“How does a meditator deal with episodes of major depression?”
- one of the more useful summaries of suggested approaches i’ve come across.
For the first time in weeks, i’m able to genuinely feel (rather than intentionally [totally unconvincedly] attempt to count) my blessings. All that gratitude practice stuff? Feels like bollocks when you’re in the thick of the black fog. But perhaps going through the motions helped.
Or perhaps it was the semi-enforced morning walk, which turned into a 2 hour ramble and nude swim on one of southern Tasmania’s most beautiful beaches.
Or perhaps it was the total immersion therapy of my family – the usual holiday craziness / full catastrophe of reconciling the various needs of the south american BIL, (age appropriately) slightly obsessive lesbian aunts, (age appropriately) self-obsessed 4yo, (age appropriately) presents-obsessed 9yo, (age appropriately) physically fragile and heat struck grandmother, swimming mad grandfather, migrainey sister, sailing obsessed husband, son and BIL, one possibly bi (in many senses) mum, and a neurotic lonely rescue dog tied up on the verandah so that all the native wildlife doesn’t get harassed and the air-conditioned carpets don’t get dog-haired. Several million shoes on the front verandah. A tent, a motor home and every room in the house littered with mattresses. Food wrangling to suit one special needs diet (low amine), one gluten intolerant, one IBS and multi-cultural preferences. This all may look bohemian (in a Victorian / Arts & Crafts movement rather than 60s kind of way) from the outside.
Or perhaps it was the operatic imitations at 9.30pm (performed by 3 immediate family members, none of which was me), accompanied by taswegian 9yo on pianola. Perhaps it was the afternoon swapping of YouTube annual ‘best of’ in a wanna be low-screen-time environment. Perhaps it was the combined efforts of seven adults to keep one other adult out of the kitchen. Perhaps it was the 36 deg day, where those of us willing or capable of tolerating such temperatures went for swims and sails, and those not hibernated indoors with air-conditioning. Perhaps it was the fact that (unlike many other families, i’m told) the above stresses did not lead to serious arguments or permanent communication cessation, but only mildly expressed tensions.
Please note that most of the above are seriously weird in my family / for many families. Christmas carols yes, opera no. Screen time yes, but on Christmas day or when family are gathered never. Keeping my mother out of the kitchen at a family celebration? Earth shattering. No arguments? Normal for us (we don’t do shouting or tantrums), however polite assertiveness and appropriate self-medicating via largely non-medicinal forms is normally a bit patchy – and this time achieved by all of us. Air conditioning and 36 deg in Tasmania on Christmas Day???? Literally a record. i remember far more Tasmanian Christmases in flannelette pyjamas with the woodfire on. As it should be. As today (Boxing Day) may well be.
Anyway, i suddenly realised i was the only normal person in the room. Again. [Just in case i was delusional, i checked with an online friend, who confirmed this. So there, actual external evidence 😉 ].
Or maybe i’m not normal. As the case may be. Apparently all of the above may well be within the bounds of normal. Very post-modern, very 21st century normal, but normal.
Or maybe the current drug regime has finally kicked in.
Or maybe the vague snifter of a couple of possible jobs has cheered me up.
Or maybe it was the two hour walk and swim on one of local beaches on Christmas Eve.
Anyway, something appears to be working. At least temporarily. For now.
And i’m grateful.