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How Yoga Gives me Hope in Fighting My Emotional Incontinence

When I was diagnosed with PCOS at age 18, it didn’t come as much of a surprise. I had grown up overweight, always found myself with a pair of tweezers to pluck unwanted chin hairs, and of course, had hormonal acne… and, like many women with PCOS, was prescribed hormonal birth control to help the symptoms. I found that birth control helped with my physical symptoms, but it was really only a band-aid, especially for the mood problems that many women with PCOS face.

During my entire adolescence, which I am aging out of at my current age of 23, I have been plagued with depression, anxiety, mood swings, and fatigue… leaving me very prone to bouts of anger, judgment, and not feeling motivated. Because of my inability to control my emotions, I’ve always found it very easy to get very upset over small issues and let them bother me until it consumes me. Whether it be a disagreement or a scheduling conflict, I always let life’s problems throw me into a pit of emotional incontinence where I let my feelings control my actions.

By the same token, I have found that I direct my anger very sharply toward whoever I felt was responsible for my problems whether it be a loved one or more recently, a total stranger who rear-ended me in July and set off a laundry list of inconvenience for me. Overall, my emotions weren’t just a part of me but rather the director of my existence.

I found yoga in 2020, and I can tell some parts of me have improved from my practice and YTT, but I do know change is a process that takes years. However, it’s the small sprinkles of change that make me most excited for what is to come, and recently I’ve seen glimmers of hope in changing the way I respond to problems that life often brings.

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a $200 pair of sweats from UGG which was then lost in the delivery process by UPS. The first couple of weeks I was frantically contacting my apartment management, UPS, and UGG in finding the package, eventually being sent to the refund process. I was convinced another resident had stolen the package as UPS leaves boxes in the open when the lockers are already full. I had even promised to confront the person if I found them wearing the outfit I had ordered. I let myself be that upset, and as always, I let it consume me.

It wasn’t until I started to calm down and let the situation pass, that I realized I really had gone against my yoga philosophy in letting materialism and attachment completely destroy my composure. I feel embarrassed to admit it, but realizing it helps me get better, which is essentially what yoga is… to grow and become a better person. I then meditated on what my reaction was, how I let my attachment to materialism influence me, and promised myself to work on my spending habits and desires for luxury items. I let my knowledge of yoga help me to recognize what I was doing wrong and gave myself grace with the intention of redirecting what it was I desired.

Just yesterday, I recanted the story of my July rear-ending accident and what a nightmare of dealing with a rental car and insurance has been, and every time I told that story I end it with “Maybe if that damned person had been paying attention, this wouldn’t have happened!” Once again, letting the anger of the situation keep me attached and controlled. I found myself uttering those same words yesterday, but I spontaneously redirected, took back those words, and expressed sympathy for the other person, and said “I shouldn’t assume they weren’t paying attention, he also had a small child with him. Just glad everybody was okay in the end.”

I shocked myself. I knew at that moment that parts of me were changing. I had given myself hope that I am learning to be less attached to my life’s problems, and be grateful for what went right. It’s a slow lesson and one that takes a lot of faith in my yoga practice, but I am starting to see the effects of my practice being woven into who I am, and for that, I am nothing but grateful.

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