December 2015 .This was a time when it was very very dark.Every passing day was making me realise I am not getting better ( inspite of medicines and support from family) . It was the last month of the year – and I could only feel cold and hopeless around my birthday and Christmas and the New year. Nothing and no one could make me step out of my bedroom ( I had to pause as just writing about it now is making me freeze – it was the worst I have ever expirienced ). There was not much difference between the days and night except the beautiful winter sun pushed me to open the curtains sometimes. And that’s when I found my magic book!
Its called THE MINDFUL WAY THROUGH DEPRESSION ( Freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness) and you can click here to go to Amazon.in for buying/reviewing it . The most interesting thing about this book is that it supports everything with research data and was easy to believe ( of course I had trust issues then!). It enlists various things you might be feeling and helps you identify if you are depressed or just temporarily sad. And then it tells you the magic words : THERE IS HOPE AND EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT. It shows you what you need to do and like a recipe, you realise there is something you can follow to get out of the scary place. Just the belief makes it easier to endure going forward.
The book explains the concept of MINDFULNESS and shows easy simple excercises to practice. The fact that it gives many examples and you instantly identify with at least one of them -helps to start seeing light at a distance. The book leads to an 8 week programme where you practice different things every week to be on the path to happiness. However, it strongly suggests that it is to be practiced once you are out of the depression. As long as I read and tried practicing the little exercises, I knew I would get better and then do this 8 week programme ( here is the Amazon.in link to the workbook ) to keep the uncontrolled unhappiness away. I am yet to complete the magical 8 weeks ( I started the programme and relapsed and haven’t been able to start again) – but I want you to know this for sure -THE DEPRESSION ALWAYS GOES AWA Y ( with or without medicines) but you have to do this step to make sure -IT DOESN’T COME BACK!
It’s like if you fracture your foot – even if you give it basic care, it will mostly heal over time. The plaster will make sure the joint/bones don’t move and get a chance to repair. However, not only do you want it to be painless and heal, you want to make sure you don’t limp forever. That’s what this does for you – it makes you so strong that you will be using a shield against depression even when you are most susceptible the next time around ( like a trauma, broken relationship etc.). So the 8 weeks programme for me is like giving my mind the extra power of a metal shield against negative thoughts taking me prisoner again. TRY IT – you will be thankful!
I want to end by sharing what I love about the whole mindfulness business – the fact that it lets you be. You don’t need any special time or equipment or motivation – just focus on whatever is happening around you RIGHT NOW. Soon you will get thoughts about past/future that will distract you – and it’s OK – thats what minds do. The minute you realise your attention has drifted, gently bring it back to the NOW. And this is the best part – if you get distracted, you don’t lose. Instead you win brownie points for bringing it back to the present! So every time you bring it back , you are telling your mind that YOU ARE THE BOSS !
I hope you try it ( you don’t need to be officially depressed to enjoy it) and benefit from it. After all , RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW is all you have for real!