Thursday, December 8, 2011
Balance is not for everyone
[I like this little video in which the cat on the ledge refuses to make a fool of himself.]
Just some thoughts today, on their way to being developed in a file on Zen and bipolar. The question applies to any mental disorder, though.
Thinking about how many Buddhist teachers promise that we can practice our way to equanimity and peace - and can this possibly apply to bipolars? Depression (which can manifest as other disturbed mental conditions than sadness, e.g. irritability) is a kind of dukkha, and is in our own mind/body. It is us, neurochemistry, brainwaves. The dullness and apathy it brings are a survival disadvantage; of course you don't like it. You are not at peace with it.
Practice, and lots of it, brings a certain amount of detachment from depression, just as you can get detached from your pain.
You can also distract yourself with external things that "take your mind off" it. For me, fiction, both written and filmed, can work. The more depressed I am, the more I crave exciting, active films.
Being engaged in talking with someone else can work, though sometimes I still feel uneasy, not quite there, even with a close friend.
So you can distract from depression. But when you notice yourself again, so to speak, there it is, like a browned-out or jagged-red aura all around you, a dis-comfort, un-ease, in your very brain pathways. Researchers talk about brain levels of various chemicals, norephremine, serotonin, dopamine. And you can control your actions if mania is coming on, but still have that hyper, jittery feeling - and it will keep you awake. And various medications won't help. And you will eat many potato chips at night, and buy books for your Kindle, and only vaguely remember it when you see the crumbs on the table. Sorry, got carried away.