Conflicted about what steps to pursue...

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Conflicted about what steps to pursue...

Postby Gail » Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:29 pm

Hello everyone,
I have been fortunate enough to have stumbled across the works of ET and many others over the past few years and have had many wonderful experiences with the help of such sources. However I am finding myself immersed in great inner conflict about what actions to take considering the "place" I am in as of late. For a year now I have been in a progressive depressive and suicidal state and wake up in a state of terror each morning. (I am no stranger to depressive episodes lasting for years at a time. But this one has been worse than most). In short, I have little to no energy and am barely getting thought most days without desires of suicide and dysfunction. I do what I can to maintain a home for my child and husband and am hanging on to life by threads 85% of the time. I cannot remember anything or think straight and my driving is horrible. I am angry and irritable and completely irrational much of the time. I cannot take it anymore. I feel I might have to resort to a psychiatrist and medications. How can I do such a thing? I feel I am cheating. Taking the easy way out. That this action contradicts everything that Tolle and the others teach. That I am cheating on LIFE by doing this. But at the same time I am in such pain and suffering and my family is suffering because of me. More reason to feel selfish and get off my butt and take action. But I can't do it. I can't do what Tolle did. And that makes me feel horribly undeserving and weak. Do I feed the medical community and try medical management? Or am I just lying to myself? Or do I stick to my guns and go med and doctor free and potentially commit suicide or ruin the lives of my family? It boils down to this: Do I live a lie by seeking medical help or do I end my physical life? I would almost rather die than live a lie.
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Re: Conflicted about what steps to pursue...

Postby smiileyjen101 » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:24 am

Gail, ET is not a doctor, he's a philosopher.

I feel I might have to resort to a psychiatrist and medications. How can I do such a thing?

Easy, by accepting reality - what is - rather than making enemy, obstacle, means to an end of it.
And you're jumping the gun, you may not even know what is, is
- there may be something else physical going on that you can only eliminate by investigation physically :wink:
Again, ET is a philosopher, not a doctor.

I feel I am cheating. Taking the easy way out. That this action contradicts everything that Tolle and the others teach. That I am cheating on LIFE by doing this. But at the same time I am in such pain and suffering.

And therefore 'cheating' on life by staying in pain and suffering possibly unnecessarily, because you haven't assessed the cause and possible options available to you?

okay, no choice is wrong.... do you want to keep choosing this? :wink:

If I am in pain, and suffering to the extent that it is impairing my judgement, my capacity to physically and mentally respond to life, (and my driving!) I look not to philosophy first for answers, I use the philosophy to discern a reason-able course of action that will allow me to choose suitable options. I don't make enemy or obstacle or means to an end of any of the options available to me. I seek to understand the options, and then implement them willingly, still using the philosophy to enhance my well-being.

Does that make sense?

Are you making 'enemy' or 'obstacle' of elements of psychiatry &/or psychotherapy?
There are practitioners, even in psychiatry and psychotherapy who respect their patients and will discuss and co-plan suitable options - but diagnosis and understanding of the cause/s needs to come first. If ET's philosophy is not 'enough', then maybe it is not your 'ego' at work here, except in fighting the reality of your situation and options. Maybe there is an underlying physical issue, or psychological issue that can be addressed if known. Apply the philosophy in your journey, not as your journey. You do not need to 'suffer' just to 'please' some notion you have about the philosophy.

When the Dalai Lama fell ill with a disease of the gall bladder, he did not think himself so 'enlightened' as to think he could meditate it away, he had it diagnosed, and surgically removed. His state of thinking about this however, would have likely been one of 'relative' peace.

Tolle says that "the primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it".


Make sense?
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Re: Conflicted about what steps to pursue...

Postby randomguy » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:15 am

In my experience, being with the willingness to die is very close to the openness to see with the freedom from the stories of mind.
You list 2 options, meds or physical death. This does not mean there is no third option, namely listening to what depression reveals about the story of self.

I can't do what Tolle did. And that makes me feel horribly undeserving and weak.

The assumption I read in the quote above is the assumption I experienced myself in depression. That is that I owned the responsibility to fix the bastardized blue emotions experienced. After all mind seemed to say, there is no one else to fix it, it is not "right" and life should be normal and happy. This was not far from the reality of the end of depression. But there was just a small but crippling misunderstanding at play. That "me" that I took to be real, the one that was felt to own the inadequacy and helplessness, the one that was certain about how life should go, it didn't exist but in thought and imagination, thought and imagination that was at clear odds with what was observed as reality had I the grace and intention to explore the unimaginable depth of which I had accepted and held to untruths about what I am.

Personally, I don't feel it is 'living a lie' to take medications if you feel in your heart it can be of use for you and your family. I think the intention to see what is true can exist within any experience.

I like these videos from Jeff Foster on depression about seeing depression as not an illness but an invitation and the second older one about seeing the truth in depression.

Sincere regards, Gail. I hope you enjoy the videos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPx0nN6aQj0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YuFr3obDqs
Do the yellow-rose petals
tremble and fall
at the rapid's roar?
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Re: Conflicted about what steps to pursue...

Postby Gail » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:26 pm

Thank you both for some very helpful replies. I am not comprehending much these days. My cognition is incredibly cloudy. But I understood enough to take from your writing that this black and white thinking of mine is really problematic. As aware of that as I am, it is not easy to change. But I think I am at the point where if I don't seek psychiatric help I will do something to harm myself.

Thank you so much for what you both wrote. It was actually very helpful to me.
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Re: Conflicted about what steps to pursue...

Postby KathleenBrugger » Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:43 pm

Smileyjen and randomguy both shared beautifully. I want to second what randomguy said about perceiving only two options.

I've noticed this about the "conditioned mind" (ET's term): it is as if we are wearing blinders. Our minds have been programmed since birth to think in certain ways. All of our perceptions and memories are run through those programmed channels before they reach our consciousness; then the mind spits out predictable responses that follow from the programming. One of the consequences of this is we can only see one or two or three possibilities, those that are in line with whatever our programming allows.

Another thing I notice is that our minds always jump to the absolute worst conclusions and cling to them. "My stomach hurts really bad, it must be cancer," "my husband is distant lately, he must be having an affair," "the boss didn't say hello this morning she must be unhappy with my work," etc. We can become so convinced these thoughts are true that they become reality for us, even when they have no basis in objective fact: the stomach pains turn out to be an ulcer, my husband has taken some extra work to surprise me with a special vacation, the boss had an accident on the way to work...

The truth is in any one moment there are multiple possibilities. I've noticed that if I just say, "this is what I think, but there may be other possibilities" it opens my mind up to the other possibilities happening/becoming evident to me.

Smileyjen is right: there may be physical explanations for your feelings.
randomguy is right: there are therapists who don't reach for the drugs first.
We are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity
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Re: Conflicted about what steps to pursue...

Postby ashley72 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:55 pm

Over the past six years I've suffered from agoraphobia, panic disorder and social anxiety. Six months into my illness I decided to stop taking medications and fine a natural solutions to my mental & behavioural problems. I'm almost fully recovered now. :D

The most important step was fully understanding my illness. This has meant learning as much as possible about how my disorder manifests. Knowledge is key to recovery. :wink:

Eckhart Tolle's pointers & advice has been useful at times, but by no means the only knowledge that has been helpful.

My disorder basically causes the sufferer to try and control normally unconscious behaviours...that cannot be controlled. This creates a lot of physical discomfort... Like occurs when someone tries to hold their breath.

An example would be that if I had to go and do something I was afraid to do... I might hold my breath as I encountered the situation. This is obviously not a pleasant experience so I would then what to avoid that experience in the future. However, what I needed to do was simply stop holding my breath when encountering the scary situation. This is how you bring awareness to dysfunctional behaviours.

I'm almost positive that you would be doing something similar in your life.

My advice is don't give up, just keep trying no matter what... But bring acceptance and compassion towards yourself into your daily life. This is very important because your resistance is what creates the friction and discomfort.

Recently I faced a big fear I had been dreading for ages.

Leading up to the exposure my anxious thoughts bombarded me as usual, and during the situation. This is due to the heightened anticipation. Very normal but most anxiety sufferers don't accept this human behaviour.

I felt a lot of physical discomfort during the exposure...but ultimately I survived and actually gained a lot of new awareness of just how I'm still holding my breath too much when doing normal typical things. This is when I invite more acceptance and compassion and slowly let go of holding on so tightly.

To be able to relax and let go during anxious situations is a wonderful feeling... To finally see where your going wrong is so empowering. Sometimes small adjustments can really change your life in a big way...so don't give up. A better life could be a moment away!
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Re: Conflicted about what steps to pursue...

Postby smiileyjen101 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:10 am

Ash I'm so proud of you in your journey and feel blessed and grateful that you share of it as you do.
When I say 'proud' I mean in the sense that I feel an outpouring of bubbling YES!!! energy - like this dictionary definition
feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one's own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.

I do know the pitfalls and boulders on a rocky path and seeing / hearing you navigating your way and sharing of your wisdom just tickles.


Breathe out :D I don't mean to embarrass you, I do want to celebrate your acceptance and willingness in your experiences.

If in doubt, breathe out :D

Kathleen said: I've noticed that if I just say, "this is what I think, but there may be other possibilities" it opens my mind up to the other possibilities happening/becoming evident to me.

That's a brilliant strategy Kathleen. In relationship 'stuff' I think it might have been John Gottman who suggests that when 'something' happens and people start assuming what the 'something' is, that it leads down paths of one's own imagining. He suggests that if 'something happens' that one in a couple just say "something just happened that made me feel/think xyz... what just happened for you?' Rather than stewing on all the myriads of 'things' that the 'something' could be. It builds trust and openness in a relationship.

With life too, if 'something just happened' by not jumping to conclusions one can widen perspectives and leave room for clarity.
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Re: Conflicted about what steps to pursue...

Postby KathleenBrugger » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:16 am

smiileyjen101 wrote: In relationship 'stuff' I think it might have been John Gottman who suggests that when 'something' happens and people start assuming what the 'something' is, that it leads down paths of one's own imagining. He suggests that if 'something happens' that one in a couple just say "something just happened that made me feel/think xyz... what just happened for you?' Rather than stewing on all the myriads of 'things' that the 'something' could be. It builds trust and openness in a relationship.

With life too, if 'something just happened' by not jumping to conclusions one can widen perspectives and leave room for clarity.

So true. I'm learning this in my relationship with my husband. Instead of assuming that he experienced an event the same way as me I ask, "This is what I felt, what did you feel?" How many times have I reacted to something that only existed in my imagination?!
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Re: Conflicted about what steps to pursue...

Postby aware4ever » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:38 am

Hi Gail. I have a lot to say, and it is from personal experience, not just abstract philosophy. I hope this helps.

Gail wrote: I feel I might have to resort to a psychiatrist and medications. How can I do such a thing? I feel I am cheating. Taking the easy way out.

It is common knowledge that there are genetic factors, putting certain individuals at much higher risk of developing certain mood disorders. And just the same way that some people are born vulnerable to cardiovascular (heart) disease, others are born vulnerable to dysfunction and disease of the nervous system (depression, anxiety, etc.). However, when it comes to taking medication, you see almost no one with heart problems having such issues as you've described. Taking medication for your heart is fine, but for your nervous system is somehow not OK? I think that's bullshit!

Just because you have greater control over your nervous system than your cardiovascular system doesn't mean you have complete control over it. You don't. There are certain things you can do, that will benefit the state of your nervous system and possibly improve your condition, but they may or may not be enough.

When the condition of your nervous system is causing so much pain and suffering, it means that it is not healthy, and it is very appropriate to seek medical attention, with medication being as legitimate and appropriate as any other course of action!

I'm not advocating medication as the best solution. What I am saying that it is just as appropriate and legitimate as any other course of action, and it may very well be necessary for you at a given point in time. It might be necessary for you to balance certain chemicals in your brain enough so that you will have a foundation, from which to implement other beneficial actions.

Gail wrote: I feel I am cheating. Taking the easy way out. That this action contradicts everything that Tolle and the others teach.

I've read all of Eckhart Tolle's books and listened to countless hours of his talks, and I don't think there is a single thing he ever said, if understood correctly, that implies that taking medication is somehow wrong.

Gail wrote:Do I live a lie by seeking medical help or do I end my physical life? I would almost rather die than live a lie.

I know this is getting really long, but I feel I should emphasize: just as some people are born with physiological weaknesses and predispositions to developing certain physical illnesses, others are born with a weak nervous system. This is physiological too, the problem is physiological in its root - the body's ability to produce and maintain optimal levels of certain neurotransmitters, etc., etc. Only the symptoms, part of the symptoms manifest in the psychological, mental, emotion realms.


Gail wrote: I cannot remember anything or think straight and my driving is horrible. I am angry and irritable and completely irrational much of the time.
Memory is impaired, cognitive functions are impaired, moods are impaired, and I just bet your appetite and sleep are strongly affected as well. You say "I cannot remember", "I am irritable", but these are merely symptoms, the same symptoms other people experience from the underlying physiological disorder of their nervous system.

So, you don't have to continue suffering this pain, and just because most people cannot understand (cannot relate) this kind of pain and how excruciating it can be, does not make it less real, or any different than any other illness. So if anything, I think Eckhart Tolle would advise you not to let your conceptions about the medical industry, etc. affect your actions. If you feel that you need help, than you need help, accept that, seek help.
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