Winning

So my depression talks. Just like you and me. I have a running dialog with it all the time. That is why I am seeking out meditation, because I believe that I can quiet that voice down, maybe even shut it the hell up.

One of the greatest stories depression tells me starts when I go on antidepressants.  As soon as I start feeling better, depression says,

“hey, you know these meds you are taking? You think they make you feel good, but really you are missing out on life. You might not be depressed, but you are not happy either. The medication takes all emotion out of life and what is life worth living if you don’t feel anything?”

I then stop taking the medication and I spiral down into a hole.

Depression tells me another story too, it’s a bit simpler, but basically he says,

“HEY!!!!! Did you notice how great you feel????  You don’t need those crappy antidepressants anymore…YOU ARE OVER THE HUMP!”

and then…I stop taking them.

It’s a cycle I’ve been unable to break since I’ve started treatment when I was 19. My last cycle was years ago and when I stopped the last time, I said I was never going to go back on medication again because I’d rather suffer than play the on / off game. These past four years have been the hardest of my life and I haven’t went back to the medicine.

That was until the medical drama that started this year and I needed help. I promised myself when I asked for the pills that I would stop playing that game. That no matter how much shit depression talks, I know I am sick and I need these medications. For life.

****

So meditation has been going fabulously. Things are clicking and I’m feeling like this has been a missing piece of my life. I sit down to meditate around 9:00 every evening and some days I may even sit back and enjoy a guided session beyond that. It has been nothing short of wonderful.

On Saturday I sat down for my session and my mind starts to wander. I push through the session and I’m happy, but I felt somewhat of an emptiness. I didn’t recognize it until Sunday, but depression was at work trying to fuck up this good thing that was taking over my life.

Sunday I sit down for my session and I have the shittiest session again and this time I hear depressions voice,

“Hey, you know these problems you are having these last few sessions?  Yeah, it’s the meds. They are stopping you from really exploring the benefits of meditation. This is the extent of what you are ever going to feel from meditation unless you stop taking the meds or quit meditating. You decide, but something has got to give.”

And this is where I stayed all day. His voice just running through my head all day.

Tonight is my meditation class and depression tried talking me out of going, but I plugged through and made it to class. During one of our exercises, our instructor started the session by reading a disclaimer about how meditation should never replace therapy, and what we are doing should never be considered therapy. He explained to us that he was going to ask us to go the “that place”. You know the uncomfortable place at the pit of your gut that is raw and ugly and sparks all your sadness.

Oh, I know that place well and I go to it instantly.

I close my eyes and I see my 19 year old self, in the living room of my apartment up at school. I’m on the phone with my mom, the health insurance card in my hand, I’m telling her how sick I am with my depression and that I needed to come home.

I felt nothing. I couldn’t bring myself to feel the pain we were reaching for.

“You can’t bring it up because of the medication.” says depression.

Damn, I think to myself. Depression might be right. This is my trigger. This is my place. This is the defining moment of my life. My mom failed to tell my dad I was sick, and when he found out I had failed out of school, kicked me to the street.

I realize this story wasn’t working so I went to my second heaviest place of pain.

I was just beat by someone I love. I locked myself in the bathroom and I was black and blue, crying, leaning over the sink. I looked in the mirror and all I saw was my mom in the reflection. The sight makes me cry harder. I’ve repeated the cycle.

Nothing. I feel nothing!

The instructor rings the bell, everyone opens their eyes and a box of tissues is placed in the center of the room for anyone that feels the need to clean up a bit from the experience.

I sulk.

I cross my arms and mope the rest of the class. Depression dances in my head, not just with a ribbon, but he’s got a trophy too…he fucking won and he feels like a million bucks.

The class starts wrapping up and the instructor tells us a story.

He’s at the park with his granddaughter, she is 3-4 years old. They start racing to an imaginary finish line and when they arrive she stumbles a bit a falls over, but not hard enough to cause any type of pain or injury. He goes to pick her up and she starts sobbing uncontrollably. He knows that her crying is about something greater than her fall and they eventually calm her down enough to ask her questions and she tells them that she was crying because she was a big girl and big girls don’t fall like that. He explains to the class, we could have done a lot of things in this moment, we could have assured her that she was a big girl. We could have told her to brush it off and go play, but we didn’t…we just held her.

The tears start streaming down my face and I sit in silence, hoping the rest of the class doesn’t see me crying. My heart is so heavy it feels like a weight is sitting on my heart.

Our instructor tells us to close our eyes and as I sit and meditate, the tears stream down my cheeks and start collecting on my chest in a pool. When the session is over, I wipe my face, blow my nose. I tell depression that it can fuck off and it can shove that trophy up his ass.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Winning

  1. Having been on medication for 20 + years minus when I was pregnant/breastfeeding I know how much it helps and how important it is to take it and not go off because you are feeling better. Right now I am weaning off but not because I feel better but because I want to see how I feel off because I have been on it for so many years that I don’t even know what my normal is. Some days I feel OK. Some days I actually feel quite good. Most days I just feel neutral. And I still have bad days. I wonder if you allow yourself to glean the benefits of medication for right now and say… for the next 6 months. You are going through so much and don’t need to be spending time deciding whether or not you should be taking it. There are so few side effects with today’s medication and the benefits outweigh the risks. In 6 months reevaluate. It will not be a bad thing if you have to be on medication for years.

    The thing I have learned about meditation is it not a goal that you reach. It is this realization that starts with just noticing things (like anxiety that you may be holding or maybe a bug crawling on the sidewalk or your hands being cold) once in a while then you start noticing these things more often. The spaces in between come closer together and then you are aware a good part of the time. You still drift into auto-pilot but you know you have been there. For me, mediation hasn’t been the answer, at least not the first part of the answer. It is being Mindful. That has been the answer. And you are moving to that place. All you have written is showing that you are being Mindful! How great is that? A few months ago you didn’t even know that you weren’t being Mindful but now you do! Yay!

    One last thing. It is really, really hard to not believe Depression when it speaks but it is a lying fuck. All these thing it says to you that make you feel sad and defeated are lies. You are a strong and amazing woman. You might not believe it because Depression has its grip on you but it is true. You are doing and will continue to do great things.

  2. Birdie is spot on with what she said about mindfulness. It was a huge catalyst for me and actually helped me recognize when I am moving towards an anxiety attack. I am often mindful enough that I do not take medication for the attacks because I am actually able to move away from them. They are not depression, though. I know this is a rare example, I fully support medication, and hope you continue on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s