The Mindful Way through Depression …..

I am not big on reading self-help books on depression or anxiety.  Partly because I think most of them are shite, and secondly because my filter system between other people’s issues and mine gets a bit hazy, and too much seeps over to my corner of the garden.

If I had to immerse myself in a book about someone and their issues, it would only be a matter of time before I started exhibiting the same issues.

I am funny like that.

That being said, on Saturday I stopped at The Book Lounge in Roeland Street, primarily to get a gift for the lovely Julie Hall, but whilst there I decided to spend my children’s inheritance on books.  For me.

This book titled: “The Mindful Way through Depression – Freeing yourself from Chronic Unhappiness” by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel, and Jon Kabat-Zimm jumped off the shelf at me.

I have no idea why, the cover looks like something from a really bad Jodi Picoult novel, and it is titled SELF HELP/PSYCHOLOGY – which would normally have me running for the hills – or at the very least rolling my eyes in sarcasm and prejudgement.

I picked the book up, parked my rather large rump on the leather couch and read a few pages.  I did it with a slightly raised eyebrow as I was expecting the usual “decide to be happy and you will be” bullshit.

I am pessimistic that way, go figure.

The part where I knew I was hooked was the example mentioned on page 20

You are walking down a familiar street … You see someone you know on the other side of the street … You smile and wave.  The person makes no response … just doesn’t seem to notice you … walks right past without any sign of recognizing your existence.

Question:

How does this make you feel?

What thoughts or images go through your head?

The example illustrates the ABC model of emotions.  The A is the facts of the situation.  B is the interpretation we give to the situation, while C is our reaction.

Logically one can work through this exercise and come up with the possibility that the person on the other side of the road was listening to his iphone and you could not see the earphones, and he did not see you.  Or maybe he was really distracted as he was thinking about a fight with his wife earlier in that day, and did not hear me, or notice me.

That is logic.  All of those are possibilities.

Me = immediate hot flush to my face, shoulders and chest and I start to feel this gnawing feeling that the person did not “not see me” he did.  But he ignored me because I had slighted him or I had upset him, or I done something to offend him.  But I had done something to upset/annoy/alienate him, and now he was angry at me.  Why do I do this to people?  What the hell is wrong with me?

{you can see I get totally lost in the interpretation of a situation, and tend to see the bubonic plague and the big bad wolf in everything}

Today is Monday night, and I still feel bad that the guy on the other side of the street did not acknowledge me.

Please let me bring you back to the fact that this did not happen to me, it was merely an example in an introduction of a book.  But since Saturday I have been running through the ways I could have offended this person.  This imaginary person.  On a street I have never walked on.  A greeting I never made, because it is fiction.

Crikey moses!!  Does this give you some idea of how warped General Anxiety Disorder is and how really ‘out to lunch’ my thought process is?

I am going to sit here and sip my wine, and wonder whether my script can be filled yet, and whilst I wait think a bit more about the “guy on the other side of the street and what I have done to hurt his feelings…”

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10 Comments

  1. LouMama

     /  September 19, 2012

    Thank you for sharing about your triumphs, struggles and plain old nuttiness. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to read about other moms experiencing similar things.

    I was just diagnosted wtih chronic or major depression (which I never heard of, I mean isnt all depression major!) I thought I had post partum but low and behold my issues go way back before my son.

    This is all very scary and I struggle daily with the elephant sitting on my chest. My therapist told me today that things will get better. I am still waiting and its been 4 long hours and no sunshine yet! In all seriousness, thank you for putting yourself out there.

    I have similar obsessive thinking/anxiety when it comes to just about everything. My specialty is scarily fantasizing (not in a good way!) about all the horrible things that could happen to my son or husband. I just cant imagine losing them in anyway. The fear is overwhelming.

    Reply
  2. Alex aka WHOA MUMMA!

     /  April 2, 2012

    I am so glad you found my blog! I finally have someone who gets how perfectly bat shit crazy anxiety is.

    Mine started after I had a miscarriage at 16 weeks. Two days later I had my first panic attack that scared me so bad I thought I was having a heart attack and called an ambulance.

    And aren’t hospital staff nice to people ‘faking’ heart attacks?

    That was a few years ago. Lucky for me panic attacks have stopped (kind of), no medication (except for wine on days that I am proud I survived). Wine and xanax makes for a lot of deleting on facebook the next day.

    I try not to tell my husband anymore but I still have days when my brain is screaming I CAN’T DO THIS LEAVE ME ALONE. I know it’s not rational and there is absolutely no reason to feel this way but I can’t help it. It usually happens when I have to behave like a grown up and interact with real people and not embarrass my kids. I am so scared that I feel my eyeballs shaking in my head.

    I deserve a freaking Oscar!

    Anxiety sucks. This year I hope to get rid of the mofo once and for all.

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  April 2, 2012

      Are you sure you are not my alter-ego????? We appear to be cut from the same cloth, maybe twins seperated at birth …..

      Reply
  3. I totally relate to this–I would stew on that, too, just reading your post about you reading the book!

    I have a doc appointment Thurs and I am finally going to ask for a prescription for anti-depressant. I need help. My family needs a better wife/mother. : (

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  March 27, 2012

      I hope it gets better for you.

      There is a tendency in the “beginning” to want to be better for others, but the reality is that trying to survive this and being in a relationship {any relationship} is like climbing a hill with a VW strapped to your back.

      Every step forward, comes at the cost of 5 steps back. Sometimes you never get “better” but you just manage to “get by.”

      Anti-depressants + long term therapy definitely help, but they are not the answer.
      I don’t know the answer and I have been in therapy (of various kinds) and medication (of various kinds) since about 2003.

      Good luck chicken, and cut yourself some slack – you do not need to be a better wife/mother – I just hope you can have a happy morning,
      Small stuff ………..

      Reply
  4. Hello love –

    Every time you write about anxiety or depression or generally being a bit of a mind fuck, I always feel like I could have put pen to paper, or rather laptop to keyboard myself.

    My husband (and his family, I think) also believes you must just decide / choose to feel good and you are all happy, not anxious or feeling like sitting in a dark corner. I have given up trying to explain that it is so much more than that.

    General Anxiety Disorder – oh shit. I hope she likes my comment… she may never read my blog again, what if I swore to much? Should I get a prettier avatar?

    hehehehe

    Love your blog.
    Wenchy

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  March 27, 2012

      Thanks Wenchy — I am having a particular difficult time right now, and I really am exhausted trying to talk to anyone, as I keep thinking all they will say is “for fk sake, not this shite again” … it is hard to explain that this is not an infection that gets treated and goes away, this is something that keeps coming back and coming back and coming back — and each time you start from square 1 and have to negotiate all the “snakes and ladders.”

      I get that it is exhausting/frustrating for someone to deal with me and my stuff, but that does not change the fact that this my daily reality. I do not have depression {and anxiety} because I think it makes me cool, I have it, I just do, and it is like dragging a mill stone with you where ever you go. All the time.

      I feel sorry that you are also having to walk this path, which really when all is said and done is a really lonely one. xx

      Reply
      • Oh so true. Everyone says they are there for you but they soon tire and it IS a lonely road.

        Reply
        • International Laundress

           /  May 29, 2012

          So very well put a very lonely road .

          Reply
  5. That guy’s an ass, always ignoring people 🙂

    Reply

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