It’s been a bit over a year now since my diagnosis of severe depression, anxiety disorder, and PTSD. Soon will be a year when I was at my absolute worst, the lowest and the darkest moment of my life. After learning how to crawl out of that darkness, now I know that I need to fight and keep moving forward. I notice significant progress, a considerable improvement in all areas of my life. However, I am still on the maximum dose of paroxetine, and even if I am stronger than before, sometimes it doesn’t take much to feel like being on edge again. I cannot afford therapy which is very expensive in France; thus, I need to find alternatives to get out of that darkness once and for all. Therefore, I found something that works for me – new ideas when it comes to life and living.
Why am I opened to hear and accept those new models of life? Well, that’s very simple: the truth I knew about life made me miserable. I was continuously getting worse by trying to accomplish things that mattered to others. I did my best trying to fit in, to be regarded as an exemplary person, successful woman, a good daughter, remarkable lover, etc., etc. I was much more concerned with how my behaviour would impact the others without paying attention to its effect on me. I cared tremendously about what others think of me. My routine was about pleasing the others, I tried my best to meet all the expectations without having time to care about myself. That path led to darkness, ended with exhaustion, it continued to the point where nothing mattered to me any longer. I reached a level of the hopelessness of such extreme that I was about to hurt myself.
Once I got out from that darkness, I became determined to do my best not to be in that state ever again. For people who don’t know much about depression, I could say – this illness makes you utterly incapable of doing or feeling anything at all. You are trapped in your mind: you and your body are prisoners of your own mind. Being stuck there means constant insults in your own head, knife and salt over any kind of wound you have or once had, kicking and beating and anything else that makes you feel completely worthless, miserable and unworthy human-being. It grows to the extreme where you start believing that you would do a favour to everyone by leaving this world. Your mind and you are the worst enemies, it is set to self-destruction. That’s pretty much a description of what severe depression is.
What made my mind stop destroying myself? New ideas about living in this world and what does it mean to be a human. A different approach when in search for the meaning of life. Never-heard-before suggestions when it comes to achievements, goals and determinations. The more new ideas I get introduced to, the better I feel.
Our minds could be compared to untamed beasts: when left unattended they might become furious and aggressive. What makes a difference is some care and time. We, humans, tend to pay attention to the cultivation of our bodies but we do not have a course when it comes to the nurturing of our minds. Due to lack of knowledge on how to take care of our minds more and more depressions are being diagnosed, people get burn-outs, panic attacks affect increasingly more humans. We do not practice nor teach our kids how not only take care of our physical body but also our minds. We have physical education classes, but we do not get an introduction to mental health course. And luckily for me, got acquainted with new ideas. I will share with a few of those that help me the most when it comes to getting better while fighting my illnesses.
We often look at the concept of time from the 3-dimensional perspective: past, present and future. Once agreed that the past is gone, and the only thing about it is to let go, then another challenge comes: what to do about present and future? Vishen, the founder of Mindvalley and one of the most well-known spiritual teachers, suggests that to be happy and mentally healthy we need to create a balance between these two things: enjoying the now and having a vision for the future. In fact, with his 6 phase meditation model, he continuously puts an emphasis on these two things as the main factors for happiness. Not having one or the other or neither one of them ends up with depression, anxiety, stress, stagnation.
A few days ago thanks to the new ideas that I got acquainted with, I observed how my mind works and how does it get into the state that without supervision it takes me on a ride down the cliff.
I was playing a computer game, Hearthstone, one of my favourite ones. I noticed that without paying attention to what was going on and enjoying the flow, I would start playing much better and would ladder up. However, once starting laddering-up I would realise that and then my mind would interrupt my joy of playing the game with the thoughts about how great would it be to reach a certain level, or oh no, he is playing this deck, I might lose, or I really need to change this card, etc. etc. My mind would start interrupting my joy of playing the game it would prevent me from enjoying it. At some point, I even noticed that my stress level is up and that I am anxious and after some time I got annoyed with the activity, started feeling bored, uninterested and tired. I realised that everything was related to my anxiety that I didn’t have control of anymore. This little engine of anxiety machine was on and was driving me towards a physical feeling of being fatigued. When not being in the moment but with your mind instead, the activity you are doing at that given moment does not receive as much attention as before, and, unfortunately, we, humans, tend to not to be very good at being at two places or doing two things at the same time.
I realised that almost nothing was giving me joy (depression) due to getting anxious about any activity I was doing. No matter how much I could actually enjoy it due to my mind’s constant blabbering, I would drop that activity and get so tired that nothing would interest me anymore.
One of the things that came to my mind yesterday was, what if instead of fighting that chatter I could turn it to be something else? What if I actually let myself think that the universe can hear that chatter in my head because I am a part of the world itself. In that case what if I can keep talking to it, maybe it would get me to know better? I could keep telling what am I doing at a given moment if that helps me to appreciate the moment of each passing second. Maybe I can also reveal what would I like to happen, what would I appreciate, visualising that moment and letting myself feel the joy of that moment in the future. What if I immediately say thank you once there is a touch of luck in the activity that I am involved with? Maybe thinking that everything can be heard can also lead to an idea that I can get helped and be blessed, which indeed is quite the opposite energy that I would typically have when letting the mind to begin an attack on me. Appreciation, gratitude and kindness – even if sometimes it’s difficult to express it out loud, especially when it’s towards other people, still should be expressed at least in our minds. Force yourself to say thank you for everything that happens at first if you struggle to do so. Force yourself to be positive. I did that, and I can confirm that even the fake kindness tends to grow and after some time becomes real. After a while, that kindness comes to your body and mind by itself. Everything can get multiplied, and we need to pay attention to what our brain produces because without any control it goes in the wrong direction and we end up exhausted, frustrated, unhappy and miserable. Lead your mind, give it incentives, introduce it to new ideas and other things that might make it excited, interested and joyful.
Maybe the idea about all seeing and hearing God is not entirely rubbish if only used correctly – not to create a fear in us but rather to incite a feeling of unity and being a part of a bigger picture. I can’t keep thinking that the old ideas about God were just merely misunderstood and used to be a tool for somebody’s power to grow. Either way, no matter if that’s true or not – we choose what to believe in. Thus, it’s better to be wise about it and decide what actually serves us instead of what destroys us. Be careful with your choices because any concept or idea was created by people and since we are humans it means we can build or improve them to create happiness and mental health instead of the opposite.