Personal and serious question about medication

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Salem
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Personal and serious question about medication

Post by Salem » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:01 am

This post requires me to get a little more personal on the forum than I would like, but I have something that's bothering me (but I guess don't we all (mostly)? :) ).

I have suffered for years with obsessive compulsive disorder and some mild depression that goes with the anxiety. About three years ago I was diagnosed with the OCD and started with some meds, which I've been on till this very day. Overall I have experienced significant relief to the point that I am able to again function in life and for the large part enjoy it, but I still have struggles and occasional bouts of mild depression.

Today I saw my psychiatrist for the first time in 2.5 years (I was doing volunteer work out of country and was previously unavailable to see him) to see how things are going and he suggested that I take an additional anti-depressant to handle what he thought were some elements of mild clinical depression he sensed in me. He said it didn't sound serious but thought I exhibit anhedonia which is the inability to feel pleasure. To a degree he's right: I often don't feel a lot of motivation and don't feel a zest for life. Although I do look forward to things I seldom get exited about anything and can be a rather dour although I try hard to be optimistic.

I'm disappointed because I hoped that by treating the OCD, I'd be treating the anxiety and by proxy treating the depression. Thank God I've never yet had extended serious depression, although pre-treatment with OCD I was going down the rout of serious depressive episodes, which is what finally motivated me to see someone beyond just a counselor.

Depression to me is perhaps the scariest mental illness I can think of simply because it just takes away life completely.

That's my background. This is my question:

Since I have been reading Tolle and about non-dualism in general, I started to feel that most mental disorders are products of a dysfunctional Ego. I thought that by dis-identifying from the thoughts I would eventually be free of depression and anxiety and all that. I hoped that I could be free of meds, too. I realize that some disorders have genetic components, but I figured that the most important aspect was not the body but rather association with the thoughts, thus fueling the disorder, if that makes sense.

I've had these issues for years but am not sure if it's more an internal (Ego) problem or a physical (genetic) one. I'm sure it's both, but what I mean is, is it so genetic that I need to take more meds rather than focus more on discriminating the thoughts. I'm not even sure how to find out or tell if it's genetic. I have seem some family members with similar depression problems, but I don't know if it's related, since they seem to be in the minority.

I don't know if taking meds will also prove to be a hindrance to awakening. Is it even possible to still be awakened and still have depression? I guess that's a silly question, because it's possible to be awakened and still have cancer, diabetes, or a broken leg, but when it comes to questions of mental health, things get so much more fuzzy.

I realize this isn't a mental health site per se and I won't base my decisions off of feed back here or any other source alone, but I would really appreciate any advice, especially if anyone here experienced something similar.

Many thanks.
"The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love." — Meister Eckhart

Quinn
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Re: Personal and serious question about medication

Post by Quinn » Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:46 pm

Meds or no meds. It actually doesn't matter.
Salem wrote:Depression to me is perhaps the scariest mental illness I can think of simply because it just takes away life completely.
This, I think, is what matters. This is the bundle of thoughts and feelings that needs to be looked at. You have been practicing dis-identifying with thoughts. What about this thought? What about the fear? What's it grounded in?

Go ahead and take the meds and see what they do for you, if that's what feels right. You can always stop if you decide to. But in the meantime, can you accept that depression comes and realize that it in no way defines who you are?

erbeeflower
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Re: Personal and serious question about medication

Post by erbeeflower » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:42 pm

Quinn said "But in the meantime, can you accept that depression comes and realize that it in no way defines who you are?"

Hello Salem, it seems to me you do accept that the depression comes (and goes to different degrees?). From a non dual perspective it doesn't define who you are,but being a fellow depression sufferer,i know that in a sense 'depression' very much influences ones quality of life. I have been depressed for about 35 years (i'm 47 now), but only aware of it as a label or condition for a year or so.(thanks to tpon which helped me gain an insight, i realized life wasn't always something that just happened to me,that i could choose how to respond to it.).I took meds for about 3 months but they didn't help.I have used cannabis for many years.I have found for me cannabis is a temporary switch off,a contentment with the way things are,but only for a while.The depression is still underlying,which becomes apparent after a week of being stoned.The causes of my depression are complex, i have spent many years wondering why i couldn't feel ok.I am now trying to address some of the events that i associate with my feelings of depression,with the help of some understanding relatives. I try not to get stoned (use meds) unless i am overwhelmed and think that the feelings are life threatening.I know that being stoned will give me a space to feel better,albeit not resolve the depression.
I feel very much 'awake',here is a post from another subject that is just my opinion.I hope you will be able to decide what's good for you my friend. http://eckhart-tolle-forum.inner-growth ... 74&start=0
hello Riken, thank you for a heart felt post which i resonate with deeply. I think us 'depressed' people have a unique perspective and sensitivity.We are the ying or the yang, it's our function in life to absorb all sorts of painful scenarios,situations and phenomenon. We are 'fortunate' in that we can not easily comply with culture or go with the flow. However it often feels very harsh, lonely and cold to be so sensitive. I feel we are depressed because of being aware of the gap between what is, and what potentially there could be.I don't yet know what to do with this my friend, but please know that you are not alone in how you feel.To me enlightenment is understanding. It's not an end game goal,it is a never ending 'story'. Take care dude, peace.
I'm still enjoying thinking and exploring too much to get stuck here :-)

Quinn
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Re: Personal and serious question about medication

Post by Quinn » Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:34 pm

Hi erbee,
I'm a little confused on your response and why you quoted that sentence from me. Do you disagree with it? You say...
erbeeflower wrote:From a non dual perspective it doesn't define who you are,but being a fellow depression sufferer,i know that in a sense 'depression' very much influences ones quality of life.
How are you tying together 'sense of self' with 'quality of life'? Or are you saying, forget about the non-dual perspective in this case?

I, also, have lived with depression for most of my life - part of it medicated and part of it not. The thing I found most difficult, what gave it the thick heaviness that it had, was the spiral of being depressed about being a person who couldn't handle 'life' because they were depressed. Alex describes the spiral really well in another thread. It was this attachment, this self-defining, that made the weight of it too much to handle. And kept it rooted so firmly in place.

Sure, there are a lot of things that can be gained by understand the causes of depression and having tools to help with the quality of life. But it will always have a hold if it's believed to be part of who we are. I think both approaches can be practiced at the same time.

James
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Re: Personal and serious question about medication

Post by James » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:13 am

I think only you can know what is best for you. Taking medication is not necessarily mutually exclusive of awakening. However there is a caveat. What is that you want, to feel good, or to know what what you really are? I would reflect on that.

As long as the goal is to feel good, then the interest in awakening stops when we do feel good. Its not wrong to want to feel good, but it does keep us on the wheel of suffering, because good feelings don't stay as long as we want. Feeling good might be a side effect of awakening, but awakening does not mean that we will feel good all the time. I think that is probably the fundamental misunderstanding for truth seekers, there is a common notion that to be awake means to be in a state of bliss all the time. So truth seekers are frequently grasping good experiences and resisting uncomfortable ones. But states come and go, there are lots of ranges of human experience, whose to say how you should be feeling this moment? Have you ever tried Adyashanti's True Mediation- "allowing everything to be as it is"? It addresses this more fully.
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

erbeeflower
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Location: eastbourne east sussex england

Re: Personal and serious question about medication

Post by erbeeflower » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:18 pm

Hello Quinn, the point here i'm trying to express (not very successfully)is that in my case, my quality of life is influenced by me being depressed. Unfortunately how friends and family see me and how i interact does kind of define me,from their perspective at least.If for example my family avoids me because they don't want to or don't know how to deal with my depressive outlook,for me,because my family contact is the most valuable aspect of my life, it matters supremely. It's a useful tool to look from a non dual perspective to see i am not my depression so to speak,although i might not always be able to look from that perspective when the depression is strong.However, that perspective has little effect on day to day interaction.Depression for me is equal in force to feeling hungry. Peace :)
I'm still enjoying thinking and exploring too much to get stuck here :-)

Quinn
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Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:52 am

Re: Personal and serious question about medication

Post by Quinn » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:10 pm

Thanks erbee. Now I get it.

I see that the terminology I used (it doesn't matter) matters. Heehee.

I use that terminology to give my ego a bit of a jolt. Cut it down to size. Of course it all matters - it's all part of our lives. It's just that when the depression-identity (or any other) is running and I'm in the middle of it, it seems like that's all there is. It dips into everything I do.

When I think it doesn't matter, when it's allowed to be - I get more perspective on what's going on. I see the thoughts that are creating it. I see that without the thoughts, there is no "Depressed-Quinn" person.

That's the context of 'it doesn't matter'. Don't mean to minimize how painful the experience of depression is. Believe me, I know.

Peace backatcha :)

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Salem
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Re: Personal and serious question about medication

Post by Salem » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:15 pm

James wrote:I think only you can know what is best for you. Taking medication is not necessarily mutually exclusive of awakening. However there is a caveat. What is that you want, to feel good, or to know what what you really are? I would reflect on that.
That's a very insightful question, James. Thanks for helping me focus on that.

If I look at myself honestly, yes I want to be happy. That's a big reason, but not the only reason. I feel trapped in my mind; I don't want to be stuck on my thoughts and feelings and on the internal commentary or mental movies, etc. I want to feel life more fully, or to use an analogy, I want to be the water instead of just be ruled by the ripples or even waves on the surface.

I don't view medication as a cure, but merely as a help along the path. Sure, who doesn't want to be happy? I'm afraid I've fallen for seeing awakening as endless happiness, which I guess it isn't, since happiness, and all other sensations are fleeting. In short, knowing who I am is much more important to me. My hope is that medication helps take care of some of the distractions so I can be more free to reflect.

That's for the title. I've downloaded the audio version to give it a listen.
"The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love." — Meister Eckhart

Nutkins2
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Hi there Salem

Post by Nutkins2 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:57 am

Hi there Salem,

I too suffer from OCD and ADHD. I have had them since childhood, i think to compensate for a chaotic childhood. I have often got depression because of it i feel.
I too am anxious that it will impede my awakening. I am taking Seroxat and have been taking them for about 12years now. I can honestly say that they were the best things that happened to me. But i feel that it hasn't stopped me from turning to the spiritual. I wouldn't have been drawn to The power of Now if pills were a hindrance. Pills don't get rid of every feeling that you have, i feel that they make me the sort of person that i would have been if i hadn't suffered from these conditions.

Hope this helps
Nutkins2

James
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Re: Personal and serious question about medication

Post by James » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:22 pm

Salem Wrote:
That's a very insightful question, James. Thanks for helping me focus on that.

If I look at myself honestly, yes I want to be happy. That's a big reason, but not the only reason. I feel trapped in my mind; I don't want to be stuck on my thoughts and feelings and on the internal commentary or mental movies, etc. I want to feel life more fully, or to use an analogy, I want to be the water instead of just be ruled by the ripples or even waves on the surface.

I don't view medication as a cure, but merely as a help along the path. Sure, who doesn't want to be happy? I'm afraid I've fallen for seeing awakening as endless happiness, which I guess it isn't, since happiness, and all other sensations are fleeting. In short, knowing who I am is much more important to me. My hope is that medication helps take care of some of the distractions so I can be more free to reflect.

That's for the title. I've downloaded the audio version to give it a listen.
You're welcome Salem, it sounds like you are getting to the root of the matter here. For you awakening might include medication, or maybe at some point you won't need it, it doesn't matter either way, because it does not define What you are. Learn to trust your deepest intuition in all decisions, you are the expert on what is best for you.

I think the most important question to ask is: "Do I want what is real?" or "have I fallen for some story about how things are, an imagined reality based on an imagined identity?" Then look and listen deeply, but in a gentle relaxed way, to your ongoing experience. That's the sincerity that is needed to be awake. This is inquiry; you could also call this tuned in alertness meditation, but it's the natural state of meditation, not an induced or manipulated state, it's your natural state and everyone else's too. We could even say it is a stateless state, because it is that which does not come and go, it's the underlying reality of all temporary experiences. It's what you always already are, but have dreamed otherwise.
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

semperadmeliora
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Re: Personal and serious question about medication

Post by semperadmeliora » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:19 am

James wrote "I think the most important question to ask is: "Do I want what is real?" or "have I fallen for some story about how things are, an imagined reality based on an imagined identity?" "

Why the name Salem, Salem? I lived in an imagined reality based on an imagined identity for years. Diagnosed bipolar and choked down lithium for 10 years. It was safe...LOL Got diagnosed with liver cancer and decided to change my story and my label. The question was --- do I die a safe life from taking a safe drug, with a safe story or simply change my story and my life. I decided to change my story from one of mental disorder to one of an expanded individual unafraid to expand once again. Dumped the lithium and found other natural little crutches along the way that do not eat away my innards. Do I move a little faster than most when I am high -- maybe, have I been able to control the highs and the lows physiologically with help from teachers like Tolle and others. Yip. Am I having a positive impact on the harmony of the universe. Definitely. And every day is better than the one before.

Do you like your label and your story Salem? Do you like being that oddball that no one can understand?

Change your story and change you life.

Semper Ad Meliora
Randy

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