Mental Disorders

cody nicholas scafidi, modified 10 Years ago at 8/4/11 3:09 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 8/4/11 3:09 PM

Mental Disorders

Posts: 2 Join Date: 8/4/11 Recent Posts
I've been diagnosed with Bipolar Type 1, ADHD, Aspergers, Extreme Anxiety Disorder, and an Over Active Adrenal Gland. And I need to know how these disorders are going to effect my meditation progress. I've been practicing anapana and Zen meditation for 8 months, doing up to five hours a day. And I feel like I can't get past this certain point. My brother (who I'm currently living with and under observation with the practice) tries to explain to me that what I'm going through. is what some people call the dark side of the soul. But I've been dealing with roller coaster mood swings all my life, and as I get older the depression is getting worse. During my sits I struggle with a racing mind. And when I sit by myself I deal with a lot of anxiety and stress because of my fear of being alone. My brother is constantly pushing me and trying to tell me that the longer I dicipline myself with this practice, the more control I will gain over my mood swings and depressions. I don't know exactly how to overcome the challenges that I deal with in my life and I want this practice to work. I also know by holding onto that desire its holding me back. But I've never really experienced true peace in my life and I need that desperately. I need these mood swings, this paranoia, and anxiety to stop controlling me and for me to control them. I prefer feedback from people who have or had dealt with these problems themselves, or have known somebody who has overcome these problems through meditation. But any feedback from anybody would help right now. Thank you.
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago at 8/4/11 4:09 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 8/4/11 4:09 PM

RE: Mental Disorders

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Hey Cody, I can confirm that there are several people active within the pragmatic dharma community who suffer/have suffered from various mental illnesses. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety disorders about ten years ago, but I've managed to commit to these practices and can happily say that my life would not have been half as peaceful as it is now had it not been for insight and concentration meditation.

I've got some stuff to do tonight so excuse the brief reply, I'll get a more detailed reply in tomorrow but I just wanted to let you know you're not alone and that "enlightenment", or whatever you want to call it, is completely possible.
cody nicholas scafidi, modified 10 Years ago at 8/4/11 11:00 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 8/4/11 11:00 PM

RE: Mental Disorders

Posts: 2 Join Date: 8/4/11 Recent Posts
Tommy,

I can understand what your trying to say to me, and I am looking forward to reading your more in depth response to my message. But what I am afraid of happens to me CONSTANTLY. My brother Justin is constantly trying to redirect me to a much more positive Outlook. He tries to explain to me that these mood swings that I go through are going to arise and pass away, no matter how intense they get. I have grasped that fact. But it is not what scares me or prevents me from moving forward, I have realized that its going to end at certain point a long time ago, before I started the practice. But what messes with me is the knowledge that I know that I am going to fall back into the cycles that ruin my ability to enjoy life. When I hit my cycles i am completely sucked into this negative thought process that I am hopeless, worthless, and not wanting to be HERE. When I hit these depressions the thought of suicide is so strong that I literally have to fight myself from making a irrational decision that is going to end my life. No matter how hard I try I am continuously socially award in any environment that I put myself in.

When I am in these cycles I feel completely helpless, its like there is someone inside of me that is controlling my thoughts, actions, and decisions that I make. I feel as though someone is controlling me. I'm trying so hard to get control but no matter how hard and no matter how much effort I put in, there is no hope. It's literally a miracle that I've made it this far. But I can't deny that meditation has done some good for me. It's changed a lot of aspects of my life. But no matter how much its changed me I am still caught in this living hell all around me when I hit these cycles.
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 10 Years ago at 8/5/11 2:20 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 8/5/11 2:20 AM

RE: Mental Disorders

Posts: 3230 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
A few things...

1) If you have all those diagnoses, then you do have a bit more than most to work with, and it also hopefully means that you are regularly consulting with a mental health professional of some sort and keeping you family in the loop of how you are doing and when things get too far out of control and unhealthy, as that would seem to be of great value.

2) I can't help but think of some of the more centering, grounding energetic things I have heard people talk about, such as found at AYP: perhaps those who know these better will chime in, would be of value to you. I bet Tai Chi or something in that vein would be useful.

3) I recently watched a nice TED talk by a person who knows a lot about the Dark Night and also clinical psychiatry: TED talk and I found her advice about you reinforce what you think to be spot on and applaud your continued efforts to change the habits of negativity: not easy a lot of the time, but so well worth it.

4) In that vein: have you looked at CBT?

Just my thoughts this early morning. Thanks for posting your questions and concerns: they are actually pretty common in these circles (and actually all circles) and not talked about enough.

Daniel
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John H, modified 10 Years ago at 8/5/11 4:26 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 8/5/11 4:23 AM

RE: Mental Disorders

Posts: 34 Join Date: 10/8/10 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:

2) I can't help but think of some of the more centering, grounding energetic things I have heard people talk about, such as found at AYP: perhaps those who know these better will chime in, would be of value to you. I bet Tai Chi or something in that vein would be useful.


I recently started to practice Qi Gong daily, not for depression but for increasing my energy levels as I always seem to be tired. I've done a fair bit of reading on the subject and the topics of depression and anxiety come up a lot - it seems many people have overcome them through Qi Gong practice.

I follow the instructions of Sifu Marcus Santer, formerly of the Shaolin Wahnam Institute, and I find that he has a very down to earth and pragmatic approach. He used to be a counsellor and prescribed a lot of his patients healing Qi Gong exercises and he noticed that they were finding more benefit from the exercises than from his counselling!

Here is an article he has written about depression http://qigong15.com/blog/qigong-exercises/best-qigong-exercises-for-overcoming-depression/ I like how he doesn't advise people to stop taking meds without support from a doctor.

Something else to mention is that he advises learning directly from a teacher.

Might be worth checking out.

John
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tom moylan, modified 10 Years ago at 8/5/11 4:59 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 8/5/11 4:59 AM

RE: Mental Disorders

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Welcome.

First, if you are on meds and under a physician's care keep to that. Medication does not necessarily preclude meditation.

As to Daniel's excellent suggestion about AYP ( Aypsite.org ) : The site does have a very gradual approach which grounds much of the development in the body through simple yoga asanas, breathing / visualization excercises and a mantra based approach to gaining more subtle mind states.

I find it very good. The emphasis is on self-paced, slow and steady integration and puts much emphasis on avoiding or reducing the "dark night" effects by limiting the meditation. The format is in lesson form which you follow at your pace. If you notice that you are getting some unwanted effects...you drop back on the meditation and do a little more pranayama (breathing excercises). For me it was the first time I could tie the effects of these practices with the mood swings I was experiencing together with the practices I was overdoing.

I hope this has helped. Best of luck to you.

Tom Moylan
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 10 Years ago at 8/5/11 9:08 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 8/5/11 9:08 AM

RE: Mental Disorders

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
i recently realized i had a pretty terrible anxiety disorder brewing for at least the past few months. meditating didn't help directly, since i was basically ignoring it / ignorant of it. the only advice i can give is: the re-observation nyana can look a lot like just endlessly chasing your own tail and being anxious about it. if you are keeping track of cycles, it would be good to pay special attention to that, to be able to figure out whether your feeling-bad is a result of cycling or of out-of-cycle-worrying. the cause is the same: lack of equanimity towards formations (e.g. anxiety).. the cure is the same: equanimity towards formations.. but i took the approach of just deciding to plow through it all, which was quite painful, though it did eventually work (in that i made progress on the paths of enlightenment as laid out in MCTB ), though it did not cure the anxiety issue, which i'm dealing with now, directly.

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