Dealing with Depression/Excessive worrying
In December 2011 my wife left me and simultaneously I was sued for $8 million. By February 2013 after a great deal of trauma the negotiation with my wife was complete and our divorce will be routine, and the lawsuit was settled (although at significant financial cost to me). In the process of all of this, I lost my home, have departed from my place of retirement to go to another place. I have substantial cash assets but virtually nothing of emotional meaning, except that I am starting over in a new relationship in the place where I am now living.
I am 69. I constantly worry about whether I will outlive my assets. I worry about calamitous weather (hurricanes; tornados), getting into a car accident (the cause of the lawsuit), the likely death of my elderly mother (age 94), whether I have skin cancer (my scalp is splotchy). All I want to do is concentrate on happiness and life. (I work out 3-4 times a week, do not drink to excess, have no compulsive habits other than occasional nailbiting). I awaken every morning, worrying about the stock market and money, mixed with other worries. I usually manage to get to a place by the end of the day where I am feeling balanced, but I only sleep about 5 hours night without medication and I don't want to be dependent on sleeping or other medication. I was taking antidepression medication until February 2013 and found it had really negative side effects and actually made me feel depressed at times.)
Any suggestions? (I am living with a psychologist and we are enormously communicative. I thought with my divorce and the lawsuit over I would be able to move on emotionally, but I am finding it very hard to do so).
Thanks very much for your thoughts.
The battle lies within the mind. It matters not what the events are, rather it is what you do with the thoughts evoked by any such events that matter most. Events will happen regardless of us and the thought content we entertain, but it is the thought you entertain and give power to which affects everything else about your psychological well-being. No action happens unless a thought pre-empts that process and the affect on our mental well-being is dependent on the thoughts which we entertain more than the events which pre-exist those thoughts.
Entire lives are based on the presupposition that we have a past, a present, and a future. We constantly dart in and out of a past and future state through a thought process that contends past and future states are real. We anticipate future events or cling to past experiences and this process of anticipation or cling affects our present in dramatic fashion. Our behaviours, world-view, and health become victims of the non-existent states of past and future and the thought content that derives from giving power to that process affects our present state.
The only state that is real, is the "present". All learning, all events, all existence can only happen in the present moment. You can not literally go to the past or to the future yet the delusional mind maintains a belief that this potential is possible. We are firmly rooted in the present, as our physical bodies can attest they never leave the moment, and no amount of delusional thinking can ever alter that fact. Past and future do not emphatically exist, nor can they emphatically be proven to exist. There can always be some opposition raised to disqualify any claim supporting the belief that they do "exist". Within the accepted presupposition of letting our minds wander and dally in illusive states of past and future sets the tone for the dilemma of the dysfunction in thinking that you experience.
Anxiety, worry and fear are the by-products of a mind that dwells in illusory states of past and future. The mind either anticipates or clings at the expense of relinquishing awareness within the present moment. Reality becomes obscured through this process of sacrifice and the mind imposes harsh punishment upon the body as a result of this dysfunctional state. Anxiety, worry and fear become the predominate focus within the dysfunctional conscious stream.
Wiping thought content is the key to rectifying this dysfunctional state. Bring the mind and body together within the context of the present experience through the senses within the body. Focusing on any one of the five senses without forming judgements on those sensations unites the mind and body as one unit. Dysfunction can not exist within this environment of united focus. The mind will tend to wander from this interaction but taming that tendency will ensure that present experience dominates focus and that the illusion of past and future can not affect the present. When you notice the mind forming thoughts this a clear indication that the mind is starting to wander from the experience in an effort to separate itself from the bodily sensations. Bring the focus back to the bodily sensations, experience only, form no opinions or deliberations on the sensations and wipe thought content that is not rooted in the present experience. You will banish dysfunction and regain piece of mind by wiping in this fashion. Wiping is a full time duty and doing it right liberates the mind form anxiety, worry and fear.