Essay on Depression

This Blog is in response to the fact that people do get depressed during this holiday season and this time of year and I am working in a Wellness group on Facebook and wanted to address this topic as something I do know about.

Depression:

Depression is a circular disease that feeds on itself and can grow to be unmanageable.  It is really much like a parasite that you feed through a series of behaviors. Some of these are health related behaviors and some are emotional. This is based on my own experiences with depression and my family’s experiences with depression and also based on what I learned getting a Master’s of Science degree in Psychology and 10 years of social work.

First, I am going to list physical behaviors that contribute to feeding depression.

1-Skipping meals, then over eating at night or eating constantly.

I am a meal skipper, but make up for all those calories by consuming a lot of food at night. The reason this is so bad is your blood sugar is all over the place and you are not getting enough nutrients to your body. Depressed people are often low in essential vitamins, especially B vitamins.

Eating constantly is the other extreme. And it serves as a numbing device. You are always overfed and you have a feeling of being stuffed yet still hungry.

It is two extremes.

2-hydration. People that are depressed do not drink enough water and will in fact make a conscious choice not to drink water. Even a small amount of dehydration will impact the brain. In Tibetan Tantra the element of water is connected to the head or brain region as it is the area of our body that uses the most water and needs the most water to work effectively.

Drinking enough water every day is one way to stabilize moods and to prevent depression or to begin to heal from depression. I cannot over emphasize the importance of water. A good rule of thumb is if you aren’t peeing clear you aren’t drinking enough water.

3-Sleep-either not enough or too much. I have what is called running thoughts or the mind is flooded with continual thoughts and it is all very circular and unproductive which makes it impossible to sleep as the mind never fully shuts down.

The other situation is where you sleep all the time to break away from thoughts and life.

4-Activity: People will react to feelings of depression by either not doing anything or doing too much. I hope that the consistency of my comments show that depression is extremes of doing too much or too little, eating too much or too little, sleeping too much or too little. And the same is true of activity either the person will do nothing or do way too much. I realize people will say, but if you are doing all this stuff you can’t be depressed. Yes, depression can manifest itself in too much activity as in trying to fill a void or running away from issues and not thinking.

What I have listed so far are bodily manifestations of depression, eating, drinking, sleeping and movement. Emotionally depression will show itself by overthinking or circular thinking, inability to make decisions, a feeling of emptiness, or extreme sadness, the inability to see a change or a future that is different than the hopelessness of the moment.

The very real fact of depression is a feeling or an overwhelming sense of being stuck and unable to move forward.

People will either experience racing thoughts or muddled slowness of thought. From what I had read and heard I assumed depression was thinking sad thoughts or thinking bad thoughts. My dad called it having dark ideas. My depression was having racing thoughts and having no quiet or peace of mind, ever. It was exhausting.

Some people will have a feeling of great sadness while others feel empty and have no feelings, neither joy nor sorrow.

However, almost all people affected by depression will experience a sense of hopelessness that nothing will ever change that they will never feel differently or good again and the unending sense of hopelessness will continue forever.

Having people tell you that things will be okay seems crazy. The feeling is things aren’t okay and they will never be okay. The best advice I ever got about depression and how to overcome it is first do not let it take root, be cautious, put your health first, learn to be happy because happy is a learned response, learn to control your thoughts through yoga, meditation, the breath and don’t overthink. Also do not ever be afraid to reach out, get help, use medication when justified, and seek counseling.

The following is the best advice I have ever read on depression given by the renowned therapist CG Jung to a friend. He gives very piratical ideas about getting over depression and if that doesn’t work to sink down into the depression and let it work itself out in any way possible.  I have found it more useful to give myself over to depression in some instances and wrestle with my own bad nature, but I do it with an awareness of my intention.

With that said, depression is a life endangering disease of the mind and it claims as many victim as cancer. Be cautious and seek help and drink enough water and lay off the soda.

Anyway to Jung:

Dear N., I am sorry you are so miserable. ‘Depression’ means literally ‘being forced downwards.’ This can happen even when you don’t consciously have any feeling at all of being ‘on top.’ So I wouldn’t dismiss this hypothesis out of hand. 

If I had to live in a foreign country, I would seek out one or two people who seemed amiable and would make myself useful to them, so that libido came to me from outside, even though in a somewhat primitive form, say of a dog wagging its tail. I would raise animals and plants and find joy in their thriving.

 I would surround myself with beauty no matter how primitive and artless–objects, colors, sounds. I would eat and drink well. 

When the darkness grows denser, I would penetrate to its very core and ground, and would not rest until amid the pain a light appeared to me, for ‘in excessu affectus’  [in an excess of affect or passion] Nature reverses herself. 

I would turn in rage against myself and with the heat of my rage I would melt my lead. I would renounce everything and engage in the lowest activities should my depression drive me to violence. I would wrestle with the dark angel until he dislocated my hip. For he is also the light and the blue sky which he withholds from me.

Anyway that is what I would do. What others would do is another question, which I cannot answer. But for you too there is an instinct either to back out of it or to go down to the depths. But no half-measures or half-heartedness. With cordial wishes, As ever, C.G. Jung

jacob

 Jacob Wrestles with the Angel.

Jung once famously said that “one does not become conscious by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” It is when we stop projecting our own darkness on the world and others and stop seeking perfection that we can be open to joy and life. Life is messy and pretending otherwise is to open a door to depression and other mental health issues.

The books I have found helpful are:

Yoga for Depression by Amy Weintraub

Darkness Made Visible, a memoir on madness by William Styron.

Anger by Thich Nhat Hanh, or anything by him

Mostly stay hydrated and live in the present moment, jill

How to awaken to a higher level of Sexual connection through Tantra mindfulness

One of the things I hear most from my clients is that I have an amazing touch.  I appreciate that comment very much. And I always say thank you and express my gratitude.   Even though I have heard it a lot since I was rather young, it still means a great deal to me personally and professionally.  It is a wonderful compliment, but it got me thinking what is so amazing about my touch.  I have very average hands, very.  Also they are not very strong.  So it has nothing to do with any physical attributes I have or ever had.a hug

My touch is connected to something else and that is the desire to heal or bring pleasure and by pleasure I do not mean orgasm, but the pleasure of being touched in a mindful and present way.  To touch in a way that is accepting and meditative.   Mindfulness in the simplest of terms is to be aware of your intention, to be clear of intruding ideas or thoughts, to suspend judgment, and to be totally and completely present. A mindful touch is full of compassion and love, not romantic love( but that certainly can be part of it)  but love as a way of life.   As soon as I touch someone in my work I try to connect with their energy.  That might take a bit, so I do not rush that process or try to push forward. I have been working at this for about a year and practicing Tantra for about 10 years. In that year of working I have had 1 person I was not able to connect with and the reason was he had expectations of the session that were not going to happen.   I do not bring expectations.  I do not have an agenda.  I am not trying to heal myself by helping others.  And you might ask how does that relate to my sex life?

Frist, it is important to touch the other person with respect, compassion and love.  This does not mean you can’t get dirty, or naughty in fact just the opposite as it is easier to let go with someone you trust, and have respect for and can extend compassion and love.  There is a real fear of sex in this world, when it is the most creative and pleasurable things you can do.  Sex is not dirty, it is not wrong, it is a sacred act of creation.  Secondly think of sex as a positive life giving act that is a precious form of communication.

Third fall deeply into your body and enjoy yourself.    To do that you have to be present.  For example and please excuse me for using myself.  I was massaging a clients hands and looking at his fingers and he asked, “What are you thinking?”  I said, “Nothing, I am mindful of your hand, but I am not thinking about anything.”  The nice thing about becoming mindful is the realization you do not need to be using your brain every moment. It can rest.  And when you need it to do something that includes thinking use it then.  During sex there doesn’t need to be thinking,  There needs to be peace and presence and relaxation and love.  I am not talking love forever and ever, but love and a feeling of connection and compassion for your partner that is transmitted in a mindful touch.   And honest Tantra communication.  Ask with love what you can do to bring more pleasure to your partner and tell them with honesty and love what they can do to give you more pleasure.  Good sex, fulfilling sex is just as much as about receiving as giving.

 

I date a lot well, I used to date a lot.  In variably, at some point the guy, the man, the datee, would ask what I like most about sex.  My response would always be I don’t understand the question.  Sex is different every time or should be and what was wonderful one night might not be fun Monday afternoon.   And what you loved about one person might not work with another.  However, once that hurtle of judgment and expectations is overcome, sex becomes a more organic and fulfilling experience.    When you add mindfulness the touch shared is amazing.  massage9

 

Sex, Mindfulness, & Positive Thoughts

I was actually going to go online and find a post for today as my creativity is low.  However, what I found about sex and mindfulness was really bad.  They quoted Annie Sprinkles and it is no that I donot like Annie Sprinkles it is just not the person I would look to for ideas about mindfulness.  Plus the article was not very well written,  and it was one of those sites that take 5 minutes to load because it is full of advertisement.   And I do not mind advertisement, just not that much advertisement.

What is Sex:sex1

Sex is any activity we engage in for the purpose of satisfying a sexual desire or need.  Some might say massage is then sexual, but touch is a need that is not sexual but human.  We are born with a need for touch.  Some of us learn that the only way to get touch is through being sexual, but touch is motivated by our humanness.  Sex on the other is also a human need and not one that is wrong or dirty of bad.  Sex is inherently good.  Sex is about want, desire and shared sexual activity.  I grew up in a religion that defined sex strictly by sexual penetration by a man’s penis in a woman’s vagina. Therefore people justified sexual behavior as not sex because there had been no vaginal penetration by the penis.   There is a whole lot more that goes into sex than just that.  Sex includes mutual touching, emailing, flirting, skyping, FaceTime, sexting, dirty talk, and being emotionally sexual with a person.   This does not include activities done to for other purposes.  I may email my friend to discuss the sex I am having with someone and I am confiding this because I need his help or advice.  That is not sex it is conversation.  When I open an email from a lover telling me with he wants to do with me and how badly he wants to be with me, that is sex.   I view sex holistically as a set of emotional and physical behaviors.

 

What is Mindfulness:untitled (10)

Mindfulness is almost the except opposite of how most of us are living moment to moment   The TV is on, you are checking your phone, and half listening to a family member or friend.  The attention of your mind is spread out and not focused on anything and everything at the same time.  The opposite is being hyper focused on a task to the point of not being aware of the outside world. Distraction and being overly focused are both the opposite of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the state of mind where the task being performed is fully taking up the mind, but without the stress of focus.  For example, when I am washing my tea cup.  I am washing my tea cup not thinking about anything but I am aware of the  water, the towel, the cup and my surroundings.  Outside thoughts are not intruding on my task nor an I obsessively washing the tea cup.  Mindfulness is awareness without intruding thoughts and the act of being fully present in whatever we are doing from taking out the trash, to listening, yo  the having sex.

Positive thoughts: blog1

I will say that I sort of hate the positive thought parade.  I have been defined as being negative my entire life when in fact I was being realistic.  The last time I was called negative was when I voiced concerns about getting a good night’s sleep because of being in a strange mattress at a yoga retreat. At least 5 people yelled at me that I should think what a welcoming bed I had and how I would sleep like a baby. What I voiced was a legitimate concern about my sleep.  I was bombarded with what I term wishful thinking and inauthentic speaking.  Being positive isn’t saying the universe is on my side.  Life isn’t Stars Wars.  Positivity is more deeply rooted in the idea of being okay with yourself and with others and withholding judgments.  It is the belief that the world is more good than bad and that everything is going to be okay, because everything is going to be okay.

Tomorrow how mindful sex is the best sex.

 

 

 

Guru’s, and those that search for answers

This post is what I call the never ending post.  It began one way, I changed it, and I then lost it and so I am beginning again.  I then got sick with a cold, something I have not had in years, and then left the post again while I drank fluids, and hot tea and chicken soup because I am old fashioned like that.  So 3 days since I started this I am hopefully going to see it through to the end.  images34W40GT1

I wanted to discuss the idea of knowledge, and seeking help.  In an ever complex world that is more and more cut off from the natural world and natural rhythms of life, as humans we are left with a lot of questions.  Also as people turn from organized religion for more personal paths of spirituality there is dissonance.  The end results is there are a lot of people seeking something more.  In my case that more is more sexual pleasure and I am qualified to provide help in this area.  I have techniques that have been taught to me and they do work to increase the pleasure of sex and also to increase intimacy with a partner.  They aren’t tricks.  I also do not pretend to have all the answers and maintain good boundaries when I work with people. I look at others and I am continually surprised by the searching people are doing for answers and I am also very disheartened by people that try to step up and put themselves in a position of authority over others.

I have been unfortunate to have been in contact with people who want to be a guru of some kind.  My neighbor considered herself a spiritual leader and practiced a combination of magic, chakras, crystals and rituals and yoga.  Once she decided that a corner of my yard would make a good mediation garden and painted a chakra thing on my fence.  There are many types of chakra systems.  I learned the Tibetan Tantra system and there are many others, but this chakra thing on my fence looked like a penis of many colors.  She clearly had no idea what she was doing.  She is like many people I know.  They read a bit about this, skim a internet article or two, go to a class and pick up bits and pieces of information that do not form a concise basis of knowledge and get filled with the idea they are here to save the rest of us from ourselves.  And there are plenty of us wandering around wondering what the hell is going on?

However, this type of searching does leave people open to guru mentality.  And I would define guru mentality as the need to see others as possessing a skill set or knowledge that will answer your own questions.   This doesn’t means the guru has to be particularly well known or nationally known.  It can be the neighborhood yoga teacher that comes to her class with an attitude of wanting to be admired or be held in position of teacher and her class as accolades.  It is about perceiving yourself as apart from those you teach.   It is dangerous.   It is dangerous to the person that sees themselves as a self styled guru and it is dangerous to people looking for help.

I had a friend in high school.  We had a group of 4 friends in high school.  We were smart, attractive, but sort of quirky so we didn’t really fit in with the popular girls or anyone, but we hung out with everyone and had a good time.  One friend never quite fit in, she was a little odd looking, her home life was not ideal and she didn’t get things.  More than anything she wanted to fit in and be accepted, not by us because we didn’t care, but by others.  Fast forward several decades.  She is now a fitness guru, because all her time has been devoted to staying fit.   And she seems to know about this and taken classes on it and is certified and as far as I can tell doesn’t give anyone advice that would be harmful.  Lately she has been holding seminars on marriage,  finances  and how to make your life peachy keen.  I am less oaky with this as a sense  a deeper need in her to be admired and considered successful in these areas.  And I know of nothing that has made her more or less successful in these fields than anyone else nor does she have any special training in these fields.  Instead she will say things like I have read the bible 4 times and understand God’s plan.    I have read Lord of the Rings 6 times and  The Silmarillion twice and guess what? still not an elf or a hobbit .images88FOLNS2

I can count the times I have been given good advice by people.   Two times.

1-There is always a quick solution to every problem and it is usually the wrong one !

2-The best guru you will ever meet is the one inside of you.

This can be translate to mean look into your own heart, you know what is best for you and follow your heart.  Then don’t expect a problem to be solved overnight that has taken 10 years to develop.  My advice is do not look to other people to solve your problems. No person has all the answer.  Look at Oprah,  all the diets in the world and she is still fat.  She wants to be seen as a guru, plus she likes to look for gurus to fix her own problems.  Look for people that want to work with you on whatever problem you are having.  I believe in facilitating change and learning.  I am here in a supportive position not in a  position of authority or to be admired or holding on to superior knowledge.   This is how I was taught at Bennington and I believe it to be the best possible way to learn. I was not in the same place as my teachers, but they wanted to lift me up and I wanted to be lifted up.  It was a mutual experience.  And one of my most important experiences as far as learning, understanding people and the world and as a base of future knowledge.   That is the  experience I hope to duplicate.