Identical twins Finlay and Alastair Wilson both secretly battled clinical depression without confiding in each other and turned to yoga and body building to help them with their mental health issues. These very different styles of movement arts helped them open up about depression to each other and to the world.
Finlay is Forrest Yoga teacher best known for his BBC Scotland’s The Social viral video with Tristan Cameron-Harper, an ice hockey player, on Kilt Yoga. A fun short featuring the two Scots doing yoga in nothing but traditional Scottish kilts on the The Hermitage near Dunkeld. The video was shared over 50 million times and #KiltYoga became a hot hashtag on social media.
In a new interview, also with BBC The Social, Finlay was joined by his twin brother, Alastair. They shared that their depression caused them to drift apart from each other starting when they were 17 years old.
Finlay shared that his depression caused him to turn to toxic self-harming patterns such as bulimia and excessive alchohol. Alastair, likewise, shared that his hidden mental health issues drove a wedge between him and his twin brother and when they were 24 years old, Alastair attempted suicide.
It was after nearly losing his brother that Finlay finally confessed that he too attempted to take his own life some years before. In retrospect, the brothers feel that the stigma around male depression caused them both to keep their struggles hidden until it was almost too late.
Turning to Yoga and Body Building
Both brothers shared that turning towards yoga and body building – exercise and movement arts in general – gave them structure and focus to stay balanced and take life one day at a time. For Alastair, the immediate physical results he saw and felt from lifting gave him the motiviation to push forward. For Finlay, it was yoga and meditation that turned his life around.
Many studies are showing the benefits of yoga for depression and many government programs and schools around the world are implementing yoga and meditation orograms to helo those with mental health illnesses.
The Wilson twins also added in further comments and interviews that if someone who suffers from depression cannot turn to yoga or exercise, there are still other options available. Finlay shared that journaling helped him confront the emotions and traumas that he kept buried for years, and Alastair shared that he also took up photography at the same time he started lifting which was a perfect literal lens for how he was seeing the world from a new, appreciative light.
Both are now able to speak about their battles with depression and encourage those who also need help to also honor their emotions and seek a person or network to support them.
In Scotland SAMH works to support those with mental health issues.