Something Has Changed

I’ve written before about dealing with Depression and finally admitting to myself that I needed help. It took a while after all of that for something to actually make me want to get help. I realized that I didn’t want to feel like this anymore and because of the meds I had a glimpse into what could be.

Talk therapy in conjunction with medication has really done wonders for me. I started seeing a therapist at the end of February and was doing 2 sessions a week because I was motivated to find a balance in life and I knew that if I didn’t find that balance that I wouldn’t be able to keep going for much longer. Things had gotten that bad for me. I was reading an old post of mine and I described the way I felt at the time as a pit surrounded by 4 walls and ahead of me was a dark tunnel that I couldn’t see the end of no matter how long I walked. I’m starting to see the light at the end of that tunnel.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m magically cured or have a sunny outlook on things all the time. What it means is that while the negative thoughts are still there I now know how to deal with them, by using one of the tenants of Buddhism called mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and not worrying about things coming in the future. The best example I can give is one by Thich Nhat Hanh:

“While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly: why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing these bowls is a wondrous reality. I’m being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves.”

It really does seem stupidly easy, doesn’t it? Try it. Try focusing on a single task that you’re doing. Focus on it but at the same time realize when your mind starts to wander to something else. Acknowledge that new thought and then re-focus on the task at hand. For me, this is a very difficult task because I’m so used to rushing through what I have to do to get to something that I enjoy doing. I was living my life kind of like Adam Sandler in the movie “Click”. Fast fowarding through all the mundane to get to the good. But when I didn’t have anything good to look forward to the depression took over.

Using mindfulness I now focus on what I’m doing at that moment and my mind does drift but I’m able to catch that wander, acknowledge it with no judgement (I tend to beat myself up quite a bit if I fail at something or don’t live up to my own expectations) using this method of non-judgemental acknowledgement I simply smile at the wandering thought and move back to the task at hand.

For those of you that know me you maybe thinking I’ve lost my mind. Maybe I have, or maybe I’ve become who I’m supposed to be.  I’ll write more on Buddhism later but I’ll wrap this up with another quote:

“Don’t try to use what you learn from Buddhism to become a Buddhist; use it to become a better person.” – The Dali Lama