience which, if I can make light on this very heavy subject, I made it noteworthy. 

After my second attempt in DC in 2008, I realized I needed to figure out what was going on because the pain and suffering I felt I knew deep down was not real. It was real but I somehow allowed it to be enhanced and I became a martyr for something that I could only see. 

I had many folks reach out in all forms after that Instagram post. Although I had been open about my second suicide since becoming a health coach, yoga teacher and a writer, I had not shared recently and never publicly about my first attempt. I didn't want people to look at me and see me as someone shaky, vulnerable or sad. But in light of folks wanting to shy away from sharing vulnerable parts of their lives of depression, anxiety, bi-polarism etc. due to a stigmatism, I have recently wanted people to see all my flaws, all my insecurities, all my pain points. That this life is a work-in-progress.

And many folks have reached out to see if I am ok but also many have shared their experience in their own attempt, or shared their desire to, or had someone commit it or just be super curious about it. Also people are curious about how sad I was in the moment or leading up to it and people feel comfortable to talk to me about Kate Spade's and Tony Bourdain's suicide - which stung me as well.

And that is exactly what I wanted to happen. I wanted people to feel ok to be open about something very personal. That they are perfectly imperfect like their yoga teacher/health coach/writer/regular person who is working to be themselves. All of this is like an excavation. I am an excavation site in the most beautiful way. Yet, I am still very much alive. I am here. I am not in the past. There is nothing like this beautiful moment. We all have the tools to keep digging for our truth. 

The other beautiful part of sharing about my attempts and depression is that I know things can shift in me if I don't pay attention and I now have a lot of tools to share with people on how to heal. The next questions from people have been, "how can one stop feeling that way?" or "how do you balance yourself now?" 

My answers are that I ask for help, I do yoga, I rest, I read, I try to connect to a source higher than me, I eat well, I drink less alcohol or not at all, I try to watch things that inspire me, that lift me, I listen to music, I hang out with friends, I talk with family on the phone, I donate time or money, I have conversations with strangers, I stop and smell the roses, I move my body, I get quiet, I get acupcunture, I work on things that wake me, I have a therapist, I write. I reach for my truth. I do a lot. 
 

The beauty in this one life we have now is we get this chance to bring strength into ourselves. We get to create it. It is a slow and steady process but we do get to build it. 


I do want to say that before, during, and after my attempts, I was on anti-depressants. I needed them for acute pain but I knew that eventually I'd need to go off or wean off of them when I knew I was stable - which was a 2-year tapering period. But it was during that period that I increased my yoga practice to A LOT and self-practice at home, I finished my degree, I started running marathons and I became a veggie/vegan experimenting with my diet for peak performance. 

I am constantly taking action for life versus non-life meaning I opt for activity versus inactivity. I want to walk or read instead of stay on the couch and watch TV (movies are different). I know my boundaries. My potential lay in me being my best and being the best to me. We all have that potential within us. I do want to caution that my story and history is very different from yours but I fully believe that we do have the answers within us. You learn how to listen to your intuition and build that intuition muscle more and more every time you say "yes" to it even though it doesn't make sense in that moment.

I am here to speak with you about it if you need an ear. The best way is to keep connecting even if you want to fade away or stay at home.

Stay physically connected to people, like me! I am around most weekends watching movies - you can join me! Plus, I have one more "Refine Your Asana" workshop and two bookclubs coming up. See below. You can always come to class! I am here!

Much love!
- jess

Refine Your Asana: 4-Weeks of Focused Study
Last one this Saturday June 23
1:30 - 3:30 PM
 The Yoga Shala
$25/session

Yogi Book Club
Next Book: The Upanishads

Sunday June 24th
5-6PM
dupont circle yoga   FREE

Jessica Sandhu