I woke up this morning feeling like I was slipping back into depression, as that all too familiar feeling enveloped my head and my body. I could also feel the anxiety present, due to the uncertainty that surrounds my future career. It’s been looming in the background for a few weeks and today felt like something needed to be done. No more running from these uncomfortable feelings and sensations, it is time to stand and face the fear.
I did the only thing that felt appropriate, I wrote COMPASSiON is my cure for DEPRESSiON on my sister blog, so that I could process my understanding of the healing process.
Just to add a bit of background, I’m on a low daily dose (50mg) of the SSRI anti-depressant drug, Sertraline, which I started taking back in July last year. Before then I was on a medium dose (40mg) of the SSRI Fluoxetine (aka Prozac). I’d been taking Fluoxetine in various doses, on and off since 2011. I also take a very low dose (5mg) of the anti-psychotic drug Aripiprazole every other day, as I’m currently coming off this medication very slowly. I’ve been on Aripiprazole for about 2 years, and I was previously taking 10mg a day. Before Aripiprazole I was taking Olanzapine on and off since 2014.
Do the drugs help?
In my experience, YES the drugs do help. They are by no means a cure, but they do help. Personally, I find the anti-psychotic medication particularly useful, as it does actively suppress unwanted thoughts. I end up feeling rather vacant, but compared to the noise, I appreciate the silence that they create. I’ve had some lovely moments, as I’ve begun to reduce the Aripiprazole, as I’ve started to experience my feelings again, but that door does swing both ways, which means accepting that the feelings won’t always be pleasant.
This time though, I’m reducing everything VERY slowly, so that it gives me time to witness these changes and therefore implement my own changes in order to deal with whatever comes up. Previously, when I’ve been a positive place, I’ve reduced the medication too quickly. Then, when things came crashing down, I had no idea what was going on or how to deal with it, so I would end up in bed, crippled with an unmanageable LiFE.
What’s interesting is that I now know that COMPASSiON is my cure for DEPRESSION. It really is the antidote, but what is also interesting is that I didn’t actually know what COMPASSiON was, until more recently.
BEiNG highly codependent, I was always trying to fix others, so I’ve always considered myself to be a COMPASSiONATE person. I wasn’t. I wanted to fix others for two main reasons. Firstly, witnessing their pain and suffering distracted me from my own internal torment and secondly, there was a gratification process at work. I wanted to make them “better”, which implies that I wanted to change them. There’s something sick about my old attitude towards COMPASSiON, because I was deliberating looking out for people in need, so that I could somehow remove or medicate my own pain. Selfishly, it wasn’t about them or their needs, it was about me getting what I needed. Bringing two unhealthy people together was always going to be a recipe for disaster.
I now understand that COMPASSiON isn’t about change, it’s about acceptance and empathy. I very rarely use the word LOVE these days because I feel it’s so misunderstood as both a concept and a state of BEiNG.
My definition for LOVE is unconditional acceptance.
If I want to change something, then I do not accept that “thing” for what it is. Here in lies the crux of the problem with depression, it’s such an unpleasant place for me to be, that I fight it with everything that I have. Previously, I would always lose because ultimately I am only fighting myself. Today, I have learnt the art of surrender.
So this morning, when I could feel the conflict within me, knowing that to continue the path of resistance would only lead to more suffering, I embraced my BEiNG and stepped into the REALiTY of what is, rather than continue to fight to hold onto what isn’t. This is what I believe Eckhart Tolle talks about in relation to the pain body.
Immediately I was overcome with a sense of relief and calm. My MiND was telling me that I was going to enter into a unpleasant place, but it was confused. That’s the deal with Mental Illness, it’s all in the MiND. I was in an unpleasant place and I needed to step back into the REALiTY that, in this moment, I AM at peace and that this peace in an innate quality of BEiNG.
I’m not sure this makes sense to anyone who hasn’t experienced it, but the shift in perception feels really significant. I felt like I was heading towards a dark place. My anxiety towards the future was being driven by my old trauma narrative , creating a validating feedback loop that my MiND had decided to embrace. This delusion was causing a depressive state within me, because I was starting to lose the point of going forward. Everything was going to be a disaster. I was already a failure, but of course, the future never gets here, there is only the present moment and in this moment we always have a choice. This all sounds rather cryptic, but my choice was to surrender.
To keep it simple, I surrender to the myself and applied COMPASSiON. I empathised with my own feelings and accepted that how I was feeling was real and valid. I didn’t look to change anything, simply to accept the REALiTY of how I was feeling at that moment. In doing so, without any effort, EVERYTHiNG changed and the feelings I associate with depression vanished. They haven’t returned and I’ve felt calm, relaxed and present all day.
It’s a strange process, but the internal conflict arises from the fear and resistance to change. I want to hold onto what I have got. Paradoxically, by embracing the very thing that I’m resisting, without wishing to change it, something automatically changes. It feels like a blockage is released and the energy begins to flow again. The madness of the MiND dissolves and the natural state, a calm and peaceful state of BEiNG is restored.