Dealing with Depression

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Dealing with Depression

Postby Northern Light » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:47 pm

Hi,

I was sondering if any members suffer with Depression, and if so, how their practice affects their depression (...or vice versa).

I suffer from long-term depression and have been having a very low spot since December. I find that meditation (particularly Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana practices) really help the symptoms of depression in the short term, but the problem is, my depression lowers my motivation to actually meditate.

So it's a bit of a viscious circle, or 'catch 22'.

The worst part about my depression is that it causes deep feelings of loneliness and isolation. They're not rational - I have a lovely wife and 3 kids, a small number of good sincere friends, and a good life. But that is the crux of the illness - it's not raional; it's clinical.

Anyway, I wasn't intending to turn this into a councelling session :tantrum: :lol: but was just wondering if depression affects any other Buddhists here?
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
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My lifetime outlook: "...just take the good.... there is always bad..... but just take the good". :)
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Re: Dealing with Depression

Postby reddust » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:27 pm

I've worked through the ups and downs of so called depression, had a pretty bad one in my early 20s after I had two kids back to back and was homeless for a time, triggered old memories of child abuse I went through. My story is kind of long though, I am old and been through a lot of ups and downs that life throws at ya. The only things that really helped me is knowing life changes, kids/spouse/job can drive you crazy if you let them, exercise, eating whole organic foods, No TV, read good books, hang out with good people, avoid drugs and booze, drink pure water, moderate exercise and getting to know yourself really well. I've been through the medical/psychological industrial health maze as well. Didn't come out any better than I went in but I know more about what doesn't work for me regarding that. I no longer play the victim, I take responsibility for my life. My kids are grown and very healthy, they learned from me what to do to stay happy and healthy through my struggles. Also I take depression as a natural part of being human, I don't run from it or roll in it. I have little tricks I've learned so I won't fall into the deep dark depression I experienced in my early 20s. I've never felt lonely though, I like being alone. I also did group therapy with survivors of child abuse, I did feel lonely and isolated dealing with those issues. Being with people who are working towards positive goals who have gone through what I have was very helpful and I didn't feel so alone knowing other people have gone through what I did and are living a good life.

Hope this helps...Oh and it really helps if you act like you are your best friend, an advocate for yourself, take care of yourself as if you are your own child. :namaste:
Mind and mental events are concepts, mere postulations within the three realms of samsara Longchenpa .... A link to my Garden, Art and Foodie blog Scratch Living
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Re: Dealing with Depression

Postby Northern Light » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:46 pm

Great post Reddust, thanks for sharing a bit of your story. It's a strange thing depression, and also it's really only an umbrella term. With what you have been through I think anyone could have developed depression in some form. I don't really have that backdrop to rationalize my depression. Apart from one very disturbing incident 12 years ago, I've really had a smooth ride in life so far. But when the 'black dog' comes by my side, it's very real. My Doctor has said that my depression is down to naturally low levels of seratonin and dopamine in the brain. (I have some other side symptoms that support that, such as tics, which are evidence of low dopamine levels and which often sit alongside clinical depression).

But your outlook is great - there certainly is nothing to gain in acting like the victim. In my case, victim of what? :) I would note that when my mental health is good, I too LOVE being alone. I love solitude and my own company. But when I'm having a hard time with the depression, I just get a real feeling of isolation and loneliness. It doesn't even correlate with whether I am around people or not.

My doctor said eating a diet rich in Trypophan (Turkey, Chicken, Poultry) could help a lot in my case - not much good when I turned veggie on 31 December! :oops:
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
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My lifetime outlook: "...just take the good.... there is always bad..... but just take the good". :)
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Re: Dealing with Depression

Postby reddust » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:08 pm

I think the victim in my case is dealing with my own inner world more than my external world. I victimized myself through my choices and behavior. Greens are my upper, lots and lots of dark green leafy greens, they are better than any pill I've tried. I also hear mineral supplements help. There is Doctor I like his name is Mark Hyman, he runs are very commercial type website but his data worked for me. Especially the detox program. Also you can look up Green For Life it's a raw food site that I use.

That's interesting your mental health is okay, you like being alone. But the depression is hard to deal with. I have the same issue with my old wounds from abuse. Many may never heal but they fade with time. I still trigger once in awhile. I know I am depressed when I lose interest in the things I like to do and I feel very fatigued. That's when I have little tricks to help until it fades away.

Who knows many of our problems or conditioning may be from past life experiences too. Either way you have to deal with them. Make friends with your black dog :tongue: I use mine to hoe the garden :D

I am an artist as well, I feel all sorts of weird when working on my art all day :thinking: and go up and down with the evolution of my work. I found no permanent relief except in the knowing that things change constantly.

What if you are okay? What would it feel like if there was nothing to fix regarding yourself? I like to ponder on that, it makes me smile. :heart:
Last edited by reddust on Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dealing with Depression

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:08 pm

Northern Light wrote:My doctor said eating a diet rich in Trypophan (Turkey, Chicken, Poultry) could help a lot in my case - not much good when I turned veggie on 31 December! :oops:


No problem, there are lots of vegetarian foods rich in Tryptophan, like cashews, avocados, milk, cheese, dates, figs :smile:

P.S.:

oh yes, and as to your original question, I think my signature speaks for itself ... Buddhism helps me to take my depressions with humour, and Douglas Adams, of course ;)
Last edited by ReasonAndRhyme on Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dealing with Depression

Postby reddust » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:19 pm

At least you have some people to talk to here that understand :namaste:
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Re: Dealing with Depression

Postby Northern Light » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:47 pm

reddust wrote:Make friends with your black dog :tongue: I use mine to hoe the garden :D


Ha ha! I'll try that ;)

It's great to hear from you both, and about your experiences with depression. I hope others will join in too (assuming there are others); I find that talking about experiences like this (even in e-form) really does help.

If nothing else, you see evidence that other people are juggling this stuff and these feelings too. :group:
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
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My lifetime outlook: "...just take the good.... there is always bad..... but just take the good". :)
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Re: Dealing with Depression

Postby Matt J » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:54 pm

When I first started, I had similar problems. My solution was to set aside a mediation time, every day, where I would sit in a meditation posture no matter what.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/
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Re: Dealing with Depression

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:00 pm

Northern Light wrote:Hi,

I was sondering if any members suffer with Depression, and if so, how their practice affects their depression (...or vice versa).

I suffer from long-term depression and have been having a very low spot since December. I find that meditation (particularly Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana practices) really help the symptoms of depression in the short term, but the problem is, my depression lowers my motivation to actually meditate.

So it's a bit of a viscious circle, or 'catch 22'.

The worst part about my depression is that it causes deep feelings of loneliness and isolation. They're not rational - I have a lovely wife and 3 kids, a small number of good sincere friends, and a good life. But that is the crux of the illness - it's not raional; it's clinical.

Anyway, I wasn't intending to turn this into a councelling session :tantrum: :lol: but was just wondering if depression affects any other Buddhists here?


I think I mainly was drawn to the Dharma due to depression and anxiety. Fear and anxiety is one of the things that draws people to take refuge i've been told.

You can say the fears are not rational, but actually in some sense they are very "rational" because they are dukkha. Far as the meditation, if it has the effect of keeping you from dropping off into depression land, then just keep it up as much as you can, make priority even if it means sitting there bored or upset, use the boredom or depressed feelings as an object (probably best done with actual instruction) That means, if you don't have a sangha- go find one, IME a support system, teacher(s), and mediation that you actually look forward to makes all the difference between motivating you to practice or not.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Dealing with Depression

Postby Northern Light » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:24 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:if you don't have a sangha- go find one, IME a support system, teacher(s), and mediation that you actually look forward to makes all the difference between motivating you to practice or not.


Thanks. I'm lucky to have 2 Sanghas that I can feed into. One is specific Pure Land, (Amida UK) and one is a meditation sangha run by Dhammakaya International (pure Samatha meditation). But I am new to both, so haven't developed close friendships there yet. But I'm sure once I've integrated into them more, they'll give some great support and will help with periods of low mood, such as now.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
Nichiren Buddhist.
My lifetime outlook: "...just take the good.... there is always bad..... but just take the good". :)
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Re: Dealing with Depression

Postby Ayu » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:44 am

I'm the melancholic type since my childhood.
I think it is also because I'm half swedish an I never really felt like being at home in Germany. So my whole life I tried to figure out remedies against these depressive phases. I found out this:
- The most helpful medicine for me is WALKING outside every day. Get daylight, it is like food or water. Even if it is a grey and rainy day the direct daylight is extremely beneficial.
- I stopped dramatizing this sadness. I take it like weather, it is comeing and going.
- Starting to think positive had an amazing effect. There are always good and bad sides of the things and affairs. If I start becoming sad, I try not to focus on the bad aspects but to find the good sides.
- Also I stopped to register what I failed to manage that day but to make a list in the evening what i have done. This is very positive and honest and stoppes me in putting myself down.

:smile: For further information: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=11132

Northern Light wrote:...
My doctor said eating a diet rich in Trypophan (Turkey, Chicken, Poultry) could help a lot in my case - not much good when I turned veggie on 31 December! :oops:


And I think, being vegetarian is also a very good diet against depression. Overeating with less vegetables and fruits leads to bad mental-physical feelings, i found out for me.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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