Depression, Meditation

Depression and Mindfulness: My ‘Rewire Me’ Essay

To beat back the Great Bleakness that is clinical depression takes a lot of falling sick. For the depressive, there is often no choice about sinking into despair—darkness so overpowering that it would shock the uninitiated. For us, it can be a daily occurrence. But to fall sick mindfully, to observe our experience of depression—that skulking trickster, part physical malady and part creative storyteller—allows us to learn its language. And in that is power.

According to Rumi, the Sufi mystic and wordsmith, it’s also the beginning of healing.

On the face of it, it’s not easy to accept Rumi’s counsel in the poem “Ghazal 2133,” where he urges, “If you desire healing/Let yourself fall sick.” Sickness is, after all, the enemy. It is what I stiff-armed, resented, hid from others, and tried for years to drink away. Why on earth would I go there willingly?

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4 thoughts on “Depression and Mindfulness: My ‘Rewire Me’ Essay

  1. I love this, you write so beautifully. I was doing quite OK with meditation until my schema sessions unlocked the door that should not be opened and now all my anger is rampaging around like a pissed off well stabbed bull, and all I can do is wait for it to subside as I doubt I’m able to focus right now. But I will try again x

  2. I’d love to be better at mindful meditation, my mind is often so awash with negative thoughts that I struggle to clear it to think straight. Really enjoyed reading this blog. Thank you.

    • In my walk I’ve found benefit in dietary changes, movement-based therapies like qigong, a small pharma dose, and, yeah, meditation. Then I’ve also cut out as much stress as I can afford. I doubt any one of these efforts would bear much fruit on their own. It’s hard to meditate when you are having constant anxiety, for instance. But if you can start to reduce the anxiety (or negative thoughts, which could be related to any number of physical things), that can start ease the way into meditation. Mantras are useful too, as is understanding that shifting the brain’s longstanding behaviors is by definition a lengthy process. I repeat this often when unpleasant thoughts or feelings start looping in my mind: “Feelings come and go like clouds. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” That’s Thich Nhat Hanh. It helps me remember that if I just focus on something else, just pay attention to my breathing, that feeling or thought will drift away. Oftentimes our survival means simply outlasting our episodes. But there are little techniques that can start to break those episodes down into smaller pieces. Best wishes.

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