Depression – Coming up from Downed Under…
Physically… most depressed individuals see the world from an oppressed view, and by that I mean through the brow-beaten view from sunken eye sockets. A wounded vision. As if there is a façade of negative energy lethargically preventing them from being vigorous and happy. Facial muscles stiffened and insensitive, often appear lost at conversations and deliver what frequently felt to be phony and pretentious smiles. The pressure surrounding both eye sockets spoils the fluid movements of the eyeballs, limiting their gaze, retarding their vivacity and often compelling them to stare downwards or away into the distant. Observing these individuals from afar, their eyes appear significantly minute than usual, almost to the point of closing or squinting. Bodily movements are clumsy, unfocused, forgetful and sometimes defensive… and will repeatedly interrupt conversations at moments of point making. Typical daily conversations are bland, short and at times incomprehensible.
Behaviorally…. she/he talks insecurely and principally subjects of self-scolding rather than self important… and ever rarely touching the subjects of heart. Living a non-progressive lifestyle consumed by repeated routines like a heavy truck stuck in a deep muddy rut, except worse… believing that being stuck is the escape. Should others attempt to point out sensitive matters to him/her, it would be seen as an invasion of inner sanctuary, only that during depressive peroid… the individual experience defenselessness against incoming fire. Advices of good intention can also be interpreted as imminent protrusion. Acts of kindness or help are consistently refused and turned away. A lot of time, the individual employs deflection methods, derailing the subjects of discussion off course while trying to maintain their poker-faced pretense… which further irritate those in direct contact with him/her. S/he loses capacity to multi-task, slow to act, hates interruption and oversleeping burrow itself deep into habit. All that what used to be shiny gold are now coiled up into smelly black turd. Living becomes more like dying.
Mentally… persons with depression experience impeding liveliness… they dwell in guilt, self-pity, self-loathing, revolving around low self esteems and speak with diminutive opinions. Entangled in looping ideas of decadence nature… they are just barely surviving in a world of mental throbbing delusions. Feeling lost, adrift, invisible, worthless and inferior… the phrase “When you smile, the whole world smiles with you” no longer applies, since there seem to be nothing to smile about. Positive cheers & stimuli aren’t recorded at the scenes, but negative ones are… such as encouragements from friends & colleagues befall unnoticed, however the abuses are captured instantly and replayed back time and time again to corrupt the mind sending it spiraling into the black hole, sucking energies from any who tries to help. Meditation practice declines from little to none at all, as one feels s/he lacks ability to concentrate. Any contemplative wisdom once existed, that used to sever mental suffering like a sharp blade now blunt and useless against negative thoughts & feelings pounding away like an angry throbbing backseat driver… slowly but surely, they feel insanity just around the corner.
There was a story once told to me by a Royal Clairvoyant of Thailand… of a man being stalked and pounded in the head by a ghost. She first saw him waiting at the crossing as her traffic light just turned red… with another much taller green skinny ghost standing behind him pounding away at his brains, and although the man’s reactions appear normal, he has a serious headache. As her car came to a full stop at the light the man along with other pedestrians crossed the road and the large green creature followed, staying close enough to him and continuously thumping away. “Hey! Why are you doing that?” She queried the tall green creature. “Dunno!” the green ghost paused briefly and turned his head to answer her question, then continued to seek and destroy the poor man’s brains again. “He’s been doing it for so long that he forgot why he’s doing it now.” Said the Royal Clairvoyant to me… “Depressed creatures have slow dull memory. Their minds cannot keep up the speed with others, let alone rewind back to inspect a certain significant past which could help them piece together an understanding of causality. Thus it is their karma to be stuck like this for now.”
Recollecting my recent episode of depression, I could relate very well to this story. I became an aimless babbler in a confused state and suffered masses of conversational conflicts, and was consistently told I was the cause of these conflicts… it was while I was being helped by a challenging, quick-thinking and forceful person who couldn’t leave a stone unturned. My mind slowed, having great difficulty keeping up with the exchange. The moment my psychoanalysis derailed the conversation I would forget our previous subject of discussion. After 30min of heated speech brawl, I was asked who caused it all and I failed to produce an answer, because I only remembered pieces of the entire conversation. Missing pieces of the dialogue would resurface gradually in time, however in the back of my mind I knew they were unreliable information.
Escape from Depression.
One can escape depression by first… becoming aware that the symptom is a two-part phenomenon, taking both body & mind into account, captivating a point that even professional drivers have difficulty navigating properly inside a faulty vehicle. So by initially repairing this vehicle, one can aid the driver greatly. On the physical side, the brow-beaten vision (or eyeballs sunken into sockets) can be restored by protruding the eye muscles forward and moving the eyeballs vigorously for 15-20 second intervals and using both palms of the hands to stretch out the vicinities of pressured areas of the face. Increasing fluid intake to 3 liter or more each day is a must. Prepare to hit that loo like a leaking machinist! All this may seem ridiculed to some readers, but being an individual who suffer strong depression occasionally often found myself trying anything to break free of it, even silly corny techniques mentioned above… and believe me, seeing the world from a less-pressured vision is like driving without smudged mirrors and windshield, not to mention an angry backseat driver mind. Salty oily supplements and sugary drinks are to be avoided. Most unhappy beings under stress tend to over consume pleasurable foods to give them the momentary uplifts, but in avertedly obtain the opposite effect.
One can also escape depression by secondly… putting an end to the mind. Coping day after day with depression is like being painfully forced to go cave diving empty handed; down a claustrophobically dark tunnel without light and petite supply of oxygen. Advancing each tiny distant takes great effort, impossible to turn around… once entered, escape seemed unattainable until you come out the other end. Imminent dangers of collapsing cave systems creating fear, enormous effort to maneuver forward gains miserable distant manifesting low self esteem, not to mention getting caught & screaming like a stuck pig while help awkwardly arrives and breaking free is no guarantee… soon guilt and self-hate follow. A very exhausting process indeed… For those unfamiliar with cave diving should go try it and see for themselves.
Freedom from depression takes courage and determination, problem is one often wishes to escape but refuses help until depression sunk itself into the mental habits and becomes the way of life. Draining away all energy until self can no longer rely on self and all help futile. Buddhist terminology describes this process as “waiting until the karma exhaust itself out”. One can try some of these preliminary techniques…
1. Out maneuver your mind when depression has you…
- Do I like being endlessly hit in the face? (literally) Like a boxer without dexterity?
- How do I stop this?
- Feeling like a ghost? A black hole that sucks other people’s energy?
- Why don’t I fight this? And what would it take to fight?
- I have depression, I am a self-dwelling machine… the problem is me.
- So how can I go beyond myself and help others before me?
- Am I surrounded by negativity? How do I fix this?
- Do I keep waiting around… or am I ready to help myself right now??
- Will I allow others to help me in order to break free this vicious cycle?
2. Compassion cuts low energies like a knife through butter. Thoughts of love can unfasten a rusty old bolt out of a nasty thread; elevating the ego out from a rut. However on a really bad day this will not be effective. Furthermore… ego pulling isn’t really the answer, itching our head and scratching our asses is merely a quick fix.
Or you could try this beautiful technique.
3. Death to the EGO! Die here, die now, die on the cushion and die anywhere… no I’m not talking about the act of selfish suicide, I’m talking about Death meditation. There is peace in death impossible to be found in the realms of ego. Take a break, free yourself from all connections of life (if this step is too hard then just continue to suffer, I don’t care). Similar to an injured cockroach trying to find a dark moist place under the fridge to hide and recover… find yourself a peaceful place in the middle of nowhere, some place in the country… a natural environment without concrete forest and technology. A place with natural food supply and water, where phone signals don’t reach (or turn off the phones completely), with little human contact and no blasting television to distract the mind.
As a monk, I proceed to the edge… where I live with forest animals that I know can ‘take me out’ in an instant. Similar to a kayaker encountering a great white pointer 15% larger than his boat in the middle of nowhere… death becomes irrelevant after a short period of time. All the while, conversing with these dangerous creatures as if they were your most valued friends. Don’t be afraid others will think you’re crazy, because you already are.
Let the loopy mind run its course until the knots unwind (could take a couple of weeks), then begin to relax and question yourself “Who does Fear work for?” Let the mind do its calculations, it would sound like this… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada…
“Who is Self and how can I be happy if there is still “insert your name here”?” Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… “So if I die, then I die… let “insert your name here” die.” Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada… Yadiyada…
Tada! And that’s it! You’re smiling & laughing like a maniac, either cured from depression or permanently insane… or both. May you find your path on The Game of Death. ‘wink… wink…’
PS: Winners return from the dead on their own two feet, not in coffins.