About Svasti

goldfish swimmingWhat does Svasti mean?

Svasti (Swa-sti) is a Sanskrit word that translates roughly as “blessings” or “offerings” and is related to the word “swaha” (offering myself to my Self).

About me

I’m a 40 year old woman living in Australia. I started this blog as a way to deal with the mess created in my life by a single incident of violent physical assault on the 29th September 2005.

[To get a shorthand version of my story, you can view the crib notes page - a shortlist of events ordered by date.]

The aftermath of that night included the onset of depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), nightmares, panic and anxiety attacks, as well as a complete loss of faith in myself and who I thought I was. For the longest time, it was the end of happiness in my life.

To make matters worse, I attempted to keep the devastation under wraps for several years and hide what a mess I really was from friends, family and workmates. I foolishly thought I could just wait it out, and eventually the pain would pass.

Which is simply not wise, because PTSD and depression aren’t like broken bones, or even a broken heart. If you don’t treat them, they get worse and life becomes increasingly unmanageable.

I didn’t get the help I desperately needed for years, not until my body interfered by sending me messages of extreme physical pain. All scans, x-rays and other tests showed there was nothing wrong with me physically, but clearly there was a A LOT wrong in other ways.

I finally sought professional help in early 2008 thanks to the intervention of my intuitive and astute chiropractor. Most interestingly, once I’d decided to get the help I needed the physical pain I experienced vanished almost completely and instantly.

My sanity checks

I’m a writer (hence the blog); a Hatha yoga teacher; a novice poet; a cyclist with no car; former professional belly-dancer, and proud aunty.

I’ve been an initiate of a traditional Shaivite/Tantrik lineage since 2001, which means that my musings here often have a spiritual flavour.

In 2009 I completed a diploma in Hatha Yoga Teacher Training and teaching yoga is becoming increasingly important to my life.

These days, I’m winning…

Guess what? It is possible to heal from PTSD and depression.

I’ve done it without once taking any medication for anxiety or depression. That wouldn’t necessarily work for everyone dealing with mental health issues, and possibly there are times when medication might’ve made my life a little easier.

Regardless, I’m on the other side of a nightmare I never thought I’d escape – which is proof that anyone can do it.

In this blog I’ve written about some of my experiences in therapy. Most of it was talk/cognitive behavioural therapy. But I hit the ceiling with that approach after I’d done a lot of good work clearing away the detritus and rubble.

Possibly, that might have happened because my fears were wordless, and because I’m very visually oriented.

What ended up working for me was EMDR therapy and miraculously so. Within six sessions, most of my PTSD symptoms had vanished. My last session was February 2009 and to date; I’m still 100% free of the debilitating flashbacks I once lived with every day.

Depression has been a little harder to kick. These days I have it almost completely under control. My tools for managing that are: a regular yoga practice, kinesiology, riding my push bike, walking, dancing, kirtan (chanting), laughter and writing.

I’ve recently managed to get rid of the physically painful panic and anxiety attacks I used to experience. Believe it or not, I did this by taking a supplement called L-Tyrosine which is an amino acid.

Basically after five years of very hard work and a great deal of self-reflection and honesty, life is looking up!

But…

In the early part of 2011, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder – Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Which is a result of adrenal exhaustion, which is caused by an overload of stress.

No one really explains this to you when you’re trying to deal with PTSD, but taking care of your physical health is just as important as your mental/emotional health. If you have PTSD, you need nutritional support because all of that stress is sapping your energy and a whole host of nutrients in your body. Your liver is being over-taxed and so is your immune system. Heck, even your brain and DNA are affect by PTSD.

So, now I’m working on re-building my physical health because I refuse to just take medication for the rest of my life, if I can help it! So I’m continuing my kinesiology work as I personally think it’s way more effective than talk therapy.

The path to healing is…

Individual.

What works for me might not work for another person. But then again, it might.

No matter what happened to you or what ills you’ve had to live through, if you’re in pain then you have a chance to heal. That is, if you’re willing to put in some very hard yards.

The journey is far from straight forward – as I’ve documented in my blog – and it’s harder than you can imagine to kick your pain, grief, and trauma.

It’s worth it, though. The rewards include freedoms you can’t imagine when trapped in the fortress you’ve built to keep yourself safe. Thing about those fortresses is that eventually the same walls that protect you, start to shrink and threaten to choke you – but it doesn’t have to be that way.

However, there’s only one person who can make it happen. You!

Original blog intent vs current

I started writing this blog out of desperation.

I’d stifled my grief, pain, fear and sadness for such a long time. I really needed a place to express what happened because for a long time I couldn’t talk about it, not even to myself.

Through writing this blog, therapy, mediation, yoga and much self-inquiry, I’ve come to realise that the night I was assaulted did not occur in a vacuum.

And so, I find myself writing about events from earlier in my life, too. My childhood and turbulent teen years which resulted in a very damaged self-image and incredibly poor self-esteem. Issues I’d labelled as water under the bridge.

I can see how all these events allowed me to reach my own personal ground zero. And as bad as it was, I can now say that I’m grateful for the wake up call.

No more can I pretend that certain experiences were acceptable. Nor do I want to.

So this blog is not just about assault, abuse, trauma, depression and PTSD. It’s about taking stock of my life holistically and making decisions that lead to physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

And as I move forward, this blog is also about the choices I’m making to follow my gut instincts and the desires of my heart – the only way I believe I can truly change my life for the better.

Advertising offers

I get a LOT of emails from people asking if I accept paid guest posts, or if I’d be willing to create links in certain posts to external sites for money.

The answer is NO. Not this blog.

Svasti is a personal and private space. I don’t try to attract a huge audience – I write for me and for those people who resonate with what I have to say.

Freelance writing offers

If however, you’d like to pay me to write an article(s) for you then I’m interested. I’m a writer, after all, and I’m more than happy to work with a range of topics, as long as its something that interests me.

Contact me

If you’d like to get in touch, you can email me at: svasti108 (a t) gmail (d o t) com

42 thoughts on “About Svasti”

  1. Catatonic Kid said:

    I just wanted to say I think your blog is both beautiful and brave, which is a pretty rare combination. I’m sending my spare helpful, healing vibes your way!

    I also thought you might be interested in a book I read recently, which focuses on healing trauma through the mind-body connection. I’ve found it particularly enlightening, especially as it has confirmed some long held mind/body/spirit connections I’ve had in the back of mind. It’s called ‘Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma’ by Peter A. Levine. It talks about awakening our instinctual capacity to heal, which is a refreshing perspective when dealing with PTSD.

    CK

  2. I hope that you will get further healing from writing from within and releasing the pain anger and sadness x

  3. I’m glad you’ve found the courage to confront the past, the pain, and your deepest fear. May love and peace be with you on your journey towards a full recovery.

  4. In your attempt to unravel the mess of your own life, you have touched the lives of others who are trying to do the same. Together, maybe we will all find peace. That is my wish for all trauma survivors. Peace.

  5. I know I’m going to be here for awhile. I was looking for blogs similar to the direction I’m trying to go in with mine, and I hit a gem here. Definitely inspiring in a way. :D

  6. Thanks Lee – I’ll grab some time over the weekend to check out your blog too.

    Its great of you to drop by and leave a few comments! :)

  7. svasti, I am a survivor of rape and domestic violence, both when I was in college. it DOES get better, believe me!

    shanti!

  8. @linda, thanks for your comment. I believe you – things are starting to shift, thank goodness… in fact I’m beginning to see the world in a whole new light once again.
    Hari Om!

  9. i got here via Rantings and Ramblings – Girl Blue

    jus wanted to say i love ur blog…

    namaste

  10. @TriniAngie – thanks for dropping by. Namaste to you!

  11. hi. i just want to say that I admire your courage and bravery. have a great day :-)

  12. i recently found your blog while looking for yogic inspiration. thank you for sharing your story. your are a beautiful writer, and an inspiration.

    margaret

  13. @Jules – thank you for your sweet compliments :)

    @margaret – wow, its so wonderful to hear from people out of the blue! You guys don’t have blogs I can visit in return? If you do get one, let me know, okay?

  14. I am a survivor of childhood incest. Writing about my incest issues and finding several 12-Step programs where I could talk and talk and talk really helped me to get my life back into my control rather than allowing my anger, pain and fear to rule my life. Since I have “been there, done that” I know that you can too. I won’t say it is easy work. It isn’t. It is the hardest and most rewarding work that I have ever done. There is life after abuse. Have a glorious day.

  15. @Patricia – Yes, writing and talking… over and over again, have proven the path for me, too. I’m not there yet, and I’ve seen the folly in assuming I’m ‘close’ to the end of this path. Perhaps it never ends… just gets easier to live with? I don’t know. But, there’s definitely a way to move forward here, and not let things get worse. :)

  16. hey…I have you on a feed as well…I thought you were already on my blogroll but I was wrong…that has been corrected…

    would love to know more about your med free life…perhaps I need only spend time in your archives?

  17. Thanks for your comments on my blog. Yes, my “steady” (now my husband) was definitely a keeper.
    Your blog is lovely, and I will definitely be back!
    http://www.patnyc.com
    http://www.i-cant-believe-im-not-bitter.com

    • @Pat – Thanks for visiting. Glad he turned from steady to hubby. There aren’t that many great guys in the world! I’ll be checking out your blog again, too :)

  18. I have this award for you.
    Hope you like it.

    http://justana-justana.blogspot.com/2009/04/blogger-award.html

    Have a nice and great day!

    Ana

  19. Devpriya said:

    Hi! Svasti,

    Have been reading your blog for a while. I found the dragon in the header quite attractive. I have learned about symbols and their affect on us and been suggesting symbols to people for different purposes. I have written something about dragon after seeing your blog, and added a link too. hope you don’t mind.

    Love
    Devpriya

  20. Hi,
    Disease.com is currently in the progress of choosing blogs to receive recognition from Disease.com as Top Blogs. This award is not meant to be anything other than a recongnition that your blog gives information about tactics that directly or in directly raise health awareness and prevent the transmition of Disease. Simply place the award banner code on your site and your blog will be listed as a Top Blog on Disease.com. Disease.com is a Private Global Health Watch Group. Whose goal is to promote healthy living though the spread of information globally. Thank you for your dedication to your blog.Please email me back for the award banner.

    Thank you,
    Natasha Alison.

  21. i share your PTSD. Still struggle to get through every day.
    Even the yoga hasn’t worked for a while.
    I have been a teacher for over 20 years now but the mahasamadhi of
    Paramahansa Satyananda has reminded me how amazing he was/is. I remember being at the ashram and feeling his presence everywhere. Those were the days.Good luck to you. I admire you for getting this blog together

    • @Radhaprem - Keep moving forward, because healing from PTSD is possible. Keep going with yoga and seeking the way. You will find it, I’m sure. Thanks for dropping by to comment :)

  22. jodimardesich said:

    Ooh, thanks for reading my blog so that I could find yours! I love honesty and fearlessness in writing, and you so have that. Thank you for sharing your experience. Can’t wait to get some time to read more. xo

  23. Just wanted to say that your blog is beautiful. I’ll come back and read more one day, just at the moment it’s all quite overwhelming.

    You are incredibly brave.

    Lola x

  24. Hi Svasti,

    I’m a yoga teacher and healer. I found your blog thru BC.
    I hope your journey is still going in the right direction. You write beautifully, and I’m sure it’s a true reflection of who you really are.
    Keep up the good work!
    With love,
    Ben

    • @Ben – Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m going well still, hiccups not withstanding, and I’m glad we’ve connected in the blog world! Namaste :)

  25. The courage it takes to confront what happened to you as well as the other factors that affected you early in life is both beautiful and courageous.

    And you are right, healing is individual. What works for you may not work for others but healing also means persistence and wanting to badly to get your footing back, to want your life back where you feel empowered and it’s amazing that you did that.

    For other bloggers like myself who read this post, I have to say, it’s insightful. It opens your eyes to other people. It opens your eyes to yourself and the world that you are in.

    Life can be beautiful after a traumatic event. It can be more than beautiful…it can finally be worth living.

    Thank you and namaste.

    • @Marlo - thank you so much for your lovely and thoughtful comment. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate hearing from people who find that what I write resonates with them. Wishing you all the very best!

  26. There isn’t much I can add to all that the commentors above have said, except that I love that you use a bicycle instead of a car.

    For all the rest, Swaha is just right!

  27. “Svasta” in Sanskrit means “health” or “healthy”.
    Eg: The “health system” in india is called “svasta pranali”. A hospital in india is called “svasta kendra”.

    “Svasti” means someone who strives to remain healthy.

    I’m not trying to challenge your knowledge. It is just some info I wanted to share with you. I hope you have let your past incidents pass with time. Everything passes with time. In a way, it is good because we cannot change back time.

    • Hi Anju,

      Thanks for the additional information. I took my translation from a Sanskrit to English dictionary – but then I also know that Sanskrit words often have more than one meaning. I will update the descriptor soon. :)

      Also, I guess what you’ve told me resonates with what I’m doing with this blog as well.

      Things are definitely passing. Time helps, but sometimes we need to be a little more active than just letting time pass. PTSD can not be healed just with time – it takes therapy to resolve.

      Actually, I need to update this page because things have changed so much again since I wrote the latest update!

      Shanti! :)

  28. Hello Svasti!
    Your blog is full of insight and inspiration!
    I hate to say but… Anuj is wrong. He is speaking about ‘Swasthys’ (स्वास्थ्य) which is about health.
    Your interpretation of your name is correct and appropriate.

  29. Hi Svasti!

    I had stumbled upon your blog sometime back and when i heard this song, I thought of you. I heard it such a long time back and i am sure you know of the band since they are australian. This is one of my all time favorite songs. It is a sad song and I know its contrary to how you have coped, which I so admire :) but I thought of you and so want to send it your way. It does not change that what happened to you was wrong and sad but its what you make of it, and look at you, i dont know you, but so proud of you. Hope you enjoy it.

    wishing you luck and joy.

  30. Hi Svasti,
    I noticed your comments on another blog about insurance as a yoga teacher in Australia… would you mind giving me the name of the company you have gone through and any tips?
    Also, your blog is very inspirational, thank you!
    Love
    Dee

  31. Hi there, FYI…I nominated you for a blogger award. The post is here: http://wp.me/p280GD-4l. Namaste…

  32. I’m so glad to have found your blog! I too have PTSD, and it has really taken its toll on my body. My body cannot deal with medication, and so I really appreciate the natural solutions you discuss on your blog. EMDR has worked for me too in the past, and I love Ayurvedic medicine. I’ll be sure to read through your archives!

    All the best, and I hope you stay well.

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