Today's Everyday Goddess is near and dear to my heart. A few months ago, when I ran my Self-Love Toolkit, Livia journaled each and every day on her blog. A family friend of hers approached me at our gym one day and shared with me her writings, leaving me in awe of her thoughtfulness and radiant positivity. Since then, I've been grateful to call Livia my friend and inspiration. I admire her in so many ways, and I know you will, too. Here is her story in her own words.
"I realized that the stress and unhappiness I had felt for so long was not my fault, and it was not permanent. I began to get the help that I needed, but had been so scared to ask for, and I began a long journey toward recovery."
Who are you?
My name is Livia Doporto. I’m currently a senior in high school, a regular at Just Be Yoga, and I’m working towards getting my yoga teaching certification. Even though I currently have lots of happiness in my life, I have also faced a lot of struggles. When I was 15 years old I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I grew up facing these mental illnesses undiagnosed. When I was a child I was constantly stressed out. You could very rarely see me with a smile on my face, even though I was a really goofy kid. As I got older my stress turned to anger. I was angry about constantly feeling unhappy and anxious. I worried everyday that I would never find a solution to my unhappiness, and that I would have to live the rest of my life with deep anxiety and anger. When I was 15, I hit a very dark place in my life. I was unable to go to school because of how stressed out and unhappy I would become during the eight hour days. I was having lots of struggles socially, with friends and feeling confident enough to meet others. I was still very unhappy with how I felt, and angry with the life that I was given. I tried to kill myself in the middle of my sophomore year of high school. Living through that dark time has changed my life however. After my attempted suicide I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and Depression. I realized that the stress and unhappiness I had felt for so long was not my fault, and it was not permanent. I began to get the help that I needed, but had been so scared to ask for, and I began a long journey toward recovery.
How did you find yoga? What impact has it had on your life?
A huge part of my recovery has been yoga. I’ve always loved exercise, but I never found a sport or activity that I really connected with. My mom suggested that I take a yoga class, so I went to a Vinyasa Flow class at Yoga Works. The class was hard, and a good workout, but I felt like something was missing. I researched studios, and decided to go check out Just Be. As soon as I walked into the studio I felt welcomed. I took a Vinyasa Flow class with Misha, and completely fell in love with the studio. Since then I have been addicted to yoga. The practice of yoga has taught me so much about how I can control my own happiness, but more importantly, I’ve met an entire community of people who have helped me become the person I want to be. I’ve never felt more loved and supported by a group of people, and so many of the Just Be members have shown me that I am worthy of living a happy life.
"So often I felt like I was the only person in the world experiencing anxiety and depression, but I know now that so many others are struggling as well. I want young people to be able to read my blog and see that they will be ok and to hopefully pick up some skills for recovery."
What changes in yourself are you the most proud of?
I am most proud of my recent recovery efforts I’ve made in my life. Since my diagnosis I have changed a lot of things in my life. I’ve started eating healthier, working out almost everyday, going to yoga as much as possible, and eliminating things that make me unhappy. I’ve also tried to live more mindfully. I’m constantly trying to talk to myself with more positivity, which has made the way I talk to others more positive as well. I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it. When I feel my anxiety building, I turn to my support systems. I am especially proud of the goals I’ve set recently. Attending a four year college, becoming a yoga teacher, starting a yoga club for my high school. I am finally looking forward to my future, and creating some achievable and exciting goals.
Tell us about your blog and how it came to be (and who it can help!)
I’ve also recently started a blog! I’ve always enjoyed writing, and have used it to express a lot of my anxiety throughout my life. I’ve been filling up journals since I learned how to write. Because writing has been such a huge part of my life I decided that I wanted to use it to help others, and help myself. On my blog I write about how I’ve dealt with my anxiety, and the struggles that I’ve gone through. My goal is to show others going through what I’ve gone through that they are not alone. So often I felt like I was the only person in the world experiencing anxiety and depression, but I know now that so many others are struggling as well. I want young people to be able to read my blog and see that they will be ok and to hopefully pick up some skills for recovery. I also want to help reduce the stigma around mental illness. For a long time I was too scared to tell people what I was dealing with in fear of being judged. But that fear of sharing my experiences was what created a lot of hard times in my life. So many people struggle silently out of fear of what others will think, so removing the stigma from all mental illnesses is very important to me. If you’re interested in learning more about me or reading about someone who has been through the thick of a mental illness, you can check out my blog at livwithgrace.net.
"At the yoga studio I feel like I can be who I truly am, and I’m working on being comfortable enough to be myself no matter where I am."
Describe the fearlessly authentic you.
The fearlessly authentic me is goofy, kind, loves to laugh, loves to read and write, and is learning how to fearlessly be myself. At the yoga studio I feel like I can be who I truly am, and I’m working on being comfortable enough to be myself no matter where I am. Spreading positivity and making others laugh are goals I try to accomplish everyday. Being fearlessly authentic is something I admire in anyone who is unafraid to be themselves.