Sunday, March 09, 2008

Mindfulness Journal: Depression

Is mindfulness possible during periods of depression? Is it possible to be mindfully depressed? Can you experience depression but still remain aware that that state is only a transitory one akin to a veil draped over one's mind and heart?

I do believe that this is possible, and I believe that this is what I have experienced during the past week. After decades of suffering from depression, I am hyper-aware of its effects on my life, and with my condition in relative remission at this time, it's power over me is significantly diminished and I find that I can actually observe it with some level of detachment.

If I can observe my states of depression with detachment, then one would have to assume that there is also some modicum of attachment to depression as well. When the pall of depression makes itself known, I've been aware for decades that despite the discomfort that is part and parcel of depression, there is also a level of comfort that's experienced while one is depressed. Depression gives one permission to withdraw, creating a mask or a veil behind which one can hide and rest. And without knowing it's happening, the depressed person can begin to identify so strongly with that state of mind, that it becomes more and more difficult to detach from its grip. Sadly, some people consequently stay in that place for years.

This past week, I've been recovering from the flu, withdrawn from the world and mostly enclosed in the house. Having just visited family, my mind has been flooded with memories and feelings which have necessitated a great deal of emotional processing. Due to my acute illness, my chronic pain has been significantly flared, I've had trouble exercising, and my concentration has been poor. Watching movies during the day, my tears have fallen with little warning, and my floodgates seem to have opened, allowing some cleansing to occur.

Now, as my flu symptoms subside and I prepare to reenter the world tomorrow, I also find that the veil is lifting, and I am seeing more clearly. I have been mindful of how I have been feeling all week, and in this mild state of depression, I have felt no panic that it would become a protracted experience. I have remained aware that this state is transitory in nature, and I have felt assured that, just as the buds of Spring will make themselves known any day now, the buds of my self-awareness and clear, non-depressed mind would also manifest without much effort.
Post a Comment