Sunday, February 19, 2012

Investigating the Depression

Only one who has encountered clinical depression, can really understand the torture of living day in and day out with a a mind that has turned against itself. I endured such hell after the birth of my first daughter, many years ago. Looking back, I wish I had had the gift of mindfulness to fall back on then. Now, it is my privilege to accompany others as they go through the darkness. Almost always, our joint journey involves mindfulness. And I bring U Tejaniya along:
I began practicing at age fourteen, so long before I experienced depression I’d already devel- oped the ability to regard anything that came up in my mind and deal with it objectively, without getting involved or taking it personally when ugly stuff came up. When I became depressed I could apply all these skills. I’ve been depressed three times. The first time I made a strong effort, just snapped myself out of it. And the second time, too. But each time the depression came back, and each time it came back stronger. The first two times I overcame depression, my recovery didn’t last long. I know now that the first two times I’d used effort but no wisdom, no understanding. During the last depression, I had no energy left in me to make the effort. Depression followed me everywhere.
The key for me in dealing with my depression was right attitude. I realized I’d have to use my wisdom to learn about it, understand it. By just recognizing the depression and being present with it. I would just recognize that this was nature, that this was just a quality of mind; it was not personal. I watched it continually to learn about it. Does it go away? Increase? What is the mind thinking? How do the thoughts affect feelings? I became interested. I saw that when I’d do the work with interest, my investigation would bring some relief. Before that I’d been at the depression’s mercy, but I learned I could actually do something. I was choosing to be proactive, to find out about depression, and then it lightened. That was the main thing, complete acceptance. I saw I was helpless to do anything, so I just let it be there. But I could examine it, do something with myself. I couldn’t do anything to it, but I could investigate it and come to know it.
Bottom line is, there is hope, even for the seemingly most intractable depression. 

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