It’s New Years Eve 2014 and a good time to stock take on the year past. For a start, this is the third time I have seen in a new year while affected by depression. That pisses me off! But on the positive side, lots of good things have happened. We are loving our new apartment, the business is doing well with a great team of employees, the family are thriving and I am off to a 7 day silent retreat in two days time.
So I have been asking myself; If my life is good then why aren’t I? I pushed myself in the last part of the year knowing that Christmas time would bring sunshine and holidays. Although I could feel the depression swirling around me I made a lot of effort to keep positive and appear ‘normal’. (To be honest it takes a lot of emotional energy to achieve this. I feel just like the duck who looks very graceful above the water while paddling madly to keep moving.) Then Christmas came and went and the feelings of depression caught up with me.
So now here I am again, trying to work out what it all means. Do I accept that my ‘normal’ state is always going to be influenced by a level of depression or do I keep fighting back? While I have continued to read about Buddhist philosophy, it is not provide the answers I seek. Something that Buddhist teachers emphasise is to embrace life just as it is. But this raises the question, if my depression is a extended illness and not just a sad few days, then can I embrace the suffering it brings. Do I have the strength and courage?
On the upside, my reading reinforces the importance of spending 20 to 30 minutes each day practicing mindfulness meditation. I started this practice two year’s ago. It does help to clear the squeeze in my head brought on from feelings of stress and anxiety.
But most importantly my meditation has again reminded me that this illness does not define me! While it influences and shapes my life, I am much more than this. Depression changes nothing. I am intrinsically okay!