Over a year ago I was diagnosed with depression and I started seeing a counselor. I don’t even know how to describe those months preceding my first appointment. Have you ever wanted to die? I’m sorry. I get it. There are no words.
This counselor recommended I take antidepressants, so I got on and off the pills in just over a year. I have the experience documented here. After I worked off the meds, I thought I had moved on. But it happened again recently–the onslaught of depression, the inability to care about life anymore. So I’m taking them. Again.
It’s only been a week or so but already I miss crying. I miss feeling pain. I miss feeling hopeless because at least then I was feeling something. Now, although my emotions have lifted to a more normal human level, they don’t fluctuate as much as I would like. I would love to laugh until I cry. I would love to cry until I laugh.
I’m never satisfied with what I have.
I fear I’ve lost the ability to be content with where I am in life. Content with the school I’m going to, content with the people I love, content with where I am financially. Of course it’s good to be ambitious and set goals, but there’s a point at which ambition becomes greed; when what you have is never enough, and you can’t be satisfied with life for more than a few moments each day.
Lately I’ve been learning how to breathe in a way that decreases stress. The method is breathing slowly in through the nose and slowly out through the mouth, making sure that the diaphragm (belly area) is expanding and not the chest. My best breathing frequency so far is six breaths per minute. I breathe in for five seconds and out for five seconds, concentrating on the action for about twenty minutes.
The slow breathing helps me focus. It reminds me that I am more than just a head moving around on tense shoulders and a hunched spine; I am a whole body, one that can feel light and airy and at peace. I can connect to all the cells in my body through healthy breathing. I can be aware of everything around and inside me. I can be content in this one moment.
Matt wrote an amazing piece on meditation on his blog Must Be This Tall To Ride. I loved his closing words:
“It wasn’t that long ago: not attractive enough, not smart enough, not rich enough, not strong enough, not tall enough, not good enough.
We cannot change the things that happen to us.
But we can change how we experience them.
Just breathe. In, then out.
I’m tall enough.”
Readers, here’s a video of chirping birds. Take two minutes out of your day and see if a little meditation makes you feel better. I care that you be happy. I hope you care, too.