Been dealing with the demon depression, so I haven’t posted here much. For one thing, I hate to bring the world down with me. If that were possible, I would hate to do that. For another, just haven’t had the energy to put any thoughts together.
I guess this was precipitated by going to yet another interview, for not a very good contract, which I didn’t get. Once again a failure.
But really, I depressed myself. Or my mind did it to me. The interview was a trigger, which set off a chain reaction, and left me struggling in the muck. The problem is I’ve been here before. So once I start sliding down that slope, it’s very difficult to stop.
One explanation of this is that we have ‘pathways’ in the mind. Certain chemical reactions, and chains of thoughts, that are very well worn because I’ve gone down them so often. Some minor event can set me off, and bang, I go through those pathways like a ball in a pinball game, lighting up the obstacles shame, despair, and helplessness on the way down.
To me, depression feels like an absence of feeling mostly. It’s a state where I lie down a lot, sometimes for hours, not doing anything, not even sleeping. I don’t actually feel much, but any thoughts I have are negative and distorted. For me it’s not a feeling of sadness where I cry – it’s more of an inability to feel and act with a lack of any motivation. It’s a sensation of being a trapped animal, small, helpless and alone.
Luckily, having been here before, after a while I remember I have some resources for these situations, like a rescue kit, previously acquired for just such situations. One of my best resources is a book and CD called The Mindful Way through Depression, by Jon Kabat-Zinn et al.
Today I read just a chapter, where I’d left a bookmark in previously. He talks about minding the body, and about not avoiding discomfort. In yoga, that means not automatically pulling out of a stretch when it feels a little uncomfortable. And also not forcing yourself to do a painful stretch in a military manner (the only way I used to do yoga, and a useless one).
And learning this, we learn to treat the mind similarly. Not pushing away angry feelings, sad feelings, or whatever feelings there are. Not trying not to have the feelings and thoughts. But allowing feelings, gently, and being aware of thoughts, though not encouraging them.
This stuff was just what I needed somehow. After reading about this, I did some yoga and meditation with the accompanying CD. My whole body-mind just calmed right down, and suddenly, bam, the world seemed normal again. I was no longer a small trapped animal. I was just a woman, in a quite decent warm apartment, with food in her fridge, and the possibility of finding work in the future. Just regular.
Such an excellent feeling. Just being an ordinary person in an ordinary world, no longer beset by monsters.
Picture: A prickly plant, shot in Allen Gardens greenhouse in December