What technique to use after mental breakdown?

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Louis Joel, modified 4 Months ago.

What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Hello everyone, my name is Louis and I am 19 years old. Some of you may know me from some of my previous practice logs. I have been practicing consistently since Feb 2020 primarily using the mahasi noting technique. However in the last month or so I have struggled with an extreme amount of stress and anxiety, lots of flashbacks from past childhood traumas and other past memories, compiled with university pressure and moving homes resulted in me having a mini mental breakdown, in which I went to hospital on the 27th and am now on diazepam to deal with the high amount of anxiety. My question to you is, I still really want to practice during my recovery period. I am primarily a mahasi practicioner but feel as if noting may not be suitable in my current state as I am afraid of further frying my brain. Do you think a more concentration oriented technique such as kasina or samatha would be appropiate? Thank you all for your help. Lots of love. 
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Josef C, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 67 Join Date: 6/16/20 Recent Posts
Hello Louis ! 

I hope that youre feeling better. Please do continue taking your medications and  follow the advice of your doctor / therapist. I know of practitioners who have taken medications before and now that they are better they have managed to improve their practice. I am also reminded of this post : https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/21798161   . If you still want to practice  you can do the brahmaviharas or as you said kasina or shamatha practice but make sure that you have stability first . Do not try to do meditation for long periods of time and for now mellow out a bit. I have been hearing that fire kasina meditation is good if you want to get good concentration but of course please listen to your body .  You can start with maybe a 5 minute meditation and increase accordingly from there whether you are comfortable  and well enough to do so. You can  also take a walk , rest , journal , go into nature , be active ( exercise)   ,do art  and other non meditative stuff  since those help.  If in the future you want to continue with noting , take it slow and listen to your body emoticon  Please do not forget to always be kind to yourself throughout this journey . 

I am impressed that you have been able to meditate and have a consistent practice , compared to me who is already 23 years old and still have a hard time in regards to that. Health and wellbeing always comes first  meditation will come later .Take your time , once you are better the time for meditation will come emoticon 
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 737 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
I always found Mahasi noting as pretty agitating for brain. Great for ability to notice a lot of things quickly but I always felt it runs the risk of making things too intense. Better to practice it when life situation is stable. Thankfully I did not experience and in my case kick that this practice gives nervous system was very needed. Some times when life is rough it is perhaps not the best thing to practice. I would second advice for shamatha. Just ordinary breath concentration, and not powered up one but more like chilling out. Find peace in this practice. You will thank yourself for havign this peace available any time you need it or just want to experience it.

Breath concentration is my favourite meditation practice. And let not this practice of lazily observing breath fool you. It is powerful meditation, especially when you understand it. Unlike mahasi noting this one always felt like something that is safe and could be used to heal anything related to nervous system, including any traumas. Just with note: not powered up manic concentration (which in extreme cases of misunderstanding meditation is literally optimizing for seeing you see an object) and more like becoming breath yourself to the point you do not notice becoming anything and while it happens you just are what you are. This should help.

BTW. Benzodiazepines are horribly addictive and will cause you to have issues sleeping once you are off them. Be sure to get better soon to avoid worst withdrawal issues ... not that rushing anyone in this situation is good idea but just hurry, chop chop emoticon
shargrol, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1577 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
This might be a good book to read: https://www.amazon.com/Trauma-Sensitive-Mindfulness-Practices-Transformative-Healing/dp/0393709787
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2014 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Sorry to hear about your troubles Louis. 

I think it's best to take it easy if traumas popping up as flashbacks. That can be intense. 

Talking therapy in this case can help. 
Give you self a slack; watch some funny movies. Make some food you like. Hang around friends. Go for a bike, walk, nature ... 

If you really are in bad shape psychologically then Calm-abiding as in whole body breathing awareness is a good way to go about this. But in small doses. 7-10 minutes was suggested by my psychologist. A few times a day but keep it short. 
and did I mention talking therapy emoticon yes it really can calm things down. 

I agree Noting can be intense especially if traumas are popping up seriously. So step on the break for now. It's all good. Many of us have been where you are right now emoticon I felt for a while as if under imminent attack in my home, on the streets, in nature, in shopping centers, ... emoticon it was intense with flashbacks and panic attacks but it got better and practice could carry on at some stage later again emoticon 
No rushing on a bumpy road emoticon slow down and even take a break from sitting meditation for now. 

Best wishes to you and please keep us posted! 
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 737 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Having bad live experiences and stress during 6th nana is worst thing which can happen, especially when it is one of these which are by itself like mini-panic attacks.

Unfortunately meditation, especially when it gets quite pleasant around A&P seems like the greatest distraction and relief from all life traumas ever... which is kinda a pattern I'd say we see here in this topic. Hopefully Louis will know better next time ;)
George S, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1909 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Hi Louis,

Good to have you back! Sorry to hear about your troubles. Lots of us have been through this kind of stuff, it will pass with time. I suffered from high anxiety and panic attacks around your age, but didn't have any ability to address the causes at the time, which would have made the next 20 years much less challenging! All good advice above about grounding activities and easing your way slow back into meditation with some samatha/calmness and brahmavihara.

See if you can find someone who specializes in somatic (body based) trauma therapy. All those past traumas get lodged in the body, just waiting for a trigger. A specialist should be able to show you how to release them slowly and safely. The book Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter Levine will give you an idea how it works, but one on one with a specialist is best.

All the best
George
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Louis Joel, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thank you all for your amazing replies so far, it really does make me feel better knowing there's a community out there as supportive as you guys. I will probably end up focusing more on enjoying time with friends and just life stuff for the next week or two whilst dabbling with some breath work here or there to ease me back into things. Hopefully I should be working with a psychiatrist within the next 3-4 weeks and getting some good therapy. I think all of this stuff has just been triggered by past traumatic life events and obsessing about bad things I've done to people in the past which all needs releasing. Once again thank you all for the help, it means the world to me.  
Sam Gentile, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1289 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
What happened to you man? I'm so sorry to hear all this as we used to talk all the time. There is a community of people here including me. I have to take Clonepam for anxiety. What the people said before me is very good. Continue to follow the advice of your doctors, take your meds and start back slowly. Maybe its too much for noting right now as one person wrote. Please take care of yourself and keep us updated.
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Louis Joel, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I think just the accumulation of a lot of recent stressful stuff and obsessing over past events and childhood traumas pushed me over the edge. It took about two weeks of constant extreme anxiety/guilt and misery to the point where I knew I needed some help and it could be due to a deeper psychological issue. Tried to keep my practice consistent to get through it but it didn't really help at all and maybe even made it worse. Eventually it peaked and I was feeling suicidal so I knew I needed help as I had never felt that bad before. But yes I'm currently on anxiety medication and hopefully will be working with a psychiatrist in the coming weeks. Gonna put meditation on halt for now and maybe do some shamatha here and there as I know getting my health sorted is more important. Once again thank you for your support and love, it means the world to me. Wishing you the best.
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Jim Smith, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 985 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Louis Joel
Hello everyone, my name is Louis and I am 19 years old. Some of you may know me from some of my previous practice logs. I have been practicing consistently since Feb 2020 primarily using the mahasi noting technique. However in the last month or so I have struggled with an extreme amount of stress and anxiety, lots of flashbacks from past childhood traumas and other past memories, compiled with university pressure and moving homes resulted in me having a mini mental breakdown, in which I went to hospital on the 27th and am now on diazepam to deal with the high amount of anxiety. My question to you is, I still really want to practice during my recovery period. I am primarily a mahasi practicioner but feel as if noting may not be suitable in my current state as I am afraid of further frying my brain. Do you think a more concentration oriented technique such as kasina or samatha would be appropiate? Thank you all for your help. Lots of love. 


I am not a psychologist so I don't have any medical advice, but if you are looking for a type of practice that is relaxing I can recommend the following links:

Preparing for Meditation with Relaxation Exercises
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/08/preparing-for-meditation-with.html

Easy Meditation
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/10/easy-meditation.html
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2014 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
It's very good you recognized the need to seek for help. THAT is a huge first step towards getting better emoticon 

I would feel already better after 6 to 7 meetings with the psychologist (as in talking therapy).
​​​​​​​Its s good thing, the talking therapy is emoticon 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 4 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 5791 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Yes, it's great that you are seeking and receiving help and prioritizing taking care of yourself. I can't think of any practice that is totally safe. People usually recommend metta, but that once got me into a serious headspin. I find that hatha yoga is generally very stabilizing, so that is something I would suggest. 

Very best wishes for your wellbeing and (when applicable) practice.
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Louis Joel, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I want to again say thank you for all of your support so far, it means a lot to me and I send you all my love. I've been prescribed sertraline by my doctor which is an SSRI. Only on 25mg right now for 3 days so far which will probably be upped to 50mg next week. Hopefully this helps but I've always been skeptical about antidepressants but I probably need them as I still feel stuck in a deep dark whole with no light anywhere to be seen. As for practice, I haven't practiced for two days. Before that I was doing maybe an hour a day. I'd do 30 mins of Shamatha as I think I've neglected my concentration practice in the past, and then just 30 minutes of silent noting and trying my best to not care about the outcome, fuck stream entry at this point I just want to feel happy again. Hopefully the psychiatrist gets in contact with me soon and I can start some talking therapy. 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2014 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for the update! 

I was on Sertralin 50mg daily for several years. Read about side effects so to be informed in case you feel funky while on SSRI. In such cases contact the docs. 

My doc asked me to take 75mg but that gave me bloody feces (a lot of blood) so I kept taking only 50mg. It's one of the side effects. 

Please give it a read so you are informed. 

Yeah for talking therapy emoticon 


Btw, Shamatha can be about calming the whole body with out-breathing, calming the whole body with inbreathing. No reason to look at it as a concentration practice at all. Calm abiding is very healing and is less contracted and more relaxed and zoomed out as it is keeping the Whole body in awareness emoticon 
George S, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1909 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I was seriously depressed for 10 years and was on Prozac 3 times. I felt like it gave me some relief during the worst parts. Eventually I realized through meditation that depression was my way of shutting down to avoid "unacceptable" feelings of anger and sadness.

Obviously your situation is unique Louis, but I really hope the SSRI gives you some relief and you can figure out with a therapist what's at the bottom of all this.

​​​​​​​'Fuck steam entry and be happy' sounds like a great strategy :-) Maybe we could get some t-shirts printed? It's the last thing you want to do when you are depressed, but try meditating with a smile on your face, even if it hurts to keep it there! There's something about simply using those muscles which boosts your seratonin, even if your thoughts are telling you the opposite!
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Louis Joel, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thank you papa and George for your wise wordsemoticon yes things are really really tough right now and it just feels like I'm stuck in this dark tunnel with no light to be seen anywhere. But I will do as I'm told and sit there with a smile on my face trying to just be with the breath gently for my 30 minute sits. Thank you all again for your support <3
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Louis Joel, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Gyms in the UK opened up today finally as they have been closed since december. And after just one session I already feel more upbeat and less insane lol. Gonna see the doc again tomorrow for a check up and to get things moving with the psychiatrist. Still just doing shamatha and not trying to go too crazy with practice for now. Again thank you all so much for your love and support it means the world to me emoticon
Sam Gentile, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1289 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Its me, your friend again. I'm so happy to see you have been prescribed an SSRI Sertralin. I have taken SSRIs seberal times in the past and they have been very helpful. Get good therapy - see if you need to do any truama work. Yes fuck Stream Entry. That's not your focus right now. See what they let you do, maybe a little shamatha but focus on the talk therapy. I'll keep you in my thoughts.
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Louis Joel, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks Sam it means a lot. Gonna push the doc to get me moving along with the talking therapy because that's what I think I need most. I've never had therapy before but I can really see the benefits of having it. I'll be thinking of you too Sam I wish you the best in your practice and the rest of your life. Stay well <3
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2014 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
How are you feeling Louis? How does the SSRI feel? Have you started with talking therapy? emoticon questions questions emoticon 

Wishing you the best my friend! 
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Louis Joel, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Not really Papa Che still feeling down in the dumpsemoticon had a call from the therapy people today about sorting it out. They're gonna get back to me on Monday and I'll be seeing the doc again on Tuesday so hopefully things get moving soon! Thanks for looking out for me buddy it means a lot emoticon 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2014 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Good man yourself Louis emoticon 

Hang in there ; hot showers, go for walks , eat well, drink enough water, watch a favorite movie (I remember doing a Lord of the Rings marathon when I was in the dumps) emoticon 

Keep us posted about what happens next week! 
George S, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1909 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Hi Louis,

I’ve been trying to remember what it was like when I was suffering from depression, to see if there’s anything I can offer you which might be helpful. Obviously your depression could be very different, so please feel free to ignore it or tell me to shove it if it’s not helpful! When I was depressed and people tried to offer me well-meaning advice, I would usually get angry (which in hindsight was telling me something about the causes of my depression).

In retrospect, when I was depressed, what I was most suffering from was an inability to distinguish my thoughts from my feelings. The classic example is the thought ‘I feel depressed’. What did that even mean?! These days it’s much clearer to me that a thought like ‘I can’t face another day’ is a completely separate animal from the actual physical feelings of anxiety, anger and sadness. But back when I was depressed (and it was only 2-3 years ago), thoughts and feelings were all wrapped up in one toxic user-friendly package. It seemed to me like the thoughts caused the feelings, and the feelings caused the thoughts, and I was trapped in the middle of it all and unable to break the vicious cycle. I do remember though that I would wake up every morning and there would be a brief moment of feeling ok (or at least not feeling terrible) and I would be slightly disoriented and have the thought ‘Am I still depressed?’ I would kind of have to check and then have the feeling of putting on the heavy black cloak and remembering ‘oh yeah, I’m still depressed.’ So even then there was some gap between the thoughts and the feelings.

It was feeling suicidal which ultimately forced me to get angry and curious and ask what the fuck was going on with me, because I knew on some level that some part of me didn’t really want to die, even although I fantasized about it a lot. I remember thinking it seemed a bit extreme that I should have to kill myself to let other people know how bad I was really feeling inside! What was left of my rational mind was also struck by the disconnect between my external circumstances (adequate food, shelter, clothes etc) and the fact that I felt like I couldn’t possibly survive another day. I remember thinking one day ‘If I’m willing to die then I should at least be willing to sit down and really allow myself to feel what it really feels like to be depressed!’ I had already started meditating by this point. Another clear thought was ‘If I’m willing to physically die then let me see what it’s like to “mentally die” first’. That was actually the first day of recovery for me, just sitting there with no expectations and completely letting go - “dying” if you will - and seeing what came up ... It’s actually a big relief once you start to feel the feelings somewhat independently of being stuck in the mental loop of the thoughts about the feelings.

I really feel for you Louis, depression is a fucking tough and horrible thing to go through. The only real consolation I can offer you is this - it’s really true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. When you look back on this in the not too distant future, you will see that it was a necessary part of allowing the strong, proud and independent young man that is waiting inside you to emerge.

I hope something up there helps in some way, or at least doesn’t make it worse! Good luck with the therapist. Therapy is really necessary and important. It’s obviously a lot about thoughts, getting the story straight - ‘who did what to whom’. Therapy in combination with meditation is very powerful, because you have the ability to observe the storyline and the feelings operating independently. Obviously they are not completely separate, there is some causal relationship, but it’s a lot less than you might assume. When I started therapy I assumed that the story/thoughts were 90% of what was going on and feelings were 10% (to the extent I was aware of them at all). These days it’s more like feelings are 90% of what’s going on and thoughts are 10%. Sometimes I still get caught up in the story, but mostly it’s like ‘oh yeah, just thoughts, noise, mental chatter, nonsense ... what shall I have for breakfast?’ emoticon

Best wishes
George
george, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 279 Join Date: 9/8/20 Recent Posts
Hey Louis! Hope you're feeling better mate, hang in there, it gets better. I was in a really bad state myself a couple of years ago but now am starting to see some clarity. Gym is a fantastic way of dealing with shit and it's a good sign that you're making the effort of going and that the body is responding to the exercise in a positive way! One thing that I'm starting to learn and I don't know if this would apply to you atm but sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to feel good. What does this mean though? This didn't come naturally to me, so I initially had to put effort into feeling good by getting therapy, exercise and forcing a smile on my face like George S is saying. After a while you start to realise, hold on, yea life is impermanent and all and we have no control BUT I still can make an intention to feel positive without aversion or clinging, without forcing it, you just ask for it and wait. Best wishes mate!
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Louis Joel, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thank you all again for your positive replies. They really do mean a lot to me! I'm going to see the doc today so hopefully he can give me more info about when I can start therapy. I've managed to go a week without taking any diazepam so that is good. It's been about 2 or 3 weeks now on 50mg of sertraline and I definitely don't feel any better yet. I related a lot to what you said George. When you initially wake up you get this momentary bliss because you've kind of forgot about everything, but then a few seconds go by and you're like, "oh yeah, I'm depressed". For me it's very similar. From the moment I wake up my mind just goes on and on about past stories. Stories from my childhood trauma, and especially stories of things I have done to people. Sometimes I'm not even sure if I even did the things that my mind is telling me, but I feel so wrecked that I can't remember anything really. Especially things come up with my ex girlfriend, things I may have done wrong to her, things I may have said wrong, all sorts of shit. Feels like from the second I wake up I am swimming in an endless sea of guilt and I feel like the scummiest most horrible human being on this planet! It's fucked! My doctor did say that a lot of the time past childhood trauma stuff can come up in relationships so maybe this all has a deeper root to it. I'm not suicidal but thoughts of suicide do come up now and then and it's a scary feeling. I'm definitely on the fuck stream entry and be happy train at the moment. Actually fuck being happy I just want to feel normal again! Sorry for the rant guys...goodnightemoticon
George S, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1909 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
It’s a very common and “normal” pattern: trauma -> relationships -> guilt -> depression -> suicidal thoughts. It’s not your fault that you were traumatized and the rest of it is just how this stuff automatically plays out until the trauma can be resolved. The things you did, the stuff you said, the obsessive thoughts and rehashing of the past - they’re all manifestations of the unresolved trauma. Hang in there, therapy should help you get to the root of all this and sort it out. If it was someone else in your situation, wouldn’t you have understanding and sympathy for them?
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

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What is the purpose of saying to someone it was not his fault? Would you vouche for Louis to the point that if it was proven it was his fault you get to loose your pinky finger? If not then I do not see any point of saying such things.

@Louis 
Instead of wanting to be normal just experience what you are getting. Not to get better but because you should always experience what you are getting. It is just very good habit and when is the better time to make it your habit than now?
George S, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1909 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta
What is the purpose of saying to someone it was not his fault?

Because victims of trauma usually do assume on some level that it was their fault, and it's not! The unconscious assumption of blame is the root of the guilt and being so hard on oneself, therefore I think it is necessary to point it out.

Your comment is gaslighting - implicitly blaming the victim. And Louis feels that he has to agree with you, which is perpetuating the pattern of self-blame.

Louis, please be wary of people who try to question or undermine your experience of trauma or victimhood. It is possible that people have already been doing this to you so, it feels "normal". This is a really important part of the recovery process - accepting that the original trauma was not your fault and therefore you don't need to carry the burden of guilt and self-castigation (even if it led you to do things later which you do regret). While you are waiting to see a therapist, you might find it helpful to read Alice Miller's book The Drama of the Gifted Child, which is published in the UK as The Drama of Being a Child. Don't let anyone else tell you what your experience should be!
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

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Because victims of trauma usually do assume on some level that it was their fault, and it's not! The unconscious assumption of blame is the root of the guilt and being so hard on oneself, therefore I think it is necessary to point it out.

They feel guilt and think about topic of trauma and their wrong assumption is that they feel guilty because of the trauma. This is the assumption being made. And while patients who come to seek help are excused from not knowing what is what in their mind, the person who analyzes them in order to help them should know why they feel guilt and not be completely clueless. When not knowing and assuming this is just some quirk of being traumatized (as psychoanalysts do - they just assume you are crazy) best advice is "its not your fault" only reinforcing the belief that these two things (guilt and trauma) are related.

Your comment is gaslighting - implicitly blaming the victim. And Louis feels that he has to agree with you, which is perpetuating the pattern of self-blame.

Self-blame is good if it is directed at right object as it is indicator what to change. The issue is that we tend to not see very well what the guilt is about. It is unpleasant so we tend to look away and not see very well what is actually happening.

This is where meditation is supposed to help. Buddhist path is path of self improvement - not just path leading to liberation/relief. The liberation bit is implied by self improvement. And the thing one have to do in meditation if it is to be any good is to make sure own behavior is improving and in order to know that and to be able to accomplish that one has to see own behavior clearly hence practices for improving perception. If in the past some wrong actions caused issues then it should be more than obvious that during dukkha nanas these will be overblown out of typical proportions. Right view is to see this as an opportunity and use as magnifying glass to study the reasons why we behave in way we do and to ponder why it means this is the wrong behavior. Person who studies himself in order to self improve will not see dark night as something bad but as a great opportunity to self-improve. They will see all nanas and mind states and all events as opportunity for self improvement. Isn't that what the path leading liberation from dukkha is supposed to look like? There is no guilt if reason for making wrong actions does not exist anymore because it has been uprooted. When improved enough mind will naturally change its focus from feeling guilt to making amends if amends are due and this is then not called feeling guilt and won't cause dukkha but joy. Real guilt is caused by doing nothing to causes and doing something begins with perceiving them clearly and perceiving begins with doing something to improve perception.

BTW. Vipassana is good for improving perception of subtle things but we all know how it is being sold. It is the promise of some change that will automatically disable suffering that draws people in. Knowing intuitively the whole meditation/practice thing was to be about self improvement and doing a lot of work to avoid feeling the thing which motivates for doing self-improvement and then getting burned hard is in my books a pretty darn solid reason to feel a lot of guilt. But that is actually a very good sign and as long as the course is corrected from wanting to feel fine to wanting to self-improve all will be fine.

@Louis
I know my thought processes might be hard to follow (people told me so, not sure why) so if my dharma resonates with you and there are any questions please just ask them.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2014 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
I hear you mate.

Same stuff happening in this bulb of mine emoticon and im
not just saying this. 

These days there are all sorts of thoughts rushing out; fighting certain people verbally about me being right and the wrong, about my parents being bad parents and how now I might become a bad parent because of that. Thoughts of being lost in sense of not knowing what kind of job to seek and what to work with in the first place; I used to do so many things and lost interest in doing those. Now looking for something but can't find it. 

Also old memories of me doing wrong things to people and some shitty situations I brought myself into that led to that etc ... 

This mind stuff just does its thing emoticon It's like a rainy day with storm and thunder! At some stage Sun does come up again but then ... emoticon it gets too fucking hot emoticon it's never good enough. 

This practice will not make us normal nor necessarily happy. What it seems to do is show that This mind stuff arising is not in "my" control and it's not "mine" nor am "I" anywhere to find in this unfolding. So mind learns to just observe this circus change into a theater show, then into a rain storm then into a lovely sunny beach day , then fireworks, then a Radiohead concert , then Butterflies flapping all around then ... emoticon 

But yes I certainly know as do many here, when shit hits heavy it's hard to see the "light". 

I think it's a great idea to first do the therapy and later think about all this meditation stuff.

​​​​​​​Best wishes Louis! 
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Louis Joel, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thank you all for your replies once again. Yes I agree with you ni, wanting something other than this is a very bad habit that us humans have developed, I guess that's why we practice. Just been to see the doc and he thinks therapy should be starting in the next few weeks so that is good news. He said since I've felt no better taking sertraline 50mg for 3 weeks he thinks in a week or two possibly double the dose to 100mg, who knows. In terms of practice I am probably doing an hour or two a day. I usually sit for an hour and start with 20 minutes of shamatha. Trying to smile and just feel the breath without effort. For the next 40 minutes I'll do silent noting since I feel noting aloud takes too much wind out of me nowadays. I'll usually start with "look how it's..." style noting which helps to gather some momentum when the mind is feeling weak and lost still. "Look how it's feeling guilty", "look how it's thinking about the past", "look how it wants to feel normal", "look how it's trying to meditate" and so on...I usually just drop to normal noting if things speed up. 
Sam Gentile, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1289 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for the update Louis. Sounds positive.  I'm pulling for you.
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Ni Nurta, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 737 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
Just to be clear, I didn't suggest wanting greener pastures is wrong or anything like that. What is leading to issues is trying to go there in heedless way that has little chance of succeeding. What you are doing is trying something out and trying it was very good move but it didn't work last million times you tried it since last month so why would it possibly work next time you try it in the same way? This might be good thing to do some time in the future but obviously now something different is needed.

Did you ever see chickens and how they when they notice food outside fence they will just push forward on it even if there is opening very close? This is how humans behave when it comes to mind related things. They just go forward with their initial assumption and do not look around to find better way. If you cling to what seems like way to happiness then you will miss all the openings for good things you could experience. In fact the only reason you suffer right now is because you know you could be experiencing pleasure because you can sense it. If you could not sense there is better state to be in right now it would not bother you and maybe a little detached from everything but you would feel just fine. I do not suggest to become detached but become proficient in finding what you seek and knowing it you can get something and with how much effort and make educated decisions.

Something is available but you cannot get there and to know how to get to places you must first know where you are and what is around thus self observation and being more where you are is essential. When you learn how to move around, map terrain then over time might become very proficient in it. That won't however happen when you continue being blind when it comes to seeing your mind. And I do not mean sexual attraction to your mother bullshit that they will try to work you through on therapy but normal learning how to use internal.

Having mind but remaining blind to it is like if you didn't feel your hands normally and couldn't see them and only way to feel them was through pain. It would be possible to not have issues if you always kept them in safe position, never extending them. Now once you moved them you need to learn to see them, need to learn how to see your mind and learn how to not freak to what you see. It wasn't made to be pretty. You can experience awesome things if you know how to use it well though. Until that happen do not make fast decisive movements, slowly, more observation than movement. You will figure it out if you put heart in to it.
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Louis Joel, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Hi all I hope you're doing well. As of today I have upped my dose of sertraline to 100mg daily as suggested by my doctor, so we'll see how that goes. I still haven't been feeling any better at all. I have been doing some shamatha and silent noting but I think it's time I might need to go back to my old ways of freestyle noting aloud. I'm only saying this because whilst doing the silent noting I am lost in day dreaming for most of it. Which I know I should be okay with and just note it as "spacing out" but I feel as if it will be of benefit to me to use noting aloud to help objectify whatever I am feeling more rather than swimming in murky water for most of my sit. Who knows. What's yall thoughts on this? Sam? Papa? Anyone? Still no updates on the talking therapy. God they do take their sweet time!!! 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2014 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
My thoughts on SSRI is please do observe how your body reacts to it. Also how your mood reacts to it. 

Read the side effects please! emoticon Be informed and if you recognize any of those talk to your doctor about them. 

About noting; 

If you feel you can continue the practice then yes I think noting aloud 1-3 sensations per second for the entire 45-60 minutes is the way to do it. Getting spaced out is what we do off cushion for years and it didn't awake us so can't see how spacing out all the time on cushion can lead to anything we here aim for emoticon 

Concentration should be respected and find a way to feed it somehow. My favorite is open eyes Kasina object. Ingram used to return to "rise and fall of abdomen" as his basic object. Find yours! It's good to have that one object to often return to even when"freestyle noting". 

It's good to have that concentration point as it makes things slide a bit easier.

Noting Aloud will keep you "in the game" more than silent noting which means will also propel stuff faster. This means DN might be more intense but also more purifying if one accepts it and let it wash over. This way even the incoming EQ will be more solid afterwards. 

However I don't know how you are feeling now. I don't know if it's good for you to push now too hard. 
Noting can be used as a grounding tool as well. As long one is not aiming to achieve big stuff (ehm ... SE) it should be a fine training in attention emoticon 

Be honest with yourself and really question if you can do this now or if you should give it rest for a few months. One can always rekindle the practice once this heavy emotional stuff is worked with (therapy). 
​​​​​​​
george, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 279 Join Date: 9/8/20 Recent Posts
Such great advice here from the veterans!! Louis just give the meds time to kick in you will get out of this! You can count on impermanence to get you out! It's amazing that you're still sitting through this, such faith in the practice. Can I also say that noting is a life line, you can rely on this to help you. Not in the way where you have to note your entire reality and scare the shit out of yourself but a slow grounded noting of the pain that's surfacing, noting outloud like Dusko is saying! Respect your limits &amp; stay safe. Lots of love&nbsp;<br /><br />george&nbsp;
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Louis Joel, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Hey yall I just wanted to drop an update. I haven't been feeling great at all really. Still the same shit I've been dealing with. No phone calls from the therapy people yet but I'm trying to be patient. I feel really really hopeless as if I've done some permanent damage and I'll never feel happy or normal again because it feels like it's been such a long time. I remember the date this all started which was March 15th of this year, which is only 7 and a half weeks which isn't as long as I thought. I know this stuff can take a long long time to get through and I do think I need some good long therapy. I just feel like I'm under attack all the time really. Overwhelmed with guilt and hate towards myself, feeling as if I'm the most horrible human on this planet. I'm glad for meditation as I feel my clarity is higher than the average person so I know exactly what thoughts are coming up and are causing the feelings of guilt and dread, mainly past events with people, hopefully this makes the therapy more effective. I haven't meditated in two days but I plan to get back on it tomorrow. I want your guys' opinion...do you think I should start a new practice log? I'll be trying to do an hour a day of 20min shamatha and 40 min freestyle noting aloud with eyes closed. Just wanted your opinions on this. I can't thank all of you enough for the endless amount of support it means the world to me. Hopefully one day I will feel better. Just gotta be patient and persevere 
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Laurel Carrington, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 441 Join Date: 4/7/14 Recent Posts
Please do be patient and persevere! Depression is so debilitating, but if you can see through your mind's stories, that's all to the good. It's exhausting, though! 

You might try mixing it up with walking meditation and focus on the soles of your bare feet. I'd also suggest getting your self-talk involved by using pet names for yourself, like sweetheart, honey, dear. This may make you want to throw up, but then again if you're feeding your brain with loving language, it can help counteract the self-loathing that is a component of the depression. 

And here is something by the poet Derek Walcott: 

Love After LoveThe time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other's welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.
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Siavash ', modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1359 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
Wanted to second this suggestion Laurel made:

I'd also suggest getting your self-talk involved by using pet names for yourself, like sweetheart, honey, dear.

I sometimes use it and talk to myself with such words and it's helpful. Talking to yourself like a loving mother (in her best day) would talk to their child.

Or applying it to other activities. Like when feeding yourself, treat it as if you have a dear guest and you are feeding them and taking care of them. It would be good to sometimes treat yourself like that.
george, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 279 Join Date: 9/8/20 Recent Posts
Hey Louis, yes you FEEL like you have done irreversible damage but remember that's just a belief brought on by the mind, does that mean its true? So many of us have been though this! When I look at your situation you're in a much better state then I was. I didn't meditate for 6 months when shit hit the fan! You're still able to maintain mindfulness throughout this, which is incredible! In fact I couldn't talk for 3-4 months, I was mute! I came out through the other side a better person though and so will YOU. If it's too much right now then relax with the freestyle noting practice, maybe just do the shamatha part. Be GENTLE with yourself, like they're saying above. Almost as if you're a new born child, kitten or puppy that needs nourishing from its care taker.
Remember a belief is just an emotion, it's just the absence of doubt or it's faith and confidence. Emotions are impermanent, you will have at times faith that you will get through and at other times you'll feel doubt that anything will happen. Shine your light on all the faith and doubt. Notice there's a choice to identify with either one! This is when you can build your faith and confidence in yourself. When you're doubting just notice the doubt and ask if it's true? You can choose to NOT IDENTIFY with the doubt! What will happen next you may ask? MORE doubt, there it is again! Doubt is an opportunity! Move forward towards faith, step by step by noticing the doubt and not identifying with it. You will get through it, lots of love!
George

​​​​​​​Tell me to shut up if this is not helping.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2014 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Hi Louis! 

Have you read about the side effect of SSRI? It's included in the package. Observe if you feel worse or better! You are not to feel more helpless or god forbid suicidal. This is actually one of SSRI's worse side effects and can effect younger people. You see why I'm pushing this issue emoticon Please do read it and do observe and do be sceptical if you start feeling worse. TALK to your doctor about this. They ought to switch to other meds or something else. 

If SSRI is indeed needed by your body I'm sure by now you would have some sort of relief as you are taking 100mg. It takes time for it to work out on the brain changes but still it should already be of some help. If that is what your body-brain needs that is. 
However I am no expert in this. 

Talking therapy sure is a good thing. I hope you hear soon from them. Do not expect change immediately. It takes a few meetings emoticon 

This phase could also have much to do with the meditation path. The Dukkha Nanas. I can't tell. You do seem to desire to practice and for this phaze to just go away. This is very much Desire for Deliverance or Re-observation. 

If desire for practice is there and you see you sitting often then maybe good to get some support. Maybe a weekly meeting with a teacher you trust or a Dhamma friend you trust. I find it helpful to have someone for accountability sake and for the sense of "not being totally alone" in this. 
I really appreciated having a teacher back when I was plowing through the deep mud of DN. 

Best wishes. 
Tim Farrington, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Louis: Hey yall I just wanted to drop an update. I haven't been feeling great at all really. Still the same shit I've been dealing with. No phone calls from the therapy people yet but I'm trying to be patient. I feel really really hopeless as if I've done some permanent damage and I'll never feel happy or normal again because it feels like it's been such a long time. I remember the date this all started which was March 15th of this year, which is only 7 and a half weeks which isn't as long as I thought. I know this stuff can take a long long time to get through and I do think I need some good long therapy. I just feel like I'm under attack all the time really. Overwhelmed with guilt and hate towards myself, feeling as if I'm the most horrible human on this planet. I'm glad for meditation as I feel my clarity is higher than the average person so I know exactly what thoughts are coming up and are causing the feelings of guilt and dread, mainly past events with people, hopefully this makes the therapy more effective. I haven't meditated in two days but I plan to get back on it tomorrow. I want your guys' opinion...do you think I should start a new practice log? I'll be trying to do an hour a day of 20min shamatha and 40 min freestyle noting aloud with eyes closed. Just wanted your opinions on this. I can't thank all of you enough for the endless amount of support it means the world to me. Hopefully one day I will feel better. Just gotta be patient and persevere.

Hi Louis. I've been following this thread with real interest and sympathy, and also, increasingly, with admiration, as I think it's going to be one of those threads that a lot of people going through similar things will find heartening. Feeling really hopeless and fearing you've done yourself permanent damage, for such a prolonged episode, is terrifying, as I know from my own experience with depression over the course of my adult life. But your patience and perseverence here are beautiful. (You're not the most horrible person on the planet, by the way, I am, lol.)

As far as I can tell, you're doing everything right, within the slow-moving and often frustrating constraints of all the therapeutic processes (mental illness, paradoxically, often requires a greater amount of patience from us than ordinary life, just to deal with the sluggish institutional machinery of the helping professions). You're addressing the depression conscientiously and in state of the art fashion (and it is definitely art, not science, for the most part). You know better than anyone what the drugs are doing to you, so don't be spooked by the vast range of opinions. One of the great benefits of being at the end of your rope is that, like Job, when people give you well-intentioned advice, you tend to be able to see more clearly whether it's relevant or not to your own desperation. Give your attention to what helps you take your baby steps and let the rest go by.

That you have sustained your practice through this is also beautiful, and it tells me that there is a strong streak of dark night mixed in with this depression. You don't seem inclined to err on the side of bypassing the psychiatric/psychological aspects through attributing everything to "spiritual process," so I feel free to speak to the double whammy aspect of depression and dark night dynamics. Depression is, weirdly, an abrupt, unsupported, uncontextual taste of "renouncing the world," albeit with no corresponding hope of deliverance through that renunciation. It is the dissolution of what used to work in our lives, and we have to go through many of the same emotional and intellectual and motivational ways of dealing--- and, especially, failing to deal with, at the points where nothing seems effective--- with that dissolution in both depression and the dark night. Feeling that you are the worst person in the world is a running start toward really understanding the nothingness of the self, for instance. The self in depression/DN is clearly "nothing," helpless and ineffectual, and also way worse through nothing, in its agony at that. In meditation, for me, I find that to arrive at a place where the self is quieted, where the worse-than-nothing has eased into an approximation of actual nothing, is a tremendous relief. Not even peace, at that point, just a quiet beyond the raging recriminations and guilt and dread. A very undramatic refuge, and it involves a certain faith in your technique to get there, a persistence in the technique even when its seems dry and dead and useless. Because the iteration of your technique, whatever else it is, is doing something simple and immediate that points beyond the shit, that allows your attention to release the shit for a crucial instant. In the extremes of depression/DN, this simplicity is life-saving, in my experience. It doesn't have to mean anything at that point, because even if its means nothing, what you're immersed in to start with is way way worse-than-nothing. The sheer existence of a quiet condition is immensely heartening, even if it only happens on the mat for a moment or two, a taste, a glimpse, and has burned away in the usual depressive thoughts before we can even straighten our legs after the sit. Then, you can take your meds and go see your therapist. But on the mat, dive deep and treat it as a dark night and let everything go except the inarticulate depth of whatever brought you to the mat in the first place.

You said "patience and perseverance," and I find inspiration in that. Humility also starts to come very naturally, once you accept being the worst person on the planet, lol. And compassion. These are real long-term fruits, not ripe or sweet at this point, but already present, inherent in the intensity of what you're going through. Hang tough, Louis, my friend, be patient and persevere just as you have been doing. This terrible drought will pass; the rain will fall again and the streams will run. 
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1909 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Lots of great responses above. I just wanted to add, it’s definitely not the case that you have caused yourself some kind of permanent damage! This guilt issue was already there and the meditation just brought it to the surface. Many people suffer from similar issues and mostly they ignore them, which means the guilt continues to fester beneath the surface and drive all sorts of guilt-inducing behavior. They may suffer from depression for decades and have an even bigger breakdown later in life, or they may go on to have dysfunctional families of their own and spread the guilt even wider. Guilt issues don’t go away by themselves, they get worse until you face them, which is what you are doing now. Even although it feels absolutely horrible for you right now, what you are doing is very much for your long-term benefit and those who will follow after you. If you are up to it, while you are waiting for therapy, you could do some research to get a better understanding of the issue. Try googling “toxic guilt” or “toxic shame” and see if you can find anything which resonates for you, e.g.

How Toxic Guilt and False Responsibility Keep You in Dysfunction

In addition to the Alice Miller book I mentioned above, there is another great book called Homecoming by John Bradshaw which explains how toxic guilt/shame develops and contains healing exercises.
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Louis Joel, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I want to thank you all so much for these amazing replies...I honestly don't know where I would be in life with such great people to support me through these difficult times. You all give me endless amounts of hope and help me everyday to push forward even when I feel like my entire life is ruined, thank you all so so much. I practiced for an hour today in the evening and just thought I'd drop it here how it went. I started with 20 mins of samatha, just counting the breath up to 10 and repeating this (in 1, out 2, and so on). This went surprisingly well giving that I haven't practiced in the last two days. The noting portion was interesting. I noted aloud with eyes closed for the remaining 40 mins. There was lots of guilt and lots and lots of mental chattering which was noted to the best of my ability. Lots of scenarios popping into the foreground which were accompanied by the desire to think really hard about each situation to try and figure out whether this happened or that happened, basically the urge to want to reassure myself that I'm not a horrible piece of shit. Noticed some high pitch frequency in the ears, some pleasant vibrations here and there but for the majority of the sit, guilt and mental images/mental chatter took up all the bandwidth rather than physical sensations. I also noted the desire to check the timer as I wanted to give up and felt like this was pointless, noted desire to stop and impatience, also noted the image in the mind of the number "40" which was how long the noting portion was. Could also notice the mental impression of the timer chiming in coming up a lot. I think thats all to this sit. Once again thank you all so so much.
Sam Gentile, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1289 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Louis, my friend, checking up on you. I'm sorry that things are not going well ast the momemt. As Papa Che notes,  and I have experienced, SSRIs DO definetly have side effects. Sometimes you can tolerate them but if they are  at the  level where they are  making things worse, you need to ask your doctor to switch you to another SSRI.

Don't give up!! If I can get through it, you can! I am really glad to hear the shamatha and thhe 40 minutes of noting at loud. This is good work. You did it. Keep meditating as yoyr doctors allow.
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Louis Joel, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Hey Sam! Thanks for checking in on me I hope you are doing okay yourself! Yes I am continuing with practice for now trying to get in at least an hour a day sometimes two. Sending you my love 
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 3193 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Hey, if you want to talk about what is going on with you, let me know. Can find my contact info at https://integrateddaniel.info

So glad that many here have been so supportive.

Best wishes!

​​​​​​​Daniel
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Louis Joel, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thank you so much Daniel! I just sent you an email now. Hopefully it gets to you all okay! emoticon
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Louis Joel, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Still sitting for an hour a day. Still lots of guilt coming up and many scenarios playing out in the mind. There is an urge to want to analyse each scenario to try and figure out whether this happened or that happened or...forget it. I just note it as "wanting to analyse". Still feels like there is a nagging song stuck in my head. Feelings of guilt, shame, disgust, depression. The whole package really. But I am not giving up. I try my best whilst on the cushion to accept all of the shit no matter how hot it gets! Onwards and forwards! 
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1909 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
There's a lady called Irene Lyon (student of Peter Levine) who has some good articles/videos about how to work with guilt/shame/disgust and the links with depression. Maybe you might find it helpful.

How toxic shame creates the fallout we call depression:
https://irenelyon.com/2017/09/14/toxic-shame-creates-fallout-call-depression/

Disgust. The gateway emotion for healing toxic shame:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KlV1zD5asw
Sam Gentile, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1289 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Louis Joel
Still sitting for an hour a day.

That is really good

 Still lots of guilt coming up and many scenarios playing out in the mind. There is an urge to want to analyse each scenario to try and figure out whether this happened or that happened or...forget it. I just note it as "wanting to analyse".

Are you working with  a therapist? Have you tried to figure out where this guilt or scenarios are coming from? I would say that they are empty and insubstantial but I don't know if they involve trauma or anything like that in which you should use thhe resources others have posted here.

Still feels like there is a nagging song stuck in my head. Feelings of guilt, shame, disgust, depression. The whole package really. But I am not giving up. I try my best whilst on the cushion to accept all of the shit no matter how hot it gets! Onwards and forwards! 

It really is empty and unsubstantial. It is impermanent. It won't stay forever. But make sure yoou have a professional involved.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2014 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Best best wishes Louis emoticon gentle and steady emoticon 
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Louis Joel, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thank you guys for your support once again. Yes Sam I am waiting for the therapist to get in touch with me as I have been accepted for a referral from them. Just gotta play the ol' waiting game 
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1909 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
It's great that you can recognize and sit with the feelings of guilt, shame and disgust and note away the desire to analyze (even if there's a nagging song playing in the background). It might feel very unpleasant but that is actually the healing process - your system expelling the toxins. Irene Lyon calls it "the dead rat" ... expose it to air and sunlight for long enough and it will decompose!
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Louis Joel, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Hi everyone, just wanted to drop another update here. I had a call with a therapist for an assesment and gave her some details about my past and what I am going through at the moment. She suspects that I am likely suffering from pure o ocd because of these repeating obsessive scenarios that seem to be constantly playing over and over again in my mind of things I may have done to people in the past. I also told her that I used to have this problem as a child for a few years but it mostly went away until now. I don't know how to feel. I still feel very dejected and upset. I just want to feel like a normal human being again and not be contaminated with this constant feeling of guilt and worthlessness. Anyways she is going to put me onto a cognitive behavioural therapy course and I am gonna roll with that. Hopefully the waiting list shouldn't be so long as I already have waited for what seems like a lifetime...anyways I hope you are all doing okay. Sending you all my love 
George S, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1909 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I'm surprised that OCD is the main diagnosis, given your history of childhood trauma. Of course you have obsessive thoughts, but those are a symptom rather than the cause. I know that insurers (NHS) like CBT because it promises quick results, but in my experience it was a fairly superficial treatment. I hope it provides you some relief, but please consider pushing for some deeper talking therapy if you can possibly get it.
Sam Gentile, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1289 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Louis Joel
Hi everyone, just wanted to drop another update here. I had a call with a therapist for an assesment and gave her some details about my past and what I am going through at the moment. She suspects that I am likely suffering from pure o ocd because of these repeating obsessive scenarios that seem to be constantly playing over and over again in my mind of things I may have done to people in the past. I also told her that I used to have this problem as a child for a few years but it mostly went away until now. I don't know how to feel. I still feel very dejected and upset. I just want to feel like a normal human being again and not be contaminated with this constant feeling of guilt and worthlessness. Anyways she is going to put me onto a cognitive behavioural therapy course and I am gonna roll with that. Hopefully the waiting list shouldn't be so long as I already have waited for what seems like a lifetime...anyways I hope you are all doing okay. Sending you all my love 
Boom. There it is OCD. Louis I have OCD. There have been parts of my life where the OCD has shown up in the form of hyperchondris and going to ERs and such. I have learned to live with it. The good news is cognitive behavioral therapy is very effective aggainst it as well as certain SSRis. I think metta meditation too. Meditation + CBD will make it much better. DON'T believe your thoughts. Although they will be persistent and nagggaig, n reallity, they are have  no basis - they are empty, insubstantial, fleeting, imperment. Let me know if i can help further.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2014 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Sending you best wishes and fingers crossed you don't have to wait long! 

Have you considered chatting with Ingram? If I recall correctly he did offer to meet online. Might give you some fresh helpful perspectives. 

Of course you decide if you need this or not. 

Hang in there! It's always darkest before the dawn. Trust me, been there emoticon 
Btw, none of us here are without sins. We have wronged others, done harm and hurt in one way or another. 

Even these days I get mind images of people that I've hurt in the past, and all I can do is send Metta to them, wishing them well. May they be happy at heart, may they be free from suffering. May I too be free from suffering, may I be happy at heart. 
Tim Farrington, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Hi Louis, and thanks for the update. At the very least, you can have a sense of one of the right wheels turning, however slowly. The OCD diagnosis is a hypothesis that will be tested in your therapy and your life, and you have to start somewhere. And once you've got a shovel into that ground, you'll be turning up the deeper dynamics, no matter what anyone thought when you first started digging. So, hurray.

I just want to feel like a normal human being again and not be contaminated with this constant feeling of guilt and worthlessness. 

Amen to that. I know how debilitating that sense of guilt and worthlessness can be, and the vicious circle dynamics of it, spiraling down into further guilt and worthlessness. I am plagued by it myself, often enough, and have been humbled enough by that kind of compulsive, seemingly irremedial suffering to respect the dilemmas of the condition. You are taking steps on multiple fronts, which is pretty heroic and courageous, in context. Hang in there with all of them, including that amazing hard-won hour a day of sitting. I can't speak to solving anything, but I do know that with committed practice you do come into a place sometimes that is deeper than the constant harangue of the guilt and worthlessness voices, and that quiet, even a taste of it, is precious. Even a moment's glimpse of a more spacious, unburdened existence has its effect. Like a glimpse of the sun between heavy clouds, you can know there's clear sky, that this heavy locked-in cloud cover is indeed not the bottom line. So may you glimpse that shining, and that blue sky, once in a while, even here in the pits. And know that you're not alone in the pits, and that we're rooting for good weather for you.
george, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 279 Join Date: 9/8/20 Recent Posts
Hi Louis! Please read this! Pure O was something I experienced when I was 19-28 I had an obsessive thought process that would not go away. It was debilitating, I couldn't function anymore. It wreaked havoc on me, I was completely destroyed. I noticed though that the more I fought with the obsessive thought and reacted to it the stronger it became! I also noticed that there were times throughout the day that the thoughts weren't there! Together with cbt, medication, therapy and my own will to understand, I learnt that these thoughts were not true but I never said that to myself. I always said to myself yes they are true and so what? What actually changes? Nothing changes, you are still the same person if you believed it or you didn't! The only difference is your attitude towards it! Every time it came up I said "good". Sometimes I'd tell it to come! I'd say I'm ready for you, come any time you like! I exposed myself to the doubt, uncertainty, fear. I became fearless to the obsessive thoughts and they lost there power and stopped coming. I joke about it now and can't believe I was even worried about it all! I'm still open to the possibility of it all! All of this work I did naturally led me to meditate because it was about letting go or resistance! What was happening though? I felt doubt, uncertainty, anxiety, fear but mostly DOUBT in myself and was fighting it! Anxiety in of itself is really having a lot of doubt especially OCD. Doubt feels shit, it's yuk but it's just doubt. Having doubts doesn't mean shit! You have doubts and you push on, you doubt again if you're ever going to get anywhere, you just keep going even if you don't know if you're ever going to make it. It's like taking a leap of faith and I'll tell you right now that the leap is worth it! There's a way out I promise! 

Another thing! I don't want to add more confusion to your problems but I found that this obsessiveness was in everything I did not as strong as the obsessive thought but still present. However I never performed overt compulsions like a lot of actual OCD sufferers do. I went and saw so many psychologists and some said OCD because I was describing a repetitive thought pattern!! However 2 psychologists I've seen who were steeped in there own spiritual practice and helped countless people out of problems like this never said I had OCD. They said there was an obsessive component but it was more like generalised anxiety disorder where you worry about everything and anything and sometimes that obsessiveness can latch onto one thing. Like George S has said the obsessiveness is a symptom and it's present in all anxiety disorders! Obviously speak to your psych, they will know best and listen to your experience! You will get through it. Lots of love
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Josef C, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 67 Join Date: 6/16/20 Recent Posts
THIS ! This is the best advice  when handling intrusive or obsessive thoughts. I have also been diagnosed with OCD and the  thing that causes the thoughts to stick are being enmeshed with them . Back then whenever I have intrusive thoughts I try to reason with it or combat it , but what just ends up happening is that I give power to it. When you have the intrusive thought , dont try to reason with it or debate with  it. Just let it pass and go , basically just note it and then dont get involved or enmeshed with it. In my case whenever it comes up I say , " I see you " then thats it. Keep a mindful attitude to it emoticon It will save you a lot of sweat and stress , I wish I have learned to keep a mindful attitude sooner . Take care Louis . 
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L J, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
I want to thank you all once again for your amazing support. It really does make my heart melt when I see these messages. Knowing that there are people out there supporting me through what feels like the most difficult period of my life to date is really eye opening and gives me lots of hope that I am slowly getting better. And George, thank you so much for your message. This really really helped me. Knowing that whatever is happening to me is actually a mental illness that people go through is quite reassuring. I have been feeling relatively uck still. I have two weeks left of my second year at university and then I am all done with exams and summer will commence! About 6 weeks ago I met a new girl from my uni and we have been getting on really well, so I guess there is a brightside to this emoticon I have my first hour long cbt session this saturday, but it's going to be over the phone due to covid, hopefully it is still as effective. Since it has been around 7 weeks on sertraline 100mg and I haven't felt different at all really I asked my doctor and he thinks I should swap to fluoxetine once my exams are finished as this is the anti-depressant my mother uses and she responds very well to it. Who knows we will see what happens. Just have to remember to say "good" once these negative sensations come up and welcome them with love and utter acceptance. If I am the most horrible person on this damned planet then so be it. All sentient beings still need to get their drinks before my show ends so I can't just stop serving because of a few broken glasses!  emoticon Once again thank you all!!
Sam Gentile, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1289 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Fluxetine might be good for OCD. I notive an uplift in attitude - that's great! Continue to have the best possible attitide. Remember that all those intrrusive thoughts are empty, they don't mean anything! Don't pay attention to your thoughts!
george, modified 2 Months ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 279 Join Date: 9/8/20 Recent Posts
Excellent. Love it. Yes, I take fluoxetine too and it helps a lot! Lots of love 
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L J, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 129 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Hi all, I would like to make an update as it has been a while. I haven't meditated in over a week now as I went on a holiday with my girlfriend and our friends for a few days and just finished my university exams. I am still feeling quite bad but I think what george was saying previously has been sinking in. Basically this whole thing has been caused by convincing myself I did something horrible to someone who I shall not name. Tonnes and tonnes of scenarios coming up and I would always try to use as much mental energy to figure out every single little detail about what I did and what I didn't do to reassure myself that I wasn't this horrible person. I have had two therapy sessions so far and they have been okay but not so well because they are over the phone and are a bit boring but of course I will be patient. Anyway he suggested that I should get in contact with this person and ask if anything ever happened. I basically gave that person a golden opportunity to come out and roast me about how much of an asshole I was yet they responded by saying they can't really think of anything I should feel guilty about and they hope that I feel better soon. Which was a huge surprise to me. You would think that this problem would just vanish but no the scenarios still continued to play over and over in my mind and I would continue to try and figure out exactly what happened to give myself some sort of reasurance. However I think I am starting to jump out of this loop. I realised that It doesn't even matter what I did. If what I did wasn't that wrong or I committed the most horrible act to this person there is still nothing I can do to change that as it is in the past. What I am trying to do now is tell myself that It doesn't matter what I did when the urge comes up to search for reasurance. I also tell myself that I need to forgive myself and I try to send myself metta and permission to be happy rather than soak in this disgusting feeling of guilt. I am going to start meditating again today with some shamatha and metta as I think this is the best for me. I definitely need to forgive myself and send myself as much love as I can as I think I have always had a hard time allowing myself to feel happy. Thank you all for what you have done for me. 
Sam Gentile, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1289 Join Date: 5/4/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for the update. It sounds like you are getting to the heart of it. I'm glad you are going to start meditating again especially metta. May you practice well.
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 2014 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Metta to you and best wishes LJ emoticon 
george, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 279 Join Date: 9/8/20 Recent Posts
That's good that you contacted him and it's not surprising that he didn't even remember what happened. Yeah you may have done something wrong but if you are constantly thinking about what you've done wrong you'll never give yourself the opportunity to live to your fullest potential. Reassurance and rationalising something that is obsessive does not work. It will just feed the cycle. You have proven this by calling him up and talking to him about the incident, what followed was much of the same thing, obsessive guilt. You can't rationalise something that's obsessive because obsessiveness is irrational. I know you don't like the feeling of the guilt and misery but if you want to overcome this hurdle you just have to accept the guilt and misery, just face it. Say hello to it when it arises and continue on your day. Yes it will come up instantly again & again & again and it's fucking relentless. You wonder how you can even think about other things while this shit is constantly bombarding you, it's hell on earth.
Forgiveness helps and kindness towards yourself helps. This is a step in the right direction as you're willing to accept what we all can be, shit people. If you really look at this with a microscope though you will see that you're the complete opposite, would a shit person obsess about something they did years ago? Fuck no, they wouldn't bat an eyelid, instead you chose to look at your shitness but in the process DOUBTED if you're very identity is "good". Notice the guilt, accept it. Yes it takes time and practice but the sooner you stop rationalising the sooner the obsessiveness will subside. Hang in there.
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Josef C, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 67 Join Date: 6/16/20 Recent Posts
Good to hear from your LJ! Its great to see that you have been making progressemoticon I agree with George that trying to rationalize it will lead you down a downward spiral. Since now you know that it is irrational  when they come disembed from them immediately. Acknowledge them for what they are just like noting , "intrusive thoughts" and keeping a sky mind. Basing on what others have said  and reading your update I think youre trajectory is good emoticon Take care emoticon 

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