Quentin Vennie | Wellness Expert | Yoga Teacher
On the breaking point of when his anxiety had become too much to bare:
I had my first panic attack in the gym when I was about 26. After that, I started having these episodes repeatedly over the course of a month. These episodes present symptoms that are like that of a heart attack and I honestly didn't know that it was caused by anxiety. Even after I was diagnosed when I was 14, I lived the next 12 years of my life being regular. I still dealt with a little bit of anxiety, but I'd never experienced a panic attack up until this point. I'd never experienced anything that severe. After this happened, I would sleep in my car in an emergency room parking lot, just in case I needed to get emergency services.
On the issue of medication making things worse for him as opposed to better:
The medication didn't address the issue, it just hid the symptoms. One thing I realized while going through my recovery is that anxiety medication is something that should not be taken long term. Anxiety medication can have very damaging long-term effects on the brain, in addition to being extremely addictive. These were the things that weren't discussed with me when I was prescribed anxiety. Ativan, which is what I was taking, was supposed to be used in conjunction with other forms of therapy. It's supposed to subside the symptoms while you’re learning to control the disorder yourself. I never received any of this as an option. I never knew that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), yoga, or the changing of my diet could help me alleviate the onset pressure of anxiety and panic. The lack of knowledge made things worse because my fight stopped being about the anxiety, and started to be about the 15 to 18 mg of Ativan that I was taking every day. I ended up overdosing on anxiety medication and painkillers because of my addiction to the pills that the doctor prescribed to me. My doctor basically became my dealer.
On the usage of his trinity of health (juicing, yoga, meditation) and how it propelled him out of anxiety and addiction:
It was an interesting turn of events because, after I went to my doctor and explained to him that I was addicted to these pills, his call-to-action was to give me something different. From there, I knew that he was a dead-end, and I had to figure this thing out on my own. This realization came after my second suicide attempt. I had to come to God and say, show me why I'm supposed to be here. So, I went home and really started to do research on what this thing was. I found out about juicing through two documentaries. One being, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead," by Joe Cross, and the other one being, "Crazy, Sexy, Cancer," by Kris Carr. While I was on Youtube looking for juice recipes, I came across a video by a woman named Tara Stiles, who was making juice, but I found out later that she was actually a yoga teacher. I always say that I didn't find yoga, yoga found me. While doing yoga, I realized that the "corpse" pose (Shavasana) was meditation and thats how I discovered the art of meditation.
On his best-selling book, "Strong In The Broken Places:"
Initially, I wanted to write a book in my early 20's. The book was going to be called, "The Broke Black Mentality." It was going to be about the mindset of the black community, and why I felt like we weren't successful, and the things that we need to do to change the narrative. Outside of this early idea, I've always been a very private person, so I didn't want to tell my story at all. Writing for mindbodygreen.com really made me open up more because I started to realize that there were other people who were going through the exact same thing I was going through. Now I truly understand why I had to go through the things that I did, and this book will outlive me. This book is going to continue to impact people, and help change lives long after I'm gone.