“‘What to do?’
thought to myself.
“Should I continue to suffer for two more years in this way?
Do I want to welcome my anxiety?
Did I decide to give up the need to ward off, get rid of or combat it?
I was finally able to deal with it and use it as a support for my mindfulness and meditation.
I was thrilled to experience it for the first time in my life.
The first thing that happened was that the panic was suspended in consciousness.
The surface was fear, but underneath it was an awareness that was holding it.
The reason for this is that the first step in ending the cycle of anxiety mind is to reconnect to the present.” Yogymingyur Rinpoche
I’ve been suffering from depression and anxiety for at least 15 years.
I can’t think of a time when I did not.
They both nearly killed me, but I’ve discovered that coping with them instead of fighting them is far more fortunate in that it brings relief.
Thankfully, at no point did I engage in suicidal thoughts.
However, I would be lying to claim that I didn’t have suicidal thoughts.
It wasn’t in the sense of making plans, but the idea did sneak into my mind, and for a short time, it was utterly overwhelming.
I also reached a point where I didn’t care if I passed away.
Alcohol was a crutch, and bizarrely it could have saved my life.
The only time I thought of ending everything, I passed the pub after leaving work, went inside and got extremely drunk.
I reached a point where I could not do anything more harm to myself, and my euphoria caused my wife to tell me that I needed urgent assistance.
To pinpoint the exact reason I began experiencing depression and anxiety is the same as trying to find mercury using an axe.
It’s also impossible to pinpoint when I began to experience it.
I’m sure I’ve been an anxious person right as early as my childhood.
In many ways, I had an excellent upbringing. I was blessed with loving parents.
We weren’t a wealthy family however, we weren’t struggling also.
We always had enough meals to go around while I was cosy, clothed and loved.
However, the situation wasn’t ideal since my father had to leave home often.
He was doing it in order to feed his family and us. I’m extremely proud of his work and not in any way angry.
However, the move did create a gap within the home and put an extra burden on my mother, and possibly I’m having separation issues due to it.
My parents were strict in regards to their behaviour.
I can see this today as the reason I am who I am now. They helped me develop strong values, and for that, I am very grateful.
It was not always easy to meet my dad and mum’s expectations; However, it was not easy to meet their expectations.
I recall being anxious often and experiencing a fear of being bullied.
When compared to what children must endure, I’m feeling a bit stupid for saying this, but I’m trying to explain my anxieties later.
The stigma of bullying was a constant friend throughout my early years.
Name-calling, snark, and physical abuse left an indelible impression.
I still vividly recall the agony of being submerged in a different, bigger, older child’s spit.
The primary concern of my critics included the notion that I am “ugly”, “nobody would ever fancy me,” and that I’d “never find a girlfriend.”
I was able to debunk all three of these as an adult. Perhaps I am “ugly,” but, truthfully, as a happily married man, so long as my wife doesn’t believe that I’m ugly, I’m not sure if it is a big deal.
What’s important, however, are the marks that this taunting has left. I’ve never really recovered my confidence following these events.
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I’m not sure if I can be confident, and they have caused me to become hard on myself, which leads to anxiety and depressed thoughts.
Perhaps it was the constant bullies that caused my anxiety and depression.
I’ve experienced brutal, threatening behaviour in my adulthood too, and I feel an element of vulnerability in me when confronted with such assaults.
Additionally, I’m a conscious view of justice and hate the idea of it being eroded.
However, I’ve not been able to definitively identify bullying as the reason for my sometimes low mental health and how you can heal your life?
In the absence of the capacity to make that determination, I’m convinced that I’m headed to have depression and anxiety remain with me throughout my life.
It may sound like a negative statement, but the reality isn’t quite as grim as that last sentence could suggest.
And the reasons for this are something I’m able to point to.
My GPs have treated me for years for depression but never made reference to anxiety.
After my detour from suicidal ideas through alcohol, my wife demanded that I visit the A&E Department at our local hospital.
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Then, finally, an attentive doctor examined me and made a preliminary diagnosis of anxiety that could lead to depression.
He also suggested actions I could take in conjunction with using medication to assist in recovery.
From all the recommendations that my doctor provided me, the recommendation that was most helpful in my recovery was to sit and meditate.
I’d dismissed meditation in my earlier times being “hocus pocus,” laughing at it and making fun of it.
A part of me responded positively to the idea at the time, and I’m eternally thankful for that.
The hospital, in addition, gave me a list of sites where I could look for helpful methods for meditation.
Apps, recordings, videos. I decided that I could not lose anything and the entire world to gain. I began following their instructions.
I sifted through the materials that my doctor provided me within just a few days. It convinced me this might actually help me.
I was still depressed and anxious, but during the time of my meditation, I experienced, for the first time in my life I felt a genuine sense of peace that wasn’t fueled by alcohol.
Uncertain of where else to find meditation guided, something stuck in my brain, and I thought:
“I am sure Buddhism has something to do with meditating.
” I was on YouTube and entered “Buddhist meditation” and got overwhelming results.
This was the beginning of my journey of mindfulness.
Meditation hasn’t magically cured my depression and anxiety.
Like I said, I’m still living with these issues.
However, it did provide some light which I knew I could more easily deal with them and add a dimension to my existence that had been missing for many years.
I’m not sure what the effects of meditation have been for me. I do know that it has.
I’ve discovered the fact that brains are plastic organs. The brain can develop and evolve with time.
The idea that exercises such as meditation can help create new, healthier, and more efficient neural pathways is logical to me.
It’s as if the changes have occurred subconsciously.
The only thing I realize is that because of my meditation often, I’m calmer and more prepared to handle crises better than I used to be.
After I started meditating as a regular habit and began to look into Buddhist philosophical theories, they were the ones that did for me, and it is possible to reap the same advantages from other philosophical approaches, including religious ones and non-religious ones. One of the ideas I came across was not fighting the negative emotion but instead embracing them.
This isn’t logical.
If we experience a sensation that we aren’t happy with or feel uncomfortable about, be it depression, anxiety, or any other unpleasant feeling, we instinctively seek to avoid it.
This can only increase the intensity of the surface but will not help relieve it.
Maybe that’s the reason why people are trapped in negative cycles.
They battle the discomfort and, in turn, strengthen it, which is why they fight it the more. And so, it goes into a vicious circle.
Instead of acknowledging emotions and then letting them flow and accepting that it’s not necessarily wrong, it’s simply an emotion, it makes it less painful.
One of the first people I was able to hear speak about this issue included Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, whose quote I cited earlier.
He often talks about how revealing it was for his panic attacks, and it has proved to be true for me in my depression and anxiety.
It was this lovely captivating Nepalese Buddhist who got me interested in meditation.
I particularly remember the time I came across the video ” A Guided Meditation on the Body, Space, and Awareness with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche” on YouTube.
With his kind and humorous style, it was like I felt his arms guiding me as I was guided through the entire process.
Even though I have been meditating every day over the past several years, I go back to this video whenever I feel I have to go back to the basics.
The notion that depression and anxiety will rise, come back, and leave me is not something I can do.
But they aren’t bothering me anymore, and I’ve learned how to manage them.
I’d like to wish them “good riddance” if they packed their bags and left; however, they aren’t a threat.
I am with them, and they won’t stop me from enjoying an enjoyable life.
There are many online resources that discuss the concept of a new one and offer guided meditations on the subject.
Certain are spiritual or religious, but many are entirely secular.
This is an idea that can be utilized by anyone in any format they want.
My life has transformed as a result of these simple steps.
I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I consider this as evidence that anyone suffering similarly can find joy.
I’d lie if I claimed that it’s not hard work or that there aren’t times that are more challenging than other times; however, it’s worth it.
In the wake of these changes, I was able to quit drinking alcohol more than three years ago.
This also has benefited my mental well-being. Also, I noticed that I felt more relaxed after drinking less, but that does not mean that being a teetotaler can be a cure for ill health and you can heal yourself.
Many people discover that drinking a glass of beer or wine can improve their mood, and if this is your situation, you should try it.
This article is not a prescription for health its all about how you can heal yourself.
I do not believe that anyone has the formula to improve your health because it’s dependent on the person, and I am not sure that two people will ever discover that what works for one is the same as the second.
If this text provides some hope and nothing else, writing it is worth the effort.