Cassidy seated on the side of a front porch, surrounded by ivy. She is seated meditation posture with hands in prayer position, laughing deeply from the soul, head thrown back.
What is something people generally don’t know about you? Huge Harry Potter fan. Absolutely huge. When I meet you I am going to ask what house you are in and if you don't know - sorry, you're gonna need to get sorted.
Who is Cassidy Causey? Hey y'all. My name is Cassidy. I am a globetrotter with severe mental illnesses, and while that can get a little tricky I make it work! I have spent a lot of my time in the East living in temples in Thailand or ashrams in India learning about ancient medicine and philosophies trying to find some relief to the constant storm inside my brain. And it worked. I was guided into Yoga. The deeper I dove into this practice the more I was able to benefit and find joy in my daily world. The change in myself has been so profound that I became certified and now get to guide others.
What gets your fired up about the disability movement? The unacceptable state of mental healthcare here in the USA. We are offered an extremely narrow view of how to treat the mind that is unnecessarily expensive. While medication and therapy are definitely the core of my treatment plan, the benefits from yoga and Ayurvedic medicine have brought me from numb to actually feeling happy. That difference has been worth the world.
What is your advocacy platform? Treatment for mental illness is not one size fits all. In order to give people the best shot at success, all options needs to be discussed, not just the ones lining the pockets of our broken healthcare system. I was stuck for over a decade feeling numb and empty on too much medication, and traditional therapy. From my experience, medicating myself to the point of numbness didn't help. I still felt empty. After a whole bunch of struggle I found a therapist who was a huge supporter of DBT, or mindfulness therapy, really encouraged my yoga practice as it grew, and helped me find the inner strength to allow myself to exist in harmony with mental illness, not be constantly exhausted from fighting it. Yoga and meditation, in combination with the correct medicine and a supportive therapist, have truly saved my life. I think it is so important to advocate for yourself with your doctors and if your doctor isn't listening and working WITH you to manage your illness then find a f@#$ing new one. If your therapist makes you feel less than or incapable in any way, find a f@#$ing new one! I know the journey to finding the right treatment plan for you can be filled with lots of bumps on the road, but you are absolutely worth the happiness waiting for you.
What barriers or challenges do you face in this movement? With the naked eye, you can't see that I have a severe mental illness. When I am following my treatment plan and there are no extreme external factors I typically behave in the expected way. However there are times where my symptoms are painfully obvious. Often when symptoms of my illness present, people are taken by surprise and I am frequently met with zero compassion. Its not like I wear a t-shirt saying" Hi! My brain doesn't do the feel good chemicals right so I don't react to situations like you might - just give me some space for a second" But can somebody make that t-shirt though? Haha.
What do you want those who do not identify with disability to know? "How can I support you?" is a powerful statement we all need to learn when offering help. No need to assume there is an easy fix to the situation especially if it is a struggle you don't share. Having a helping heart is a beautiful gift, but let's learn to make sure we are helping where its needed and not just appeasing our own savior complexes.
What areas are you still growing/hope to grow? Personally? Professionally? I am currently working on a memoir detailing my experience with mental illness, and how traveling and yoga helped me find peace. I am looking to further my education into Ayurevedic medicine and encourage others struggling to explore all options and fight for their right to happiness.
Who was the person/role model who inspired you to look into disability advocacy? Why/how did they inspire you? My best friend Sarah Tuberty. As I was going through the most severe parts of the roller coaster with mental illness, she was right there by side, supporting me, while simultaneously growing in her own strength and pride. I watched her grow strong and vocal about her limb difference, how she carried herself and spoke about others, and her pride in herself. It was incredibly inspiring and encouraged me to dig down and find my own pride. I realized that if Sarah was able to effect me so greatly by speaking out then my perspective and unique message could help others as well. Like always, Sarah has been there to support and encourage me every single step of the way.
When people look at you/up to you, what do you hope they see? I hope they see a human is who is imperfect who tries her best to make kind choices and is open to learning and growing from mistakes. I hope people see a woman confident in herself with the drive to learn and ambition to help create an uplifting society.
What are your next steps? I am growing my online yoga business. In addition to weekly classes I am beginning to offer workshops dedicated entirely to mental health. In these workshops participants are encouraged to discuss current struggles in an uplifting environment, where we use pranayama (breath work), meditation, and asanas (postures) to address the specific need. Using my unique experiences I apply elements of western therapy technique, Buddhist philosophy, and the yoga practice to offer multiple paths and explanations so the information is accessible to all levels and belief systems.
How do we follow you?! Yoga Classes: facebook.me/yogawithcass1991
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