Carlos B. (Gravesend, East London, UK) - Recovering from Drug addiction, Chronic depression and despair
I ﬁrst met Satish ﬁve years ago having returned to England in a bad way. Having ostensibly been living an exciting and adventurous life, living in different countries and working varying occupations for more than a decade, my relationship in Australia ended painfully and I was forced into facing my addiction to alcohol. In a matter of months my entire life seemed to fall apart. In the absence of alcohol I was consumed by an unbearable intensity of emotional pain every day, from the moment I woke up. Friends and family who knew me as mostly positive and happy, (albeit often inebriated), didn’t know how to respond to this sudden change in my personality, consumed by desperation and despair. I felt the people in my life begin distancing themselves from me (partly real, but perhaps partly imagined, as I grew insecure and paranoid). I was unable to hang out, drink beer and have fun anymore, becoming incredibly anxious, depressed and isolated instead. Crucially though, I was no longer able to avoid traumatic emotions associated with my adolescence that I had ﬂed for nearly two decades and from which I had taken refuge in drugs and booze, relationships and sex.
After a relapsing into alcohol, having been living with my brother and attending AA meetings for three months, I ﬂew back to England. Living with my dad at 33 years of age, heavily medicated on anti-depressants and antianxiety medication and relapsing every few months, I was unable to even go into a supermarket or carry out simple tasks without being overwhelmed by feelings of pain and fear. I felt like my life was over, and thoughts of suicide became a viable possibility. It was at this point that a very dear friend from my childhood invited me to a yoga exposition in central London. Deciding it wasn’t for me, my emotional discomfort had me searching for an escape route to somewhere I might consume caffeine and nicotine, when I encountered Satish. His frank and disarming explanation of Vishaad yoga fanned a ﬂickering of hope inside of me, which I had long thought to be extinguished, and a belief that I might get better yet.
I began working with Satish in regular one-to-one sessions. Previously, I had been met with grave concern by the various health professionals I had encountered, ﬁlling me with trepidation for my prognosis. Satish’s conﬁdence in my recovery, however, responding to my question as to whether I’ll ever be well again with a cheerful “Absolutely”, felt as though it was itself sufﬁcient to kickstart the process of healing my mind and body. I will always remember that his very ﬁrst instruction was for me to stop listening to my head! His unconventional and light-humoured approach belied a deep wisdom and compassion that treated my suffering very seriously. He was able to perceive its underlying cause and target it directly. Satish has a natural ability to convey potentially obscure ideas with clarity and presented what I might have considered abstraction, as common sense. His careful explanation of a Vedic theory of mind provided a sound understanding upon which to develop a pranayama practice, tailored speciﬁcally to unblock the emotional and mental stagnation speciﬁc to my condition.
I began practising the techniques Satish taught me every morning and was very soon ﬂooded by a deep sense of gratitude, replacing the ingrained cycles of negative thinking and self-pity. The painful emotional impact these cycles had had on my body gradually began to subside, and I realised I had an opportunity to live a life far more satisfying than anything I had experienced while I was living in active addiction. Five years on I continue to refrain from relying on destructive behavioural patterns to manage difﬁcult emotions. I continue to practice yoga and pranayama. I ran a marathon, two half-marathons, and completed an olympic distance triathlon. I started painting, writing, and three years ago returned to college. I am in a loving relationship and have just returned from a surf trip in northern Spain, before returning next week to a prominent university to complete the ﬁnal year of my degree.
I cannot say if any of this would have been possible had I not met Satish at that crucial time in my life, whose generosity of wisdom and knowledge, provided me with the ability to transform my life.