My session yesterday was productive. I must say, I am proud of myself for asking for what I need: a toolkit to help me with the daily struggles of depression. Of course, that is what the therapy is for-- DUH -- but I feel like the therapy is more of a long-term investment/solution. A process to really get to the root of whatever it is that leads me to depression in the first place. (Or, as I think of it, what layer of behavior depression is loaded up on top of the biological depression ans start unpacking all that stuff.) I explained that I would like some tools of a more immediate sort to help me deal with the funks while we work together on the long-term Depression.
This may seem obvious, but it finally became clear to me that what a lot of this is about is control. When I am in a funk and don't know it and feel helpless it is because I don't have control. My emotions have control over me. So, first things first*: I need to pay closer attention to my emotions, to how I am feeling when I am not in a funk, when one is coming on, and when I am in the grips of one. I need to become, oh, a tad more self-aware. The goal is to quit allowing the depression and anxiety to control me.
I have to know what it is that is controlling me before I can exert my own power of it.
I have started up my yoga practice again and have incorporated a deliberate meditation segment into my practice. I must say, I am already getting so much more out of the yoga just because I can focus and concentrate. My body and mind are getting more out of the poses, and I am finally (That is one thing that signals to me I am entering a funk - I can't concentrate for shit.) I am so much more able to focus on my breathing and make that a central part of the practice. It is exhilarating. (Am I annoying? I don't want to be one of those smug sons'-of-guns who swear yoga can cure cancer, save the owls, protect puppies and prevent war. Though,I do think it just might be able to prevent war. Anywhoooo...) Regardless, I am getting so much more out of it this time around.
I am just beginning to learn the Metta Bhavana meditative practice. It is a Buddhist tradition that teaches Lovingkindness. Lovingkindness toward myself and others. Imagine that!
A major component of this practice is learning to cultivate emotions. To become aware of my own emotions and to learn to cultivate them. To nurture and grow and direct them. Cultivate. What a wonderful word.
I am hoping to discover and find that space, that space of contemplation and reflection to recognize my emotions. That space will give me the room to greet my emotions and decide how to engage with them. Rather than immediately reacting to my emotions, I will learn to discern them and choose my response. I will learn to have power over my emotions. I will learn how to manipulate those emotions in a kind way, rather than letting the emotions manipulate me in a cruel way.
I have no disillusions that this will be a long, sometimes frustrating, journey. What isn't, nowadays? But I really, really think it will be worthwhile.
Do any of you meditate? Have you tried to develop a practice? What surprised you about it? What hurdles did you encounter?