RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

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Louis Joel, modified 21 Days ago.

What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 108 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 21 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 45 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 21 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 626 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 21 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1531 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 21 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1674 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 21 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 626 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 21 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1551 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 21 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 108 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 21 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1029 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 20 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 108 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 20 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 955 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 20 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1674 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 17 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 5324 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 13 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 108 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 13 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1674 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 12 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1551 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 12 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 108 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 10 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 108 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 9 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 1029 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 9 Days ago.

RE: What technique to use after mental breakdown?

Posts: 108 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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