I have spent much of my life in depression. From the time I was very young up until around when I turned 30.
For me it manifested as a kind of restless frustration. A sense of wanting to do something but not having anything that satisfies. It always lead to extreme anger and self-destructive thoughts.
Well I don’t suffer from these thoughts on a regular basis anymore, I do feel then sneaking up from time to time. Even earlier this year I found myself slipping back into this kind of pattern.
Now I have plenty of tools to slow or stop the downward spiral before it accelerates and come back to peace.
One of my favorite is to focus on the five senses. Nothing else. It’s not exactly the same as most meditation, but it’s not that different either. The main differences, instead of trying to detach from all thoughts, I detach only from thoughts about past and future. This is what’s called “being in the now”. It might be similar to what others call “mindfulness”.
I read Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” over 15 years ago. There are many layers to that book and that way of thinking, but even on the most surface level, it can be incredibly useful.
If you want to get into the nature of reality and how time works, there’s a whole deep philosophy of non-duality that you can explore. Those kind of thought experiments can totally break open your reality. They’re not the most practical for dealing with depression when it hits though.
There are times that I like to go down that existential rabbit hole, but when I start to slip into depression, I just want to be able to come back to the present moment.
I focus on sight first. The complexity of skin and dirt and concrete and artificially produced good. I look for natural phenomena and other organisms to study and contemplate their appearance and contemplate their existence.
Sometimes I let my self travel down those thoughts and really contemplate the processes of life and of artificial production of this and that. Sometimes I consider who and and what makes these things and all the steps involved whether it’s a natural process or something manufactured by humans or machines.
Other times I really stay strictly in the now, and as soon as I start having those thoughts I bring myself back.
I focus on sound, and listen to whatever hits my ears as if it’s a musical art performance. Even unpleasant sounds can be interesting. They can bring you into a trance, or make you high.
Smells and tastes work too although they are easiest to enjoy when eating or when in nature.
Touch is another powerful sense. It snaps me out of the hypnosis of sight which tends to be the most distracting sense.
There are all kinds of ways to experiment with this. If you want to call them meditations, that’d be fair. I like to think of them more as little excavations into pockets of reality.
When you step back and experience things just as an observer, nothing has any power over you. All things we deem negative lose their charge. This is where we find our greatest power.
We are born into this world to experience a life however, and so once we find our power, we can come back and look at things with fresh eyes.
My lazy vlogs:
my mini-novella series:
Confessions of the Damaged - Out Now!
📕 Confessions of the Damaged OUT NOW :-)
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