I recently became unstuck from something that has been weighing on me for many, many years my entire life. In the weeks leading to this breakthrough I was in quite a lot of mental anguish, and despite being most decidedly ON MY MEDS, I was plagued by mild depression, with a light sprinkling of anxiety.
Since I figured things out, I’ve been exhilirated with the sheer joy of liberation. I am so incredibly happy that I sometimes wonder if I am manic — although I know I am not — and then, worrying about the possibility of mania makes me anxious. This is a glimpse inside the mind of the highly self-aware depressive; I cannot help but constantly monitor, reflect and adjust my emotional temperature; it can be exhausting in here.
When I am mentally released from something I like to celebrate with a good housecleaning, and so I spent last Sunday in a delightful spring cleaning trance. It was so satisfying that when I was through, I wanted to relax contentedly on the couch with a shit-eating grin and a cigarette.
While I cleaned, David gardened and the kids played outside. This meant I could listen to whatever music I wanted, so there was a lot of Kanye West. Before bed I read Tina Fey's book Bossypants, which leaves me fits of hysterical laughter that linger after I put it down.
In the evening I sat for meditation. My mind was extremely noisy, racing with joy, and the competing strains of aggressive, catchy hooks and funny jokes which made it hard to settle. Instead of quieting, I heard this in my head:
Champagne wishes, dirty white bitches
I mean this shit is
Wave your hands in the air
Like you don't really care
Middle finger in the air
Like you don't really care
It's like that sometimes, so ridiculous
Life sometimes can be ridiculous
That is a sentiment I can relate to, a kind of gloss on “I used to be disgusted but now I try to be amused,” which helped me quite a lot through my late adolescence. Sometimes it is futile to fight your mind, so I decided to use this as my mantra. This did nothing to calm me, and the absurdity of it made me laugh. At this point the cat began to attack my legs. I was laughing so much I worried that I was disturbing David’s meditation, making me more anxious still. When the timer rang, I was felt slightly calmer, but not sufficiently so to go to bed, so I got nervous that I would have trouble falling asleep, torquing the anxiety spiral higher still.
I was initially drawn to mindfulness practices to help manage depression. Yogis like to talk a good game about being so balanced and centered, but in reality, we are just as, if not more, fucked up than anyone else. The reason people like me gravitate toward yoga is that we desperately need it.
When I first began practicing yoga, I was so concerned with my Higher Self that I believed if only I practiced hard or long enough I would transcend depression and eradicate my need for antidepressants. Eventually, I got over myself, realized this is total bullshit, and that Western medicine is a very good, extremely helpful thing.
And so, having finished meditating in an agitated state, I went up to bed, middle finger in the air, and took a klonopin. And with that, I drifted happily off to sleep.