New to this site and everything heree

claudia, modified 3 Years ago.

New to this site and everything heree

Post: 1 Join Date: 7/25/17 Recent Posts
Hello everyone. I'm an 18 year old and I would jsut to introduce myself to this. I areligious or anything but I've been suffering from depression and anxiety. I came across a Reddit post about someone mastering depression and anxiety by mediation and by reading one of the books called "mastering the core teachings of Buddhism". I have come to realize that I am here with an open mind. I fear a lot of things in life. I fear my thoguhts, my suffering, myself, I fear of not becoming good at mediation. I'm scared that I'll worsen if I go the wrong path. My depression started from self loathing and too much stress. I feel weak I am sick from the flu and everything. I want to be able to find my energy and enlighten my mind. I've been getting worse and worse. I have a psychiatrist coming to see me next Monday but I feel hopeless about to. It's always different for everyone. I have been getting. If anyone could explain this forum or website to me or how to get started. Thank you. I've lost motivation to keep fighting with myself due to this suffering. It is painful like a wound but in my brain. I can feel it there even when I want to let it go. Do I feel the pain? Do I keep suppressing it? I'm scared of falling deep into the darkness and never being able to come out.  I am open to doing this but I need reassurance and help. I always dwell on the past ignorant of life I had. It was more peaceful but I have to constantly reassure myself that once I stop suffering I will come out a stronger and more informed person.
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Malcolm, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: New to this site and everything heree

Posts: 908 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Hello Claudia, I am quite new to the site too.  I think the fact that you are reaching out trying to find ways out of your problems shows that you can succeed. Your fears and worries are just a stage, and you can move on from that stage.  I do encourage you to pay attention to your psychiatrist and follow their advice.

From the point of view of the dhamma (this site), the first thing to do is to quieten your mind.  The way to do it is to concentrate on something neutral and engaging.  There are lots of different options, but one of the easiest is just to focus on the sensation of breathing, and in particular the sensations of the breath that you feel at the tip of your nose.  If you can do that for a few minutes, and build up to 10 minutes at a time, you will make good progress.  Sometimes this leads on to a feeling of rapture or bliss (and this can be quite strong at first).  Don't worry about that if it happens, just enjoy it.  But don't seek it out yet either. Just concentrate on the feeling of breath at the tip of your nose.

I use the Insight Timer from the App Store to help me build up this exercise from a few minutes to longer periods of time.

This is the start of the path that can free you from suffering.  Many other people have followed it successfully.

Love and peace.  Ask again and I will do my best to answer, or somebody else from this site will.  But listen to your psychiatrist first.
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svmonk, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: New to this site and everything heree

Posts: 396 Join Date: 8/23/14 Recent Posts
Dear Claudia,

Welcome to the site!

As Malcom says, the first thing you need to do is listen to your therapist. In particular, if they want to put you on meds, then you should give them a try. You may find that you have a kind of visceral reaction, that you should be able to overcome your depression without them, for example through meditation as you suggest, but for most people who have long term depression, that is extremely difficult to do. On the other hand, you need to be honest with yourself and your therapist and admit if the meds are not helping. Whether meds help or not seems to be genetically determined according to a recent study I read about, and therefore is not due to some kind of character flaw or anything. It just has to do with your genetics. Luckily, people who don't respond to meds do have better success with long term psychotherapy according to the study so if you are on a health plan and can afford it, that might be another option. Please try to remain open and experimental, trying things that your therapist suggests until you find something that helps.

Regarding meditation, the mind states that occur in someone who becomes a dedicated meditator can be very difficult to handle, even for someone who has no history of mental difficulties. Therefore, I'd suggest that you wait until you've worked with your therapist for a couple years and found something that helps before seriously getting into meditation. If you get to that point, you might start looking into going to retreats. There are many excellent retreat centers, but I would advise you to not go to any retreats organized by the Goenka organization. Their retreats have a reputation for causing mental breakdowns even in people without any history of mental difficulties, and even worse for people who have. Unfortunately, they offer their retreats without cost, so they are attractive to people of modest means, but the risk is not worth it. Find a retreat center with qualified teachers, that understand how to handle meditators who are encountering difficulty. Explicitly ask them if they have a process in place for that. Many such centers have scholarships for meditators of modest means.

Above all, cultivate some friendships, eat a balanced diet, avoid excessive alchohol and any drugs, stay hydrated, get plenty of exercise, and get out and enjoy sunny days when they occur in your location. This may sound like your grandmother speaking, but it can go a long way to helping. You also might want to look into the Buddhist practices of ethics and morality. They are something that one can do even if one is not meditating, and they can have a really positive impact on your life and the lives of those around you.

All the best!
Michael, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: New to this site and everything heree

Posts: 19 Join Date: 4/27/16 Recent Posts
Hi Claudia,

As someone who has personally gone through the ringer in regards to psychiatric medication for treating depression, meditation has been the only thing to really help. My own journey has lead me to conclude that our negatives emotions are comparable to physical pain; just as if you have a broken arm you will experience searing pain signaling to us that there is something physically wrong, our emotions are doing the same in regards to our mental state. We are taught in this society that pain and negative emotions are wretched things, and rather than to deal with them we search for an ‘easy’ way out through external stimulation or to deny it through force of will, ignoring that that they’re even there. All the emotional pain you’ve ever experienced that you’ve ever ignored or that has not been resolved is still lingering there underneath the surface waiting to be expressed, it simply needs to aquire an outlet so it can be purged from your system. Open awareness meditation has for me been the most powerful and consistent method for achieving this. Your subconscious is like a stream, constantly bringing up to the surface of the conscious mind negatives thoughts and feelings. If you can learn to sit with your emotions and thoughts without identifying them, acting as a passive observer, and accept everything without question that comes up over time you will experience relief. Although I will state that this is not easy, especially as it requires surrendering to our emotions instead of trying to control them which our culture encourages us to do. Always remember that you can go at your own pace. Working with a therapist that incorporates mindfulness techniques might be a good idea. 
 
Alternatively, emotions can also be worked through somatically. Emotions are not isolated mental events, you are not a disembodied head, you feel and express emotions with your entire body. Your body isn’t just a vehicle to get you from A. to B., your body is a sensory instrument. And in order to ignore our feelings we cut ourselves off from our own bodies through muscular tension or what Wilhelm Reich referred to as Muscular armoring. This is really the basis for body work practices such as Yoga and Qi Gong, massage, and breathing practices such as Pranayama or holotropic breathwork that release these tensions. If you do deicide to pursue meditation eventually you will find these tensions relieve spontaneously, such as experiencing your body involuntarily spasming or jerking for instance, as these tensions are maintained mentally from unconscious behaviours we’ve picked up since childhood. You can however work with them directly through somatic means, which can lead to very rapid emotional release.

I recommend watching this talk by Dr. Gabor Mate about just how interrelated our minds are with our bodies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6IL8WVyMMs

If you do decide to go down the path of medications, you should know that there are no shortcuts. It can take months to know whether a medication is working or not as it usually takes 6 weeks for SSRIS to start showing results, and then usually if the medication does actually provide relief and the dose does not need to be titrated up or down the side effects might out weigh the benefits, and then you need to very gradually come up off the medication and start the process all over again with a new medication. I still vividly remember how agonizing the wait was.

Anyway, I hope you find my post helpful. Feel free to message me for any advice.
 
Recommended Reading:
 
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
In Touch by John J. Prendergast

EDIT: Not going to be baited by Neko's attempts for drama.
neko, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: New to this site and everything heree

Posts: 756 Join Date: 11/26/14 Recent Posts
Female username, instantly gets proposal to exchange messages privately.


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svmonk, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: New to this site and everything heree

Posts: 396 Join Date: 8/23/14 Recent Posts
Gentlemen:

With the recent flame attack of Supreme Maharishi Bhumi 1000 fresh in mind, can we perhaps moderate the tone of our posts somewhat? While by comparing Michael's post with mine you can see that we obviously disagree, I will refrain from commenting  because I think we can leave claudia make up her own mind about what she wants to do.

Seems like Mercury must be in retrograde or something. emoticon

                 
: ladyfrog :, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: New to this site and everything heree

Posts: 38 Join Date: 8/6/13 Recent Posts
Hi Claudia,

Yes its very good to follow up with whatever help you can get in terms of a therapist, and I hope it goes well for you.

If you are interested in buddhist ideas there are a couple ideas I have for books/resources that can be supportive and kind of nourishing.  The type of practice laid out in MCTB is very useful, but it is not inherently stabilizing or soothing, and for some it can be pretty intense.  Given the level of anxiety and depression I had when I began practice, I know this would not have been a good place for me to start, for what it is worth.

I find Thich Nhat Hanh is almost always kind of a comfort, the practices he offers tend to be gentle but still very clear and strong, and still having a very solid basis in buddhist ideas.  His book Fear might be interesting - I have not read it but have read others of his, and have done a lot of the practices that are described in the description such as tending to my difficult emotions as if it were a baby who needed my care.

You mention that some of your issues came from self-loathing.  This book by Cheri Huber called There is Nothing Wrong with You is kind of a mix of a self help / spiritual book written very simply.  It is written by a zen teacher.  I remember reading it very early in my practice when I had a lot of those issues too, and something about it felt both comforting and insightful.  It is not a meditation book really.

If you do find your self drawn to meditate alongside whatever healing work you do, I would recommend very much starting with something that feels soothing, stabilizing, and nurturing.  Once you are ready to try more intense forms of meditation (like that offered in MCTemoticon you will have prepared yourself by building a kind of internal sanctuary or stablilty if you practice that way. 

Just my thoughts!  Best of luck to you - it is possible, what you want, but not easy, so take all the support you find that feels nourishing.

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