Medicate and Meditate:
Two things that helped me. Two rather controversial words. Perhaps because we think we should be able to fix ourselves by ourselves and ideally in private? There seems to be some shame linked to being broken in the first place! And the latter latter because of the fear and resistance that there can be when embarking on new territory.
I have to confess… I couldn’t fix myself by myself. In fact, I realised I’d been doing a bodge job my whole life at trying to do just that, and my badly built foundations crumbled and I fell apart. I met with utter depression (anxiety was thrown in for good measure) and I needed the pain to stop. This time I knew I wanted a long-term solution, not a quick fix. I wanted real change, change that heals. My brother always used to say to me; ‘people don’t change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the anticipated pain of changing.’ I guess I reached the point where I was ready for the pain of changing.
Mindfulness (the modern word for meditation) came first. My counsellor referred me to a course. Had I heard bad things about it? Yes. Were Christians sending me articles about why I shouldn’t go? Yes. So I went in rebelliously and apprehensively yet hopeful. It was fascinating and practical; it wasn’t scary or oddly spiritual. We talk about renewing of the mind in church and then miss the bit about how to do that. Well mindfulness is the answer! Mindfulness is about becoming aware of your thought life and learning to manage it. So I was able to start unpicking my thought patterns and I became aware when I was listening to lies. My anxiety went during the eight-week course, and now I have tools for life. Forget the controversial side, I’m a fully-fledged fan.
Medication came at the end of the course when the anxiety had gone but bigger life questions linked to depression lingered. It was my psychiatrist who helped me prescribing me the right meds and managing my intake. This was a massive turning point for me. Yes, I have to swallow my pride with the pill every day, but I also swallow my sadness and that’s a deal worth making. For me that pill has given me life, because I was very tired of it when I started.
I’m very pleased I embraced the controversial, that I realised I couldn’t fix myself by myself… and that I was led to two very helpful tools, medication and meditation.