Erratic thinking, rumination, anxiety: Most of these I can catch with a watchful mind these days. (Until I can’t, but usually… ) However, there is one thing that will twist my gears hard, and that’s a night without sleep. Worse, two or three.
It’s been a couple weeks since I published my new book, “After Depression: What an experimental medical treatment taught me about mental illness and recovery,” on Amazon. The comments, text messages, and reviews left on the book page have been incredibly encouraging. Best of all have been those who have reached out to tell me that this book helped them in some way on their journey. If nothing else, it’s another shot across the bow of the unjust stigmatization of those who wrestle with mental intensities.
“Depression advances along a million unique tracks shrouded behind a gallery of distortions,” opens ‘After Depression,’ my new book about mental illness and the burgeoning world of magnet-based brain therapies.
“It sails to mind from an unfamiliar distance, picking apart confidence and undermining relationships as it weaves its way through one’s mental and emotional body, calcifying there as a sort of malign superstructure. With time the victim comes to define their essential self by this colonizing force, this veritable subtraction of the self. And that is, perhaps, the greatest tragedy of this global epidemic.”
I’m happy to say that since publishing yesterday, ‘After Depression’ is already generating positive reviews. Many of you that know Depression Time have tracked my progress over the last couple of years. You’ve pushed me to dig deeper into recovery. Challenged me in my understanding of the behavior of my brain and body. You’ve encouraged me in more ways than you know and made this publication possible.
Did you ever?
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.
Some of you may remember my “coming out” column of last year. I am happy to say that a promising new health-focused news site has just posted it. Check it out at Rewire Me and consider sharing your thoughts on their site. I’ll let you know when my next contribution–something about “falling sick” to find healing–posts in the coming week or so. Peace.
The spirit seeps into my body unannounced. Conscious mind hardly recognizing it. There’s no overwhelming smell of pitch or sulphur, no nefarious cackle betraying its evil intention. Only after the energy, call it anxiety or agitation, has a firm hold do I see the shift has transpired.
From here the rest comes predictably, the way a tension headache comes on–just as you knew it would–hours after those first signs of cramped shoulders and swollen neck manifest before moving on to the muscles around the ears and eyes and deep into the head like a slowly turning cement screw.
Suddenly I’m discouraged, irritable, and distracted.
The progression to darker planes isn’t inevitable. Things could slow down here if I’m able to alert myself, “This is anxiety.” If I can identify and name the intruder. Changing my mind directly by sitting and meditating, or indirectly by changing my behavior by taking a quick walk or playing with the dogs, can interrupt it, knock it off the tracks. But too frequently I don’t catch it here. It marches on.