Tag Archives: medication

This Candleflame Instant

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.

The Last Day of February

The blossoming always comes at the perfect time.

Patience, and trust that the blossoming will occur in the perfect time, space and sequence.

I decided in January that I would be exploring the Twelve Steps in some form during the twelve months that I have committed to daily posts.  Today is the last day of February, the second month, so it only seems fitting that I wrap up with some work on the second step. I wrote a good bit of this post a week ago, but never got around to polishing it to my liking.  Hopefully today I can post writing that is enough in congruence with what I’m feeling that it rings with authenticity, if not for everyone else, then at least for myself.


Step Two is the rallying point for all of us. Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand together on this Step. True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, and every  meeting is an assurance that God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him.
-from http://www.aa.org

February 20, 2014

Nearing the end of February, and I find myself wanting to reflect more and more on the second step of the Twelve Steps. Tonight I spent some time researching Rageaholics Anonymous. I even found a phone meet-up and wondered if I would have the courage to join in on one of the conference calls.  There don’t seem to be any meetings in Baltimore; I would prefer to meet face to face with people, but I suppose a conference call is better than doing nothing at all.

My therapist suggested that I find an AA meeting in town.  Without too much effort I could present myself as an alcoholic, he suggested, and then I would gain admission to the group.  He cautioned me that if I tried to join saying that I’m actually a rageaholic but that I want to be part of a group, they  might not let me in.

Sure, I could present myself as an alcoholic.  I have turned to drink many times when I felt sad, or angry, or uptight.  I relied on drinking when I felt nervous in a social setting and wanted to “take the edge off.”  I have been so drunk that my body began to violently reject what I had poured into it, in an effort to save itself from being poisoned, evidence of its impulse to survive at all costs.  I have driven when I certainly shouldn’t have, and was lucky enough to not hurt anyone or myself.  I have allowed drinking to cloud my mind so that I wouldn’t experience true connection with my family or myself.  Sure, I could pass for an alcoholic.  Because I might actually be an alcoholic.  It doesn’t really matter that I haven’t had a drink since last August and that I haven’t missed it much at all.  The truth is, I have engaged in many addictive behaviors in my lifetime, the consequences of which I am not the least bit proud.  I want to explore these behaviors in the context of an established system that has proven results, if one is willing to do what needs to be done.  I think I am.

It would be nice to join a group.  I think in the end what I’m really looking for is connection, for support, a sense of being a part of something, being included.  Could I find this connection with myself, support myself, include myself?  I think I wouldn’t be asking these questions if I were already capable of such self-honoring.


February 28, 2014

It’s the last day of February and I’m exhausted from four sleepless nights in a row.  The Wellbutrin is having its way with me. I’m not supposed to be looking for an improvement in my mood before two weeks have passed, and this is the minimum window of time in which one can expect for the drug to take effect.  And there is the painful irony:  I’m taking this medicine with hopes of someday feeling better, but while waiting for that to happen, I’m being deprived of rest, of respite from my neurotic mind. I feel myself slipping into a downward spiral of impatience, resentment, anxiety, overwhelm, loneliness, sheer exhaustion, and I’m just feeling a whole lot worse.  It isn’t supposed to be like this, is it?

And yet, I am a mother.  I must be there to take care of my kids, to provide for their needs.  I’m getting caught up in my thoughts, and my son or daughter is whimpering, calling out.  They’re getting fussy with one another.  My son resists having his diaper changed and gets poop all over his hands, his legs.  My daughter doesn’t go willingly to the bathroom on her own; she needs to be coaxed, offered incentives.  Making lunch seems like a huge, nearly insurmountable task, all I want to do is lie down, rest, and let someone else be the mother.

But I push through, and inside, I am screaming.  My son scampers out of the room and starts pulling things off of bookshelves, out of drawers.  He does this while I’m trying to help my daughter with a puzzle that is probably too complex for her.  I dash after the boy to clean up the messes he has made, to avoid the worsening of the messes–and my daughter cries out in frustration because she has reached an impasse and needs my help.  I am running back and forth, from room to room, the house is in disarray.  I want rest. Inside I am screaming.

It is 1:41pm, and the kids are in their rooms for nap time. I take a deep breath.  I’m looking forward to teaching restorative yoga tonight; it might be the only moment today in which I experience peace, centeredness, stillness.  I take another deep breath, peace is now. Only now.

The second step reads:

I came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore my life to sanity.

As I look back on what I’ve experienced the past two months, and as I look forward into the third month and the third step, I feel pretty complete in this moment, as far as my step work goes.  I don’t have a group or a sponsor, but I do believe that a power greater than myself can restore my life to sanity.  Maybe the higher power is God, maybe it’s Wellbutrin, who knows?  All that is really important here is my belief.

And I do believe.