Today’s mind splurge is on the topic of depression. I have been feeling a little down recently; perhaps with due cause as I have just stopped taking a heavy dose of venlafaxine which has kept me steady for almost 10 years. I may return to the venlafaxine, it was a casualty of my desire to quit risperidone. It seemed natural when stopping one that I should also try to knock the other on the head.
Many people around me feel I was a little too hasty in deciding to give them up. I have been a little bit ill recently and have also been feeling the surge of kundalini in my spine; a sensation I am familiar with due to having spent months in meditation awakening it in my 20s. My health seemed to take a hit when I was given a vaccination for a trip to India. The nurse says that I could only have felt side effects within the 48 hours after the injection however over the next week I suddenly became lactose intolerant and developed shingles. Since then my diet has been bothering me more and more and I have also had to drop caffeine due to physical aches and meat due to general heaviness.
The kundalini sensations began to drastically alter the way I perceived the world. I realised that when I looked at photos of Meher Baba he looked back at me with disdain. This is not the way he actually looks of course but this is my projection of my inner demons onto his face allowing me to see what is inside my psyche: the numerous representations of the archetypes of which Jung wrote.
I decided to cut half the risperidone to see what would happen. The next day I developed a serious pain between my shoulder blades. I suppose someone familiar with chakra meditation would describe it as a blockage in the heart chakra. I pushed through it and elevated the sensation until eventually after a few days of concentration I succeeded in pushing it out through my crown. After this happened I noticed that Baba seemed clearer. No longer did I see such bitter disdain and enmity in his expression. I toyed with cutting the risperidone further but made no firm decision to do so.
A couple of weeks later it happened that I was travelling across the country for a couple of days and by chance (or subconscious machination) I forgot the pills I would need during my days away. Having already been travelling for over an hour I knew that there was no way to return for them without putting off my journey till the following day. I decided to take the leap and try to do without them.
The agonising pain between my shoulder blades returned and once again I set to work trying to force through the blockage with meditation and prayer. These archetypal lurkers within my mind started to leave against their will. I had a number of dreams over the following days: In each I was in a house of differing atmosphere and design. One of the earlier houses was a huge dark structure with inadequate electrics inhabited by spiders and dusty furniture. The lurkers were haunting this house but seemed to realise that they were losing their grasp on their task and were just wandering aimlessly. There also seemed to be a visitor who seemed to be a real person who was talking with them and perhaps trying to make them see sense. I did not recognise the man, he was a young black fellow but where all these other creatures were like extras on a film set he seemed like a normal person who had just walked in off the street.
A night or two later I was in another house. This time it was a far cosier sort of home. There appeared to be a party going on – a very Christmassy affair. My parents were in this house. I enlisted my stepfather’s help at one point as after the doorbell rung I opened the door to have an eastern European woman barge past me and try to make her way up the stairs. Forcing her out I was confronted by a large group of eastern Europeans complaining that I was cruel to deny her entry. My stepfather came to my aid in trying to lock the door and explained that the lock was jammed in the open position and an effort had to be made to ensure the door was locked. I later looked out of the window and there were a multitude of strange characters from around the world looking up at me from the bus stop where they were waiting to move onto a new destination. It looked like a crowd of zombies wanting entry in a movie.
Anyway, having pushed most of these things out of my mind by meditation Meher Baba looks far more approachable than he did before. It seems clear to me that there are still a great many emotional barriers between me and a clear vision of his photo but the expression on his face is now far closer to happiness than it was previously to hatred. However this gets me onto the topic of this mindsplurge. Having dropped all the medication so suddenly I now feel pretty depressed, though at the same time I feel more real and truthful to myself. Baba appears to me more clearly than he did before so in that sense it seems that quitting was a good thing to do. However I cannot deny that I do feel more miserable and less willing to actually do anything.
This led me to thinking that maybe I have been wrong about depression. Perhaps it is not such a negative force as contemporary sufferers assume. It seems to me that depression has increased a great deal in recent decades even as quality of life has ostensibly improved. When man was living in trees and foraging for food I will wager that depression was suffered far less than it is in modern 21st century Britain. I was prompted to mention to my friends that it was those who purport not to be depressed that are perhaps the ones in need of medical intervention as they are obviously delusional about the state of the world.
Few people live in communities any more. I have been living in my flat for almost a year now and when one of my closest neighbours knocked on my door the other day she mentioned that I was a new neighbour. In the whole year that I had been living there she had not even noticed my arrival until a couple of weeks before. We also have so much more knowledge of the world than we did in centuries past. I know of wars around the world and despotic regimes over which I have no power. In fact I have no power over issues that affect the people on my own street. Even the ability to vote in general elections is only a show to legitimise rule by those who were given the advantage of superior educations and networking opportunities.
We don’t even choose our Prime Minister for his political skills anymore. He is proposed by his party based upon focus groups that decide he is more charismatic than his opponents. He then wins by default when they receive fewer votes than him because they do not have the requisite levels of charisma. I would rather choose a Prime Minister based upon qualities such as intelligence and a grasp of economics. I am not saying our present choice does not have these qualities in any degree; I simply point out that if charisma and pretty boy looks were not so high on the agenda then a candidate would undoubtedly have been chosen with the more essential elements in greater abundance.
We live in a world that is built by media, the ability to influence the media, and the media’s battle with whoever may yield a similar level of power. Our world is not designed in an ethical manner or even a manner of common sense. It is all about the powerful grabbing as much power as they can without creating headlines that are damaging enough to reduce the levels of power that they may be able to achieve. This is not the best way to run a country or a world. It is unfortunately a lot better than many of the alternatives the modern world has to offer.
Is it any wonder people are depressed?
Our depression is an act of surrender. We know there is nothing we can do so we just roll over and let the powerful subjugate us. It doesn’t have to be this way though. It is possible to escape. You simply need to change the rules of the game. Instead of playing on this global board where you can see the harm that is beyond your powers to prevent withdraw and play on a smaller board. There are some who can play the global game, they are the ones with the powerful minds that have been built up by years of success and have not been knocked down until they feel they cannot go on. They are few on the ground though and they are created at first on the personal level.
Our depression empowers us to take control on this small level. First you must shut out all knowledge of the world you cannot control and then seek to introduce order into the world you can control. Your successes on this personal level will pave the way for greater and greater successes further down the line. My personal success today was to take all the books laying on my desk and arrange them – not in any order – but just so that they were neatly in a row. It is not much but it is an improvement to the world over which I had control. Some of you may be able to achieve far greater things; maybe some of you will achieve smaller things. All that you do will be another brick in the wall of protection you have against depression.
Without the depression in the first place we would not have this motivation to build this wall. We could take pills to mask the depression but then we are just hiding from it. It is still there, dwelling in your mind like a multitude of demons taking advantage of your weakness, you just do not care that they are there because the pills cover up your concern. Depression need not be a debilitating illness; it can be a motivator to give you the life you really want. The only reason you are depressed in the first place is because your life is not the way you want it. Do not hide from this, allow your depression to guide you to a better world.