Tag Archives: antidepressant

This Candleflame Instant

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This Candleflame Instant

As essence turns to ocean,
the particles glisten.

Watch how in this candleflame instant
blaze all the moments you have lived.

–Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks, A Year With Rumi, p 326)

I light a candle and I take a few deep breaths.  What can I write about when my inner world feels so turbulent?  I put a drop of frankincense essential oil in my palm, rub my hands together, cup my hands, breathe deeply. Frankincense has been used for centuries to assist people in reaching meditative states, calming the mind, purifying the air.  I pray that in this moment my life will make sense.

I watch the candle flickering, and I search for the words to express what I’m feeling.  Just a moment ago I was assailed by thoughts, now I’m drawing a blank.  What am I feeling?

Tired. Nothing else really comes to mind.  I haven’t had a night of deep, restful sleep since I began taking Wellbutrin on Tuesday; I’m jumpy, I continue to have a shorter fuse than I’d like, the physical exhaustion is making me foggy, it’s bringing me down.  I wonder if I made the right choice in taking this medication.  I wonder how long I’ll have to wait to find out if it is working for me or not.  I feel broken. Depleted. Empty.

A part of me wonders if at some point I’m going to break through the dark haze and remember the spark of divinity in me.   Just one spark is all that is needed to light the fire of awakening, but once lit, the fire must be tended.  My meditation practice is one way of tending this fire, but how much progress can I make when I’m fighting drowsiness at night, barely able to sit upright for fifteen minutes?  Has my fire gone out, and I’m just going through the motions of tending it, adding damp fuel on top of dying embers, not realizing the futility of my efforts?

It’s going on three years since I began my practice, and I ask how much has really changed in me?  Has anything changed?  There’s a cynic in me that says I have done all of this work for nothing.

Or perhaps my meditations really are having positive effects on my life, but the effects are so subtle that they cannot be easily grasped by my analytical mind?

Just for this moment, I will believe that I’m capable of transcending any difficulty with which I am faced. I will try to sit now, because this is what I have done for the last 926 days and in spite of the cynic, some part of me believes that this will help.

I hope to stay awake and aware, but I don’t have much fight in me right now.  If I begin to nod off, I’ll put myself to bed. Ok, here goes…

A spark is all that is needed to light the fire of awakening.

A spark is all that is needed to light the fire of awakening.

Mandala #2…and My Foray Into Antidepressants

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The all-seeing witness at the center of being, still in the midst of movement, silent in the midst of noise, peaceful in the midst of chaos.

The all-seeing witness at the center of being, still in the midst of movement, silent in the midst of noise, peaceful in the midst of chaos.

I drew this mandala when I found myself with a bit of time before a scheduled appointment.  I was in a quiet room, at a big table, and I had an hour and a half to kill–which is a very rare occurrence these days.  I got out my pens and the small journal that I often take with me just in case I have a moment to write, and I doodled.  It’s meditative drawing a mandala–I can become quite nicely absorbed in the present moment when my only question is, which color pen will I pick up next?

In other news, after years of encouragement from multiple people including my therapist, my husband, my mother-in-law, an ex-boyfriend and his mother–among others– I finally went to a doctor and got a prescription for an antidepressant medication.  I’m not telling my family.  They are staunchly opposed to medicines for regulating brain chemistry.  This is probably one of the reasons that they are all depressed.

I always thought yoga and meditation would save me from this.  I thought I was better than this.  Taking medication feels like I’m giving up.  But I can’t afford to wait any longer, not when I see myself raising my voice at my children, stomping and slamming around, unable to control my temper, feeling low, feeling worthless.

I have been telling myself for years that I’ll be happy when the conditions of my life change:

If I could only live in the mountains, surrounded by trees, ferns, rocks and moss…
If only I could have a supportive community around me, other parents of young children, people to meditate with,  friends who show up…
If only I had more time to write, to practice yoga, to rock climb, to dance in a forest cathedral, to listen to the whisper of river water gliding over stones…
If only, if only, if only
then I could be happy.

I had been waiting to create the perfect life, to move away from the city and be closer to nature. I had been waiting to find more balance, to have more time to myself.  I kept telling myself that my depression was linked to real conditions in my life that could be changed, and it was only a matter of time; I needed to be patient and allow the transformation to occur, find my peace with what is, not be too pushy.

Meanwhile I can’t seem to control my rage, and I lack the motivation to do many of the things that I know would bring me satisfaction.  No matter how hard I try, I end up being impatient with my kids, short-tempered, and then I feel guilty for erupting, being reactive.  I don’t want them to turn out like me, I don’t want them to be angry people.  I don’t want them to be traumatized; they’re so young, they deserve to feel happy and to know that they are safe at all times. They deserve to be around a mother who is happy, competent and peaceful.

My husband picked up my prescription from the pharmacy tonight, and I eyed the bottle sitting on the kitchen counter for a couple of hours before I worked up the courage to open it and examine its contents.  I took off the cap and saw a bunch of harmless looking,  round, pale lavender pills–but they might as well have been roaring monsters with sharp teeth for all of the anxiety I was feeling.  I plucked one out and held the small lavender disk in my hand for a few minutes, on the verge of tears, feeling so hopeless, defeated.

When I finally swallowed the thing, I was swallowing my sadness, my anger, my regret, my guilt.  There was a big lump in my throat that made swallowing nearly impossible, but I did it.  I took my first antidepressant pill–and then I burst into tears.

I’ve been told that life doesn’t have to feel like such a struggle.  I’m looking forward to experiencing that.