Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lifting the Fog of Depression - Week 1

Today I spent 40 minutes at the gym engaged in intense cardiovascular exercise.  I enjoy cardio at the gym.  I like the machines.  I like exercising on the machine.  It makes me feel in control.  I control the intensity of the workout.   I control how long I work out.  Using these options, I can control my own body.  The heart rate read out on the treadmill/bike/stair climber is usually what I look at the most.  I am in charge of my heart.  How fast can I make it beat?  I give my heart rate little breaks today by selecting the  Interval workout.  Pushed it to a max of 170, then gave it a break and it chilled out to a cool 154 beats a minute.   

It feels good to control my heart rate in this way, because I sure as fuck can’t seem to control my brain. 

I also engaged in strength training exercises:  lateral obliques, back, and squats.  Post workout:  I feel slightly better.  I still want to burst into tears.  This isn’t me who wants to cry.   This is the parasite of depression that lives in my brain.  Tomorrow I am meeting with my Psychotherapist to start getting this mess sorted out by a professional. 

This week I’ve had good moods and bad moods.  Happy moments and utterly sad moments of despair.  All moods experienced through the sunglasses of this depression.  What I have noticed that my brain is doing is I will get some sort of stimulus from the outside, such as an unreturned text from Bae, and I will feel heartbreakingly-crushing  feelings of anguish and rejection.  My depression is really good at writing horror stories to explain these feelings.   The old tapes of my dysfunctional subconscious get the gears of my thoughts turning like a horrible player piano.

I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts.  I have feelings and emotions but I am not my feelings and emotions. 

My scientific-evidence based methods that I blogged about last week have been slightly successful in lifting the black fog slightly.  It still remains, and it frustrates me.  I know it’s there because I feel it.  It hurts.  I don’t want it there.   

In 2013 I took a spiritual meditation retreat at Sravasti Abbey, a Tibetan Buddhist Monastic community in Eastern Washington.  I had the privilege of hanging out and meditating with a bunch of Tibetan Buddhist nuns.  Some of these nuns had spent decades of 12 hour days in meditation. 
It was so refreshing and different to interact and talk to these monastics.  Their eyes sparkled.  They were smiling and I got this genuine vibe that their intention was to be as helpful as possible.   There was no back and forth weirdness energy of “Uhh, what does this person want…” from them.  They were peaceful.  They were present.  They were with it.  They were there.   These women were EFFERVESCENT BEINGS. 

These women are my ultimate role models right now.  Through perseverance, dedication, and joyous effort they are using the meditation practices of Tibetan Buddhism to change the structure of their brains.  Most of these women are Westerners like me.    If they can, I can! 

I am about to sit down for my evening mediation practice.  Going into battle with the depression in my brain.  I controlled my heart for 40 glorious minutes today.   Now it’s time for me to take charge of my brain.  I have power over my life.  I can make choices to change for the better.  

My mind is like a sponge.  The sponge is in a filthy, germy sink.  The nasty sink water is depression.  With meditation I intend to wring out the disgusting liquid of depression that makes my mind-sponge so dark and heavy.  I am going to transform that sponge into the sky.  Limitless.  Expansive.   Light.   Everything changes.   It is always the present moment.  Wish me luck.  Thank you for reading.  And if you have depression yourself, gentle reader, know this:  you are not alone.  And I love you. 

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