Emily Katz grew up in three countries, six schools and twenty homes. She was raised by a different nanny each year. “My dad is a textbook narcissist and my mum was a submissive victim. Both of them were emotionally unavailable to me”. As she recalls her childhood, she said she was a hypersensitive, gifted and strong willed child; a combination that led her to crave attention due to her emotional needs, become a rebellious substance abuser, have a very poor sense of self and identity, as well as have extremely low self esteem, respect and self worth.
“In my teens and early twenties I was sexually assaulted and abused more than once. I had a full blown drinking problem by seventeen and managed to overcome a coke habit by myself. At age twenty-two, a very abusive relationship (a prolonged traumatic event) threw me into acute PTSD. Since then therapy, meds, booze and drugs were my norm.”
A few years later, at the age of twenty-seven, Emily went through a divorce. After the divorce she went on a year long bender with someone younger than her who was emotionally unstable. Her decision to end the relationship with him sent him into a downward spiral that eventually resulted in him overdosing. The turning point in Emily’s life was when she found him. He was still alive, and Emily was able to get him treatment. It was then that she realized she need to make a change. She felt the need to be an example for him as well.
“He was like a reflection of me”, she said, “Of who I’d been. It made me confront my behavior. I realized that passing out drunk on the kitchen floor was no life for me. I was relieved to wake up most mornings. Something had to give.” Emily took up yoga and that was the catalyst that changed her life. “It quickly got me to reconnect with myself and within a month or so I went cold turkey and got sober”.
“Once you remove all your vices and crutches like booze and smoking, you are left to confront your feelings and you are no longer numbing yourself. So I started to confront my issues head on. Got a good therapist and started digging deep.” - Emily Katz
Four months later, Emily went back to college to pursue a postgraduate degree. Three months after that, she quit smoking. Soon after, she found herself in a wonderful, accepting and understanding relationship and she is now a healthy, happy mum.
Reflecting on her young adulthood and comparing it to how far she has come today, Emily knows that she couldn’t have overcome her obstacles without fitness and yoga. Referring to her practice, Emily said, “It connected me to myself, got me to listen to my body, to respect it and care for it. I started wanting to feel better, eat healthier and live healthier. For example, yoga is a lot about breathing, and I was a heavy smoker for 15 years at that point, and the yoga made me realize how I could barely breathe; I couldn’t inhale fully, and it really upset me. Within a year I quit smoking. I believe it was the yoga. Once you remove all your vices and crutches like booze and smoking, you are left to confront your feelings and you are no longer numbing yourself. So I started to confront my issues head on. Got a good therapist and started digging deep.”
Now Emily shares her story whenever she can, as she wants to inspire others going through similar issues. The advice she gives to others is simple: “Get a good therapist, find good people to support you and encourage your growth, take up yoga, give it time.” Her goal is to do what she can to help others, and she encourages others to do the same. She says that if you help others work on their self-care, self-respect and self-worth, you will not only help them like themselves more, you will like yourself more. Self-love is vital to healing.
If you would like to contact Emily, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org she would love to hear from you.