My name is Guy Espley-Wilkes, and in 2015, I decided to get sober after so many years of being trapped in a toxic cycle of alcohol and substance abuse. My mind, body and spirit were broken. Spiritual and emotional bankruptcy led to the belief that taking my own life was my only option if I were to find peace. This being the stark reality and seeing how comfortable I was with suicide being an option…I came to a realisation that I wasn’t going to accept that outcome as the end of my story in this life. With that, I made the decision to seek help and began the journey of understanding, introspection and clarity.
In 2014, the conversation surrounding mental health shifted – it became less of a stigma to openly talk about issues that were never spoken of before. Books and shows such as ‘13 Reasons Why’ pulled the door wide open when it came to talking about the rollercoaster of emotions that makes up depression.
And truth be told, the journey to get better has never been easy. The going gets tough, quite often. So grounding myself is a daily responsibility. In doing so, I acknowledge how I’m feeling. The practice itself, helps me come to a place of acceptance that it’s okay not to be okay.
As cliche as it sounds, you’ve probably heard this from plenty of Wellness gurus and coaches. But journaling, meditation and breathwork practices work. Not only are these exercises I use in real time for relief and grounding, but it truly helps to put things in perspective.
Lately, breathwork has been a lifesaver in regulating my nervous system in times of anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, and that is when I analyse how I’m talking to myself in those moments. If the self-talk is becoming negative, I do my best to break the cycle through exercises centred around gratitude.
That is when I decided to help others with a project that is close to my heart. It’s inspired by two words, both respectively in Thai and Pali. “Prakay” means light/ignite/spark in Thai, and the word “Kaya” translates to the body. Prakaya Wellness stemmed from our own mental and spiritual health journeys. We are privileged individuals with access to mental health support during our darkest days. Our spiritual teachers, therapists, coaches, and supportive communities ignited our healing paths. We want to pay it forward by passing on the tools, knowledge and wisdom through our work at Prakaya to ignite the light within those struggling with internal challenges.
Being on this journey is not without its misconceptions, a lot of people who see us practice and advocate for the cause think that we must have it all together and know exactly what we’re doing all the time. The reality is, this just isn’t the case.
I am far from having everything figured out, and there are still days when all I want to do is isolate myself, listen and feed into self-destructive thoughts and anxiously avoid all responsibilities. The process of mental and emotional well-being is just that, a process. It is made up of peaks and valleys, lightness and darkness. The relief and clarity, however, come from the consistency of the practices you do for yourself. A question I ask myself is: How willing are you on a daily basis to take responsibility for how you’re feeling and showing up in the world?
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Note: If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts please contact your emergency hotlines.