Dealing with Depression/my mental illness
I suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, hypothyroidism, hormonal imbalance, everyday stress of raising 3 teenage boys, stress of finding a job, financial stress and more. I no longer find enjoyment in anything but sleeping. I can not do simple tasks without getting confused. I have no short term memory. I think everything that happens in my family is my fault. I have strong feelings of guilt and some paranoia. I cry very easily and get frustrated when someone asks me something when I am trying to do several things. I can not concentrate. The list goes on. I am not myself. Can these problems be a result of my mental illness? What can I do? I am losing myself and do not want to lose my family.
Mental illness? I am not sure what you mean by that phrase? What were you diagnosed with?
Thought and the power given to thought is at the root of, not only depression, but all aberrant (abnormal) processes - abnormal does not denote mental illness. Thoughts are so subtle and happen at such a fast rate of speed some times they become unnoticeable. Before any response there is a thought that precedes it. These thoughts will either be clingy in nature (about the past or events related to the past) or anticipatory (about future or events related to the future). This means that your thought processes have drifted from present experiences. Thoughts have become focused on past or future events while the present experience (present experience is your "center" of being) becomes diffused by the thoughts that you entertain (give power to) within your present stream of consciousness. Only the present experiences are real while all thought is not! Once an experience happens it immediately becomes a past event and the mind lingers on it as real. From this illusion of reality the mind begins to build a false future out of anticipatory thoughts. When you give power to thought you effectively remove yourself from your present experience (this weakens your bond with your center of experience) and in that moment, the door opens to aberrant processes like depression, stress, worry, fear, anxiety, and PTSD (the mind relives memories of the traumatic event that caused the disorder).
A top is most stable when it spins closest to its center. The further from center the top spins the less stable it becomes. As the top operates away from its strong center a wobble develops, and the wobble becomes prominently noticeable as it approaches that point of extreme instability, just before it crashes.
We know how tops work and we can transpose that truth to teach us more about complex processes that simplify our understanding of them.
The mind operates like that top! When the mind operates closest to "center" that is when the mind is most stable (reality or events as they are happening... our present experience) . The minds base is solid at center and it will remain so if it never wobbles far from this stable center of experience. When the mind entertains thought however, the mind is immediately pulled from its solid center of experience and the wobble between real and illusionary states begins. Eventually the mind will crash as the wobble between thought and experience high-jack your conscious stream. The result will be abnormal states of reality. To overcome the wobble, the mind needs to return to its central or most stable position. That most stable position is present experience or in other words, return to reality, events as they are happening in the present moment without thoughts forming on the experience. When we notice the top failing or beginning to wobble we know that making the top spin faster will restore the stability. The mind is similar in that we can restore stability by causing the mind to return to its central experience. As the mind returns to center, the wobble is obliterated and instantly the mind is liberated from the devastating effects of thought induced wobble. The thoughts that initiate the wobble cannot exist within a mind that is focused on present experience, just like the wobble that cannot exist in a top that spins closest to its center.
The body is rooted in the present moment of reality. It can not ever violate this fundamental principle. It can never leave reality! The mind however has a tendency to believe it can wander from the present moment as it dwells in illusion, or fantasy, while it deludes itself into believing the thoughts it entertains are real.
The mind interacts with the external world through the senses as they are happening within the body (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch to list just the primaries, there are many more but these will do to illustrate the point of functioning closest to center). Through the senses, the mind extracts information from present reality to build an understanding of our environment. It uses the senses to relay information about our world. Thought interrupts this process, and it is through the body, and the senses that buffer information to the mind, that the mind can find its way home to its central experience thus restoring the mind to operate at its most stable position.
When we find our minds entertaining thought, we return our focus to the senses and just experience what is happening in reality. This focusing restores the mind to a solid center of experience and stops the thoughts from forming into aberrant processes (just like the top is spun faster to restore its stable center)! Thoughts can not form into full blown false realities in such an intense focus that results from centering yourself within your present experience.
When focusing, do not like or dislike what you experience, just experience. Thoughts cannot exist within this environment of focus on direct experience, and hence no wobble (or at the very minimum the wobble is greatly reduced). Once you make the mental determination of liking or disliking, the mind begins to wobble (once you make a judgement on the experience the mind begins to fluctuate and wobble between states of reality). If wobble exists, aberrant processes begin to form from the thoughts you entertain. Centering on present experience within the body returns the mind to a stable center.
Just experience! Even now, questions are forming within your mind and I can detect the wobble from here. See the words before you, do not make judgements on them, just experience. See them. Read them. Let them absorb into you. But do not form opinions about them for knowing that the wobble will soon follow. Hear the whir of the computer only. Do not form thoughts about the whir. Let the computer whir as your sense of sound relays the information to the mind. Flow with experience as the body and brain sense the information in real time. The whir will take care of itself and you have not let thoughts begin to control your present experience.
on my blog you can find information on how I deal with depression. In any case, it is a good read on how the mind works and it provides strategies and techniques to overcome the problems you describe!