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Author Topic: Your Path--And Your Mental Disorder  (Read 23185 times)
Finn
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« Reply #30: October 15, 2010, 02:28:03 pm »

So yes, my depression has had a significant impact on my spirituality in as much as it is intricately tied up with who I am and that in turn is the basis of what I believe. I would never be able to look at the world the way I do today if I hadn't been that empty or if that wasn't still something that was a part of me.

Yes. THIS. Thanks so much for saying this, Kas.
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« Reply #31: October 15, 2010, 04:44:05 pm »

However, my history of depression has had a huge effect on who I have become, on who I am when I am not depressed, and on how I live so as to keep out of that hole. And in that sense, my depression has had a huge impact on my spirituality.

This is similar to how I view my own depression in relation to my spirituality. I see it as my own personal journey to the underworld, and each bout or trip is necessary to gather more knowledge.

Being depressed gives me insight on life. It allows me to see things that others won't, or can't. I get accused of being a pessimist a lot, until I'm proven right. And being depressed gives me the strength to be there for my friends when life sideswipes them. It gives me the strength to look at the darker side of life without flinching. I fully believe that if it were not for the depression and the events that triggered and fuelled it, I would still be the hyper-sensitive little girl I was, who couldn't handle the barest upset without throwing a tantrum. I wouldn't be on this path that I'm on, and I wouldn't be preparing myself to train as a priestess. I wouldn't know myself as I do -- I wouldn't trust my intuition, which has saved my life on more than one occasion. Depression saved my life as much as it took it away. It's a double-edged sword.

Nowadays a huge part of my spiritual work is to face my depression, own it, and get past the parts of it that hinder me -- I'm specifically focusing on cleansing myself of the idea that I'm not worthy, and all that internalized self-loathing and judgement that has been a part of me so long I'm not sure what it's like to not think those things constantly, or feel a constant guilt for how horrible I make others' lives. There's a lot of crap to work through. I need to take it one step at a time.

I don't know if I'll ever fully get rid of my depression, and you know -- that's okay with me. If I can get to a point where I can function without the anti-depressants (which I found have aggravated my anxiety issues and prevented me from very much creativity), that's a huge victory. If I no longer spend the day thinking about how much I hate myself and how horrible I am, that's also a victory. And if I can do it without lapsing back into alcoholism (4 months sober), that would be the icing on the cake.


There's more I'd like to say about the specifics of how my path and my disorders intersect, but I can't handle it right now. I will attempt later.
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« Reply #32: October 15, 2010, 05:21:26 pm »

However, my history of depression has had a huge effect on who I have become, on who I am when I am not depressed, and on how I live so as to keep out of that hole. And in that sense, my depression has had a huge impact on my spirituality.

This is another time where my experience with depression is different, because I don't feel like it informs anything in my life when I am not depressed. I am not my depression, my depression is not me. That is- there are a lot of things that I am, a lot of labels that are appropriate to stick to me, that inform my sense of self. I am a daughter, I am a writer, I am a cat lover, I am an Alice in Wonderland geek; these are parts of my self. Depression is not one of those things. I am depressed, yes, but it is no more relevant to my sense of self than having the flu.
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« Reply #33: October 15, 2010, 06:20:57 pm »

This is another time where my experience with depression is different, because I don't feel like it informs anything in my life when I am not depressed. I am not my depression, my depression is not me. That is- there are a lot of things that I am, a lot of labels that are appropriate to stick to me, that inform my sense of self. I am a daughter, I am a writer, I am a cat lover, I am an Alice in Wonderland geek; these are parts of my self. Depression is not one of those things. I am depressed, yes, but it is no more relevant to my sense of self than having the flu.

This.  Thank you, Juni, for once again articulating that which I could not.  Depression has affected me in significant and life-changing ways, but it is not who I am. 

I'll also note that there is nothing about my current diagnosis of Major Depression, nor past diagnoses of bipolar disorder (which were most likely inaccurate) that has been beneficial to my spirituality...unless you want to count the perseverance it takes to work around feeling empty and listless in order to practice.
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« Reply #34: October 15, 2010, 07:38:10 pm »

...unless you want to count the perseverance it takes to work around feeling empty and listless in order to practice.
What put's you at that place if you don't mind my asking.  If you'd rather not be specific that's alright.

When I had a ridiculously bad run in my mid twenties, all the fallout of some not so great decisions came crashing in all at once.  I had been working with some friends who were a husband wife Reiki team, and what the guy said about my state at that point was a serious point for understanding. 

"She's beside herself" is what he told his wife, and when she gave him an odd look, his response was, she's not in her body energetically.  Which is absolutely accurate.  I do it at the dentist, I do it when getting tattooed, as a kid I used cutting and inflicting pain as a way to push myself outside of myself.  I did it for all of the years of not talking.  Checking out at will.  I did it because what was in front of me was too painful to touch.  My body had to process something on a level that my mind/spirit didn't want to touch with a ten foot pole, or needed to take in increments.

I think sometimes though, once you check out it get's progressively harder and harder to go back in if you're not actively working at it.  It's like addiction.  Who in their right mind wants to have to go through what's in the body waiting for you, but will keep you from experiencing any sort of pleasure in the senses if you don't.  It's a healing cycle, but only if you don't let it consume you (which I'd gather you're already familiar with - but this is where I tie it into spirituality.)

This too will pass and having the strength to do absolutely nothing about it, it's like having your hand on a hot stove, to be at that place where every fiber of your being wants to be undone, where you want to rant and scream and kill things, where you have nothing but rage and no power to use it to change the situation, and no target but yourself and to sit down and just sit with it while it marinates your senses when you would rather unleash things to tear down the sky. 

the universe heard and didn't do a god be damned thing.  All the hey, lets pound a pillow, or assign words to wholesale the emotion into chunks to be digested by the slow minds of people who don't really give a damn meant nothing.

Stick to the pattern.  Be the universe.

Checking out was a way of coping and protecting me from me, but spirituality was what helped me learn to come back to the situation at hand.  It's like learning to live with asthma.  If you're moving air, you're alive and it's all good you just have to find the things you have to do to keep doing it.
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« Reply #35: October 15, 2010, 07:42:08 pm »

This is another time where my experience with depression is different, because I don't feel like it informs anything in my life when I am not depressed. I am not my depression, my depression is not me. That is- there are a lot of things that I am, a lot of labels that are appropriate to stick to me, that inform my sense of self. I am a daughter, I am a writer, I am a cat lover, I am an Alice in Wonderland geek; these are parts of my self. Depression is not one of those things. I am depressed, yes, but it is no more relevant to my sense of self than having the flu.

I'm not saying that my depression is me. Almost the opposite actually. Having been (and still having a tendency to become) depressed makes me look at life when I am not depressed in a way which is very much the polar opposite of emptiness. My depression has made me less content to simply be and more driven to really live. My depression is not who I am, but it has informed who I am. Does this make sense?
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« Reply #36: October 15, 2010, 07:53:27 pm »


It does. I guess I approach it differently; my depression is not important enough to have an impact on who I am, and I have trouble imagining it another way.
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ScorpioMoon
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« Reply #37: October 15, 2010, 07:57:45 pm »

It does. I guess I approach it differently; my depression is not important enough to have an impact on who I am, and I have trouble imagining it another way.

I get seasonal depression every year starting in early September and lasting until March - or about half the year. Every year. I'm going to be 60 soon. That's a long time to feel depressed. I'm talking serious depression. Lots of thoughts of ways to end it, permanently. How could that not have an impact on who I am? I'm guessing yours wasn't that deep or prolongued?
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« Reply #38: October 15, 2010, 08:04:53 pm »


I have seasonal depression, and I was diagnosed with major depression ten years ago. I have been in and out of therapy that entire decade, attempted numerous medications, and considered suicide regularly. Just because I don't believe a screw-up of chemicals in my brain, and a handful of traumatic experiences in my past have the right or ability to dictate who I am as a person has no bearing on the depth or seriousness of my illness.
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Ellen M.
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« Reply #39: October 15, 2010, 08:06:58 pm »

I get seasonal depression every year starting in early September and lasting until March - or about half the year. Every year. I'm going to be 60 soon. That's a long time to feel depressed. I'm talking serious depression. Lots of thoughts of ways to end it, permanently. How could that not have an impact on who I am? I'm guessing yours wasn't that deep or prolongued?

Er... I'm not Juni obviously, but I would caution against assuming (or even simply guessing) about the length and severity of someone's mental illness. Depression can manifest in a variety of ways, and that combined with the personality of the individual in question can affect how depression is thought of. If someone doesn't think depression is who they are, it may mean they just have a different sense of self than you - not that their depression wasn't "deep or prolonged".
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« Reply #40: October 15, 2010, 11:32:23 pm »

I will soon be taking refuge (a process roughly similar to conversion) at the Buddhist Temple I attend....

A lotus for you, Buddha-to-be! I am sending you warm thoughts. May your conversion and refuge bring you peace!
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« Reply #41: October 15, 2010, 11:36:19 pm »

I have seasonal depression, and I was diagnosed with major depression ten years ago. I have been in and out of therapy that entire decade, attempted numerous medications, and considered suicide regularly. Just because I don't believe a screw-up of chemicals in my brain, and a handful of traumatic experiences in my past have the right or ability to dictate who I am as a person has no bearing on the depth or seriousness of my illness.

This confused me for a moment; what we have been through molds us into the people we are today. We are dictated by the choices and instances which we have experienced. What do you mean when you say that you don't believe that your chemical imbalance or traumatic experiences have any bearing? Are you saying, the bad parts don't control you?
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« Reply #42: October 15, 2010, 11:47:14 pm »

This confused me for a moment; what we have been through molds us into the people we are today. We are dictated by the choices and instances which we have experienced. What do you mean when you say that you don't believe that your chemical imbalance or traumatic experiences have any bearing? Are you saying, the bad parts don't control you?

Not Juni, but there are a lot of people who do not let those things define who they are.  I guess those people just don't see any appeal in something that completely cripples one's ability to function or have any sort of positive interaction with other people.
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« Reply #43: October 15, 2010, 11:51:39 pm »

Not Juni, but there are a lot of people who do not let those things define who they are.  I guess those people just don't see any appeal in something that completely cripples one's ability to function or have any sort of positive interaction with other people.

Must be nice!
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« Reply #44: October 16, 2010, 07:44:55 am »

A lotus for you, Buddha-to-be! I am sending you warm thoughts. May your conversion and refuge bring you peace!

 Cheesy Thanks.
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