I use to see a counselor on a regular basis. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety for probably most of my life but, a few years ago things got really bad. I went through some pretty catastrophic life changes and I handled them poorly to say the least, and that’s only if you can say I “handled” them at all.
Long story short, meditation helped tremendously. The practice regulated my mood. I felt less anxious, less neurotic. I was less inclined to lose my temper. It seemed to lengthen my fuse. While, the depression never went away, it dulled substantially. It became a kind of low hum faintly murmuring in the background, constantly present but ultimately inconsequential and ineffectual. This is not to say that my “melancholy stalker”, my “shadowed stranger”, never turned its whispers to screams – it certainly did. But, I had begun to garner enough awareness that I could feel it’s presence creeping closer, I could sense it’s rising, and I could prepare. There still have been times when I have found myself overtaken by the shaded shroud of this dark squatter but, its stay has been mostly short-lived. Because of this, I haven’t needed to see my counselor in a couple years now.
However, over the past two months I feel like I’ve been regressing. I feel like I’ve been slipping back to a place I thought I was past. The dark visitor’s residence has become more pronounced and predominating. It started simply enough. I began to feel increasingly tired in the morning and I began to find it increasingly difficult to get out of bed. I’ve started feeling more and more overwhelmed, more and more anxious. I’ve become more and more ill-tempered. My fuse has begun to shorten. I’m becoming increasingly depressed and despondent. I’ve begun to be engulfed by an undercurrent of sadness and sorrow, and by a lethargy that I’m struggling to shake off. If that wasn’t enough I have continued to judge myself cruelly because of it. My consciousness feels like a china cabinet teetering on the edge of a canyon. Yesterday, with some resistance and reluctance, after going a couple years without seeing her, I returned to see my counselor.
“Reluctance” and “resistance” may actually be understatements. I REALLY didn’t want to go. I REALLY didn’t want to do it. But, I was nearing the end of my rope. It felt like this was starting to become an emergency and it was time to break the glass.
I’m not going to bullshit you and say that it made a world of difference or that I felt 100% better after the session with my counselor. As a matter of fact, when I was walking out of her office I didn’t feel like it made a difference at all. She really didn’t shed any new light on my situation. She didn’t really tell me anything that I didn’t already know, or didn’t already instinctively know. If anything, she just reminded me of what I knew already know – if that makes sense.
But, strangely enough, as I was driving home…I felt lighter. I felt a little less lethargic, a little less sad, a little less tired. I felt that had a little bit more room to breathe, a little more space to move around, a little less restricted.
I still had an argument with my alarm this morning. Still swiped the snooze one more time than I probably should have but, I was able to brush-off the full blast of the bad mood that was waiting by my bedside. I found that some of the “lightness” had remained, enough to hold on to, enough to lean my awareness against, enough to water, enough to grow…
Maybe sometimes a simple reminder is what we really need…