In Part I I detailed the progression of my depression over the last three years. Here in Part II I’ll pick up at a rock bottom moment, and outline many of the tools that have and continue to help me.

Early Summer 2020 was catastrophic for the entire world. Globally, we were “recessed”: the economy was down, we were still inside, and there was no end in sight. Researchers say the historic rate of daily change, which led to an inability to look forward to things and future-plan, likely landed us in a collective state of depression.

Metaphorically a rock…

What I learned watching the slow development of my depression.

Photo by Ian on Unsplash

I started thinking about writing this post in 2018. I hadn’t yet Googled “signs of depression”.

I thought about writing this post again in 2019. This time I mustered the courage to use the internet, and it surfaced a bulleted list of a depressed person’s symptoms. I aligned with 7/9, aside from only the most extreme. I started typing but didn’t have the motivation.

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for almost all of 2020. But these days I wake up paralyzed and sort of just wait, until I…

Spoiler alert: you don’t need a mat.

Photo by Conscious Design on Unsplash

When people learn I’m a yoga teacher they start to share all sorts of self-deprecating details like, “I haven’t been able to see my toes in a decade” or “I know I should try yoga but I’m just so busy”. What I feel immediately responsible to share in return is that I haven’t been their vision of a yogi in years: that creature who spends hours each day floating around on a mat.

Western culture has taken what it likes most from an ancient practice— postures, known as asana—and pumped the brakes. No shade to the movement we’ve come to…

I’m pretty sure it was all the pink that had me drawing parallels. Surrounded by hundreds on bikes in pink shirts, riding through the streets of Manhattan yesterday, I had flashbacks to January 21, 2017.

That Saturday was a bright, cold winter day that drew 1–2% of the American population to the streets. My mom came in from New Jersey. Girlfriends and I made signs and traveled in packed subways from Brooklyn to Midtown. Friends in Chicago and San Francisco and DC did the same. It was the largest single-day protest in the history of protests. …

Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

“Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria?” was in my Amazon cart for 18 months at the start of quarantine. I lost my job, so I figured I finally had the time and clicked Check Out. I didn’t yet know the irony of using Amazon — a service, like most others, that perpetuates White privilege — to learn about White privilege. It sat unread for a couple of weeks after it arrived.

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack lived in an open tab on my computer for the whole month of April. I must’ve glanced at…

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

There’s something of a trope that’s developed about doing yoga.

“I’ve never felt worse after a yoga class” people say as they convince themselves to go.

For years this was true for me. I had a coworker who told me she could always tell when I’d gone—or hadn’t—to yoga class before work, just by the tone of my voice.

But at some point it wasn’t true anymore. There came a time when I did feel worse after class. I’d walk away angrier than when class began, frustrated from wasting an hour with my judgmental mind. Unsatisfied with the way my…

Photo by Jeff Tumale on Unsplash

One night in late March, on a newly-instituted nightly family Zoom, my dad cracked a mischievous smile.

“Hey,” he interjected. “I heard something really funny this morning. Michael [friend] told me that all the kids are moving home. Can you believe it?”

We were a couple of weeks into the pandemic and his statement really pissed me off. My parents live in Teaneck, NJ, an original epicenter of the coronavirus here in the US. …

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

When I think about the most honest thing that’s happening for me right now, it’s this: I have no idea what the fuck I’m supposed to be doing.

One minute I romanticize the life and work I had before. The freedom to create my own schedule, the fresh air and thousands of steps I get criss-crossing New York City between studios and appointments every day, the life-affirming connection I have with my students and clients. …

“It’s the end of the beginning,” Governor Cuomo said Monday, quoting Winston Churchill. Minimizing the spread of corona virus over the past five weeks has required a colossally different approach than we as a society have ever before employed.

It’s required us to think about each other, constantly.

As we move beyond the beginning of this new life we have two choices: to gather the mindset that has gotten us here and take it with us, or to leave it behind and risk losing our progress.

This is the mindset we must take forward.

When What Spreads Kills

I’ve made it thirty-two years on…

When I was 27 I decided to try group therapy.

“Why are you interested in being here?” Dr. Jones asked me during an intake interview. Therapists carefully construct their groups — taking pains to choose just the right collection of humans to mimic a safe but challenging real-life microcosm.

“I want to understand how other people see me. I know myself really well, but I don’t know what other people think of me.” (Spoiler alert: LOL)

This was June 2015. Just a month and a half later my situation would change drastically and I’d embark upon the most transformative year…

Joanna Cohen

student, always.

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