Standing in mountain pose, after working and moving my body in yoga. I feel in to the quiet within. Call down in to those reserves. Feeling the strength within me, stretching all the way down to my feet. Feeling the connection with the earth through my soles. Feeling the energy of the pose, standing tall and still like a mountain.
The quiet of my mind and the strength in my body. In my mind’s eye, I see the rocky structure: snow and clouds, sunshine and shadows.
And it strikes me: what it is to climb our own mountains, those which lie within.
To suffer from mental illness or emotional distress is to become stuck, low, in the deepest, darkest valley. Shadowy and dim. Cold. Oppressive. Stranger to the sun.
The only way out is to climb. It can feel insurmountable. The path stretching inhospitable and treacherous, up the vast rocky structure towering over you. To climb the mountain seems impossible. There is no guarantee of success. But, what is the alternative?
So we climb. Moving slowly through each step, each challenge, each gain. Healing from mental health issues or recovering from emotional distress is rarely a straight path.
But moving through it, climbing out of it, not only brings us to a place where we can say ‘I am healed’.
There is more to it than that. Having experienced the depths of darkness brings us a new understanding of light.
If we are able to view our experiences as a vehicle of transformation it is possible for it to bring us a richer understanding of what it is to be human, with it a deeper resonance of empathy. Emotional transformation comes from this. While the journey can be difficult, it is worth it.
I am no stranger to mental illness. Anxiety, depression, grief and loss, substance abuse and more. It has affected people I love, taken family and friends from me. It has affected me personally.
My personal connection with mental illness is one of the reasons I choose to work with people who are suffering, either from mental illness or from other emotional distress. I understand suffering, because I too have suffered.
Being witness as someone sits with their pain, moves through it and is transformed by it is what I consider my highest honour in this life. So I’m am grateful for my experience. Having stood atop my own mountain, having been touched by despair, has brought me to this point.
I am not here to climb your mountain for you.
No one else can do this work but you. But, I can walk by your side. I can sit with you as you sit in your pain.
I can be witness to your journey.
Anna McMullen has nearly a decade of experience working with patients suffering from mental illness.
She loves working with patients who seek relief from anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. She offers gentle, compassionate care in the form of acupuncture, Chinese medicine, Heart Centred Coaching and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).
Anna has clinic locations in Mitcham and Mornington, and would love to hear from you if you are in need of some support.