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