Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I admire the (temporary?) openness about depression that is being displayed in the media and online in the wake of Robin Williams’s suicide, and I want to add my two cents. My credentials are that I am a fellow sufferer, and have experienced depression (and its knife-wielding twin, anxiety) since I was an adolescent. I have been hospitalized for it, medicated for it (with both licit and illicit drugs), and I’ve had various therapies as well. Like cancer, depression kills a certain amount of its victims; like cancer, it’s an illness, not a weakness. Even so, I am ashamed to admit that I am a sufferer, which means I find it easy to internalize as well as somehow externalize – through my own silence – the attitude that depression is a failure of strength or character.
I am not an expert in the causes of depression, only an expert in the experience of it, and after four or so decades living with the illness, I know a few things about it:
There’s no cure, only remission. People who suffer from depression (not “normal unhappiness,” which was the goal of Freud’s talking cure), are never fully out of danger because it is depression’s nature to recur. Sufferers of depression have “episodes” the same way those who suffer from multiple sclerosis do. It comes, wipes the floor with you, and then somehow returns you to the world. But it comes back.
Depressives don’t make themselves sick. They don’t choose depression. They may have a cognitive leaning toward interpreting events and feelings in a certain way, but they don’t choose to get or stay depressed. The fact that it runs in families should indicate to fair-minded people that it has a genetic aspect as well. You may get your blue eyes from your father and your blue feelings from him as well. Recent research even suggests that ancestral trauma may be coded genetically, thereby passing a predisposition for mood disorders down through the generations.
Depression is a surfeit of empathy – a killing empathy – that makes depressives great friends to everyone but themselves. Having a self is a rough business and depressives can empathize with others who have to deal with it, but not with themselves. Fundamentally, people who suffer from this illness can give love, but when suffering from it, they can’t accept it. That doesn’t mean they don’t need it, only that they believe they don’t deserve it.
The only treatment is exercise and work. Many depressives become expert walkers. Solvitur ambulando – Latin for “it is solved by walking” – has profound application for depression. I think therapy would be more effective if the therapist and the patient had their sessions while walking, briskly, around a park. Work equates to purpose, something that depressives think they lack. Working gives lie to the feeling of purposelessness and combats it.
Suicidal thoughts become suicidal action when the thought of your loved ones arranged around your grave is no longer a deterrent. When a depressive who wants to die thinks of the suffering it will cause others, it’s a restraint, but it also feels like a trap. It’s the last barrier between them and eternity, which the depressed person longs for. Once the idea of others’ pain is trumped by their own, a peace descends and suicide is often inevitable. I’m not arguing for suicide, only acknowledging its draw. In a terrible way, self-murder is an act of self-love. It ends someone’s suffering.
The only thing you can do for someone who is depressed is to be around them and love them despite their illness. Living with a depressive is a bloody nightmare. They say things they don’t mean, about themselves and others. They cancel dinners. They won’t look you in the eye. They use the words “always” and “never” liberally. The symptoms of depression often seem like they’re directed at you. But it’s not personal. If you can accept this, you’ll be doing the most you can for the sufferer in your life. Be silent and useful and remember it’s not about you.
Touch helps. Get a massage. Give a massage. If you can, make love to a depressed person. Touch is primitive. Your reaction to it is in your reptile brain, but your thoughts are happening somewhere else. Touch creates some distance between the body and the self. Depressives are excellent in bed if you can convince them to take off their pyjamas.
The culprit is the mind. I think, therefore I am, said Descartes. Therein lies the problem. Some depressives conclude, as Robin Williams did this past week, that not thinking and not being is preferable to the alternative. I’m shattered that he lost his battle, but I’m also glad he’s free of his pain. If you have lost someone to depression, or another mood disorder, be aware that your lovewas enough. You couldn’t have prevented their death and there’s nothing you should have done differently. The suicide’s logic has nothing in common with yours. In the end, death makes mad, perfect sense to them.
Depression is a byproduct of consciousness, and addiction is a byproduct of depression. No one is depressed when they’re asleep, which is why being in bed is such a safe place if you’re really down. The reason so many intelligent and creative people suffer from depression is that when you take the risk of being fully conscious, you open Pandora’s box and you can’t close it again. Alcohol, drugs, and addictive behaviours are a bulwark against what’s in the box. They say people with addictions are escaping pain as if that’s a foolish or illogical reaction to pain. It isn’t. As the comedian Doug Stanhope said, “There’s no such thing as addiction, there’s only things that you enjoy doing more than life.” If you know depression, you know what he means.
To all my fellow sufferers, then, slainte. Your depression exists not because you did something wrong or because you’re a bad person, it exists because you’re you. Remember the last time you survived it and how it cleansed you, and hold on to that if you can. That is the gift of depression: When it leaves you, it leaves you flayed but vividly alive. Dante’s Inferno (an archetypal rendering of depression) ends with Virgil emerging from the seven circles of hell, reborn into life by a holy grace. The depressed person wants to live and wants to love and it is always a surprise to rediscover the pleasures of the world after despair. The final line of Dante’s poem is a talisman to be held dear by anyone who has experienced depression’s pervasive darkness: Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars.
Michael Redhill is a poet, novelist and playwright. His most recent work, Saving Houdini, is a novel for young adults. This essay, at the request of The Globe and Mail, was adapted from a Facebook post.
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Last updated Friday, Aug. 15 2014, 4:20 PM EDT
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Journal Aug 12 2014,
Such sad news about Robin Williams! We have lost an amazing comedy genius, actor and person!
I only hope the media doesn’t go on about that it may have been a suicide, but will bring to light how many people whether rich and famous to the poor and unknown suffer from various forms of depression and mental illness so many people suffer in silent and seem to be treated or looked at differently by society!
We can talk about the various other diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke and all the other big diseases out there where they pour millions of dollars into research to pay the big pharmaceutical companies, but when it comes to depression and other mental illnesses society looks at you like you’re all fucked up in the head! So a vast majority of people don’t get the proper help they need and suffer in silent and use other methods to cope with life, like drugs and/or alcohol or any other addiction one may develop!
When I hear this kind of sad news it touches my heart! I know now with my own personal life struggles when I tried to talk about my problems growing up and how I can reflect as I like to call it through my help with Neil, group and AA, for whom I don’t know where I would be.
Mr. Williams made so many of us laugh or sometimes cry and only to be struggling with his own troubles or demons of depression, I guess he had many masks to hide behind, like so many of us have.
Rest in peace, there will be a great void without you in the human world but I’m sure you’ll make the spirit world laugh.
I know you sure as hell made me laugh a lot through some of my rough times and still will.
God bless and thank you.
A devoted fan,
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Fearfulness is An Idea
In perception, everything you experience is an idea. As you begin to explore into your life, it is important to free yourself from the ideas that burden or inhibit. There is no right way to free yourself, but in every case the first step is to be willing to look clearly at your perception ... how you think things are.
When you can honestly see the effect of a habit, substance or concept, you can begin the process of eliminating it from your life. Some have used the words "addiction, obsession or compulsion" to describe something your ego believes it must have or do, in order to survive. This is a useful concept to understand. It applies not only to the physical substances but to behaviours, things, people and beliefs.
All addictions, obsessions or compulsions are imprisoning. It must be remembered that it is not the thing itself that binds you, but your belief in IT. Your ego believes that IT is necessary for you to have so you can continue on in life’s journey and that forms the prison walls.
When you attempt to overcome an addiction or obsession or compulsion through sacrifice, by only giving up the thing while retaining the belief that IT is a necessity for you to have faith in, you are not free.
Freedom is attained when you become willing to accept that the thing itself is not necessary, and your faith in IT is released. At the same time it is wise for you to become willing to search out a thing called spiritual and get involved.
If you are willing to be free, then the Pattern you are living, working in conjunction with a Higher Power, will reveal freedom to you. IT may come in strange ways from places you would least expect it, but it will be shown to you. IT will be yours to act on and you will know what to do and how to do IT, probably even where to do IT; when to do IT is always left up to you. You may not like what is revealed but there IT will be staring back at you waiting for you to do something with IT.
An imprisoning idea is any idea that inhibits your enjoyment of the abundance of life and the expression of your creativity.
Your abundance in life or the expression of your creativity may seem different, but the effect is the same.
Experience Has Taught Me That
Sooner or Later
I will have to deal with the concept that:
“IT Is Waiting For Me To Do Something With IT.”
Saturday, August 9, 2014
For George Bullied/and TVS
There was a place where people could come to discover themselves ... that place started many on journeys they never would have imagined for themselves if it were not there ... Twin Valleys School ... but before there was that place there was a man who had a dream about creating such a place ... he just passed ... this place called earth is a richer place for him having been here and him dreaming his dream ... he encouraged all who knew him to dream our dreams too and chase them down ... make them happen ... Thank God you were here George ... and God bless you as you leave this world a better place ... Neil
Friday, August 8, 2014
Freedom and Happiness
What most people call freedom is simply their willful ability to satisfy their desires. The call of I want more freedom, is the hue and cry of the false self’s need to fill an emptiness it senses within itself and has no idea how to fill.
What I have come to understand about the statement: I want more freedom is; I want to be able to have more of what I want, when I want it, and in the fashion that I believe I want to have it in.
From both my practice and my own practices I have to argue that the process of wanting what you want as often as you want … More … is not freedom, it is in fact a kind of compulsion that keeps one hooked into the delusion that more is better, or more is best, or more defines wellness; when in fact, more is truly the defining quality of our discomfort in the first place. The vary thing that more was supposed to remove is defined by the need for more.
Circuitous and puzzling all at the same time because the very thing that we are taught is the answer to the conundrum is in fact what is driving the conundrum to continue endlessly.
A Working Definition Of Freedom can be summed up as:
Being able to have or not have what you want, without being lost in the drama of what appears to be happening in the unfolding process of having or not having.
Thus not having to react to life and life’s situations and defending yourself from the experience you are trying to have.
Freedom seems to occur when:
· When one does not have to close down their heart or their mind or close off their life to the world around them just to survive the process of being here in the first place.
· It is the ability not to have to act compulsively on the thoughts in your mind.
· Rather it is a case of allowing the thoughts to pass through the mind, as they should, without you attempting to define yourself in the drama of the thought … the one you just imagined. Drama Queen 101.
· Thus, it is for the deeper self to attune itself into the process of unfolding within the mind and at the same time not get lost in the process of the unfolding of your thoughts.
Fiddler On The Roof’s Recipe for Life:
Play the Tune “with passion”,
“Always Walk on the Edge”,
“Don’t fall off the roof.”
Now, to live life to the fullest … repeat often.
Here is the secret to this whole process, the content of your mind and the content of my mind may be different, hopefully that is true, but the process by which we sort through things … I call this unfolding … is precisely the same.
It is the tuning into this unfolding process … The Way Of Things … and not getting lost … that is the trick.
There are three places to observe life from:
First, there is substance. (The Drama of Life)
Second, there is form, that which seems to hold the content. (How it is that I frame the Drama of Life)
Third, the point of view or how I choose to want to see things. (My position relative to how it is that I see both the drama and the frame work of my life)
To solve life’s conundrum you have to be able to choose the right place to apply the pressure of change. Where is it that it will be most effective … considering that it may have to be spread out over eternity and not just the next few minutes?
Now that is something to think about.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
By understanding the drives for SURVIVAL, POWER, LOVE, BELONGING, FREEDOM, and FUN in people, we become more conscious of the need for our world to be a Quality World of our choosing.
The Eleven Axioms of Choice Theory
1. The only person whose behaviour we can control is our own.
2. All we can give another person is information
3. All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems.
4. The problem relationship is always part of our present life.
5. What happened in the past has everything to do with what we are today, but we can only satisfy our basic needs right now and plan to continue satisfying them in the future.
6. We can only satisfy our needs by satisfying the pictures in our Quality World.
7. All we do is “behave”.
8. All Behaviours are Total Behaviours and are made up of four components: Acting, Thinking, Feeling and Physiology.
9. All TOTAL Behaviours are chosen, but we only have direct control over the acting and thinking components.
10. We can only control our feeling and physiology indirectly through how we choose to act and think.
11. All TOTAL Behaviour is designated by verbs and named by the part that is the most recognizable.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
A MASTERFUL ILLUSTRATION
An aging master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.
"How does it taste?" the master asked?
"Bitter," spit the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt
in the water, the old man said, "Now drink from the lake."
As the water dripped down the young man's chin, the master asked, "How does it taste?"
in the water, the old man said, "Now drink from the lake."
As the water dripped down the young man's chin, the master asked, "How does it taste?"
"Fresh," remarked the apprentice.
"Do you taste the salt?" asked the master.
"No," said the young man.
At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, "The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less … the amount of pain in life remains the exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things . . . Stop being a glass. Become a lake."
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
This starts with the individual’s sense of self and that sense of self is the by-product of very early developmental experiences.
Its clearest defining qualities are related to time and how time and interaction with affective adults was spent … with those who reflect how that individual was viewed during the child’s first 30 to 60 months of life.
It Is True That: it is a necessity that we must first have respect for ourselves … it then follows naturally … that we have to have respect for the rules we chose to live by … which we agree to … and conduct our living accordingly and build our social order around.
On the other hand if we do not have this sense of respect instilled at a very early age ... then ... it is with great effort and difficulty that we will move through our lives.
Respect is something that is purely experiential … it can be obtained anytime … but first we must know what it is that we are looking for … and then … where it is we must search to find it. 12 Step programs help enormously ... formalized, regimented and searching. Other self help programs like A Course In Miracles or the Artist’s Way are equally as helpful in the exploration of self. The stage one and two work of recovery is often referred to as the original pain work or the family of origin. It is difficult and most will try their best to avoid it hoping that if they circle around it then it won’t bother them any longer. Scott Peck points out in the Road Less Travelled that The Way Out Is Through.
The book Iron John asks the question “Where is the Key hidden?”
One of life’s conundrums is that sooner or later we get our selves involved in attempting to make something happen … where; the solution to the problem needs a necessary ingredient of respect for the task to come to completion.
Now the complexity of life sets in because most of us don’t carry the necessary tools to cause the respect to be there as part of the solution … it somehow got overlooked … the task at hand that should not be all that difficult becomes a very difficult task.
The Basics of the concept is: A person cannot respect themselves unless he knows the truth of them.
For most the truth about us is lost back in our early begins … at times and places where we simply had to begin to pretend to be someone else other than just ourselves to be able to get along in our families of origin ... That Hurt(s).
It is also true that our every effort is to maintain the lid on this painful thing so that it does not get out and hurt us again. The problem is that (neurotic) defense strategies themselves become more painful than the pain they were masking but our only defense to pain is to build another neurotic structure … mask … false self … to protect us from the pain of our reality.
Finding our lost self-respect is a prerequisite to healing; something a kin to Peter Pan recovering his lost shadow from Wendy’s drawer.
Now we have a place to look … and a direction to go in.
Who Did You Have To Pretend To Be When You Were A Kid?
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Roles relate to:
§ The jobs we do both inside and outside. The masks we wear either within or without the family structure are designed for us to be the people or character that we need to be in particular situations. Situation orientated
§ And are often determined by our perception of a need or needs either within the community or within the family or both. Strategies develop upon which is perceived to need to come first for the family or the system.
§ Please Note; just because it is what you think the family needs or what the family says its needs - does not make it healthy
§ The healthy roles we play provide us with our opportunities for learning and spiritual growth. Unhealthy roles provide opportunities for learning also. The spiritual component is not present in unhealthy roles. Roles can be channels for expressing the truth about ourselves and our needs and our feelings. The emphasis is on “can be.”
§ The intrinsic problem with the social role system is that we are trained into a role or roles at a very early age long before we have any appreciation of its value or its possible effects on us later in life. This role training predetermines who we think we are.
§ This socialization aspect as a result of the role, contributes to the predetermination of the Roles we will find acceptable to adopt in life within both the family and the community during our adult years. It actually removes the facility of real choice from us and leaves us with a form of pseudo choice that really is not choice at all.
§ This social role system training often demands that we give up our true self ... or is a defense strategy ... for the sake of the greater need of the system. This need to give us up to the greater system is a survival strategy. By doing so we will have a much greater possibility to survive.
§ At this point many variations on a theme can transpire but most can be lumped under the umbrella of adaptation. For some it is a kind of grab and run modus operandi for needs fulfillment and this requires many roles or faces and often a complete disregard for the well being of others in the same system. In the extreme this is often referred to Narcissistic Depravation
Thus we cannot nurture our lost self unless we leave home figuratively and for some, literally.
We leave home by giving up our scripts and rigid unhealthy roles. Those that were defined for us by the system because of its need to survive and Not the individual’s.
Those rigid unhealthy roles denied us our authenticity and we played these rigid roles out of misplaced loyalty to our dysfunctional family - community system(s). We got a sense of power and control from these roles, but they have cost us dearly.
Logically it is understood that each of us is an unique individual.
We were born to be ourselves. That much is true. But what the hell does that really mean.
To actually accomplish this, one must separate from the family systems designations and from our parents' (parents in the extended form include school teacher .. actually anyone the parent has abdicated authority to, to raise the child) beliefs and opinions about us. This is often called negotiating your adolescence.
Jesus Christ was strong in affirming the impossibility of finding God, much less ourselves, unless we left home. Matthew quotes Jesus as saying, "I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to put sons against fathers and daughters against mothers ... And a man's foes shall be those of his own household."
Leaving home means:
• separating from our family system.
• giving up the idealizations and the fantasy bond of being forever protected by our parents or their stand-in(s).. surrogates .. such as employers or social systems or friends or spouses.
Only by leaving and becoming separate, negotiating your adolescence/freedom of self can we have the choice of having a true relationship. This most basic of relationships .. with our parents .. demands separation and detachment for any possibility of a healthy relationship.
PLSE NOTE: For some, because of abuse issues it may be necessary to create some distance for a time from our family or its surrogate. For those who've been badly abused, you will have to make a prudent evaluation of how close you can get to your family or surrogate without violating your own boundaries.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Principles of Returning Cycles
It is actually, I suspect a universal law. The practice of returning cycles involves the means and the manner of giving and receiving with spiritual growth as both a consideration and an outcome. What a concept.
We Get From Life What We Give Or We Reap What We Sow.
This is true enough on a regular plane of existence. But I want more than just the commonplace or boring aspects of life. I want a sense of connectedness with all that is; a place for me in this entire sequence of events called life that I know has meaning for me, I want something or someplace that for some reason is not full of ulterior motives or me attempting to be someone for someone else or me having to have something at the expense of someone else or myself.
· As I realize this, something stirs deep within me and I know clearly what I must give back to That which gives me life.
· I know that I have to give back what I received from life and more importantly I know that I have to give back what I took in moments of simple unadulterated selfishness.
· I know I must give back more then I received through either process.
· I also know that this is not about equality or balancing old debts, for the business of balancing old debts in my mind is a cycle that creates a never ending feed-back-loop that seems to lead to salvation but simply runs me ragged.
· I now know that to find myself, I must add my potential, my character and my talents to the mix of things offered. I must then pass it all back to the universe, (That Which Gave Me Life), so that whomever it is that follows along in my footsteps on this path will have just the slightest bit more to work with then I did. This may be my son, my daughter, my partner, my neighbor and yes even someone I don’t know and never will meet.
Imagine that, an unselfish act made by a very selfish soul while in search of self-fulfillment and self-actualization. A lot of self(s) in that sentence!
As I offer a returning cycle back to the universe I find my pride. My sense of self!
Thus a returning cycle is not a punishment but it is the restoration to and of some social structure or form that is now enhanced by my effort rather than denigrated by my resentment.
It was observed many years ago that if mankind lived according to the principal of returning cycles, then many of the rules and laws that man has to utilize to protect himself from other men, would no longer be necessary.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
What Does Having Faith Mean To You:
Having faith in…
Faith has strange mystical qualities that aren’t readily noticeable at first.
· Cannot think for itself.
· Does not have a consciousness.
· Will do what it does and go where it is directed by its beholder.
· Will faithfully do whatever it is directed to do. After all, that is its job.
· Is blind.
So this business of having faith is as much a matter of where you place it, as it is a matter of having some. This concept is important, for without the benefit of this puzzle piece in its proper place all can and will get lost for myriad lengths of time.
If you have faith in Something Unreal Or Unhealthy, you will feed the process within your ego that supports your lack of reality or your lack of health. The simple yet often missed constant in the universe is: The Source Of The Universe, The Creator Is In Everything. Everything that we think, everyplace we go, in all the places we can’t go, taking sides with those who are seemingly against us, in places and situations that are unfathomable, in conditions that are unimaginable and in a fashion that is impossible to relate to, but the creator is in all.
All that is, all that was and all that will be; it is indivisible ... it can’t be reduced or increased ... it is simply all ... and we are a portion of all ... the smallest cog in the wheel of life. Not separate from but a part of ... and that the ego cannot readily accept ... in fact if there is a purpose for being here that was it ... Getting the Ego to come to terms with it is a part of all that is and not a separate segregated self unto itself ... Now perception comes into play ... this is not about what I see, this is about how I look.