Priya Mistry's Story:
Mental health is something I've been struggling with ever since I was on the cusp of being an adolescent.
Being South Asian, only made matters worse. I was creative, progressively so - and even though my parents were very supportive and open-minded, my grandparents lived with us - and they were not very progressive at all.
It was a difficult battle of ideals - too much for a young child to process. This boxed feeling and battle of ideals started to amplify my underlying depression.
I knew I was different than most kids - emotional, eccentric, passionate and melancholic. I rode waves of depression but managed to always keep my head above water because of competitive dance. That was my outlet. My therapy.
Ballet and dance kept me together for so long growing up, that I almost didn't have a chance to even notice just how "different" I actually was... Until I was abruptly forced to stop dancing after investing almost my whole life, 5 days a week into it. It all just stopped. It was all I knew since I was only 3 years old.
Puberty came - way too early - which is why my grandparents influenced my parents to make me stop dancing - I still scratch my head over this one.
All of a sudden - my life spun out of control. The seeds of anger towards our culture were planted at this time, and they've been sprouting ever since. I never knew this would end up affecting my entire life in the future. They took my therapy away, and I was lost ever since.
I still remember the day my parents told me I couldn't go anymore. It was like someone ripped away my life support - and I was struggling just to breathe.
But, I didn't say a word. That was the beginning of me suffering in silence. That was almost 30 years ago.
It is only now - thirty years later that I feel comfortable talking about mental health.
It took me 2 battles with cancer and losing my breasts to cancer to finally hit a complete and utter mental rock bottom - it was then I stepped onto a yoga mat and all the memories of dance came back when I started to move and express myself through my body.
All children (and adults) need an outlet to express themselves creatively - for so many reasons -mental stability is one of them.
Children need to talk, they need to be heard - or they will grow up angry, like me. They will grow up suppressing depression which in turn can start manifesting itself into physical illness like cancer - like I had - twice.
Our minds and bodies are connected. Without dialogue and an outlet for expression, we can become not only mentally ill, but physically ill. It's all psychosomatic.
I have found so much relief with my depression through yoga and dance again.
You're never too old to rekindle a passion. And I can honestly say, that if I didn't step onto that yoga mat almost 5 years ago, I may not be here right now. That's how much despair I was feeling. I just wanted life to stop.
So, whatever outlet you choose to find some inner peace with - embrace it whole-heartedly. Whether it be painting, dancing, music, writing or even just TALKING - do it. It could save your life - I know it did mine.