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Phil

Meditation on Loving-Kindness

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Claudius

I have tried meditation in various forms during WD but the ruminations were just too strong and it did not help me much. It in fact added to my frustration that I was not able to embark in this more spiritual form of healing.

So I "shelved" the meditation techniques to try in a later stage. But I think it can be very empowering if you are able to concentrate on it.

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Healing

I really support you, Claudius, in shelving meditation until it feels doable. I could not do it until a certain point in my recovery. And then I started by doing it just five minutes a day. I think for some people -- like me -- when you're too heavily in w/d -- meditation is counterproductive.

 

 

Having said that, I now get a lot out of it. So, thanks very much for the link, Phil! I love Sounds True. :)

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Razzle

Trying to meditate with a shattered nervous system is only more stress - performance anxiety generating.

 

At best I found that sessions of diaphragm breathing were all I could accomplish. Since the point of meditation is to quiet the mind and shut off the cortex to allow the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system to engage I also found it helpful to sit in my recliner in the bedroom and be with a lit candle in the dark - just watching the shapes of the flame so the mind ceases. Also having a stick of incense next to the candle and watching the patterns of swirling smoke rise.

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Baxter

Mindfulness meditation focuses on breath and on acceptance of the thoughts you are having. All the ruminations, and horrible anxiety/physical sensations of WD are easier to bear...it's not about concentrating on something it's about awareness of what is in you at this moment. Good/Bad? Who knows? It's an avenue to acceptance.

 

As a total nerve ball from birth, with a 2 decade long history of ADs, poopout and cold turkey, who cannot taper more than 5-10 spheres per 6 weeks without becoming too ill, anxious, sleepless and irritable to function, I have found focusing on my breath to be the single most powerful positive force in my recovery.

 

I am only halfway through my taper. I recently ended a 10-month hiatus due to increasing difficulty managing my WD symptoms and decreasing quality of life (sweats, insomnia, irritability, balance problems, akisthesia, anxiety, nausea, headaches, inability to concentrate to get my work done properly and on time). Sitting and breathing in a quiet, safe setting doesn't sound like it would do much, but it does. Loving kindness meditation I do for less than five minutes at the end of my 15 minute mindfulness meditation.

 

Here's what I learned: "May I be well, may I be safe, may I be happy. May <somebody I love> be safe, may <somebody> be well, may <somebody> be happy...." then I expand to include my loved ones, my frienemies, George W Bush (my challenge) and the world. I found a teacher and learned how to refocus in the gentlest way. The ruminations, rage, fear, despair, are all still there. Nothing has changed in my personality but my relationship with feelings - all of them and thoughts - all of them alter subtley in the 2-3 minutes I devote to the practice.

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Razzle

You might enjoy the book: Paradoxical Relaxation

 

It is about meditating when were are in severe pain or emotional torment - my book has tons of underlining - that how I tell it is good for me

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Phil

Baxter, what an excellent description, I like how you have managed to put the process into words.

 

I shouldnt have said about the rumination in my original post - because I realize, thats something that happens anyway.

 

That book sounds interesting, Razzle.

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Baxter

Thanks, Phil B) - that's one of the major take-aways I got from the mindfulness meditation course I took. There were many people there for many reasons - including really successful, strong leaders in their fields, doctors and patients suffering from chronic pain and fatal diagnosis. Then there were the nerve balls like me.

 

EVERYBODY ruminates. EVERYBODY has a monkey mind that chatters and throws things endlessly. The docs, the buddhist monks who want to teach in health care settings, nerve balls, young women who want to get pregnant and cannot...EVERYBODY. It was very affirming to me to realize that when I started down the AD road, at age 38, perhaps I couldn't have gotten anywhere in therapy because I was too anxious to focus (my psychologist's contention). But nothing I have ever thought/felt/experienced was out of line with the human condition. Neither is withdrawal - for any of us.

 

wow. how I do go on.

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Punarbhava

Thanks, Phil B) - that's one of the major take-aways I got from the mindfulness meditation course I took. There were many people there for many reasons - including really successful, strong leaders in their fields, doctors and patients suffering from chronic pain and fatal diagnosis. Then there were the nerve balls like me.

 

EVERYBODY ruminates. EVERYBODY has a monkey mind that chatters and throws things endlessly. The docs, the buddhist monks who want to teach in health care settings, nerve balls, young women who want to get pregnant and cannot...EVERYBODY. It was very affirming to me to realize that when I started down the AD road, at age 38, perhaps I couldn't have gotten anywhere in therapy because I was too anxious to focus (my psychologist's contention). But nothing I have ever thought/felt/experienced was out of line with the human condition. Neither is withdrawal - for any of us.

 

wow. how I do go on.

 

 

Baxter.....

 

So true!

 

BTW, both of your posts were great! I very much agree with all you have stated.

 

I too engage in similar mindfulness exercises. It keeps me focused on what I need to be thinking/doing etc, rather than being swept away and controlled by ruminations etc.

 

 

Pun

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Baxter

Hi, Pun!

 

the power of this moment!

:) It never ceases to amaze and soothe me.

 

Claudius and Razzle, you're breathing so you are already 90% there with mindfulness meditation. To practice mindfulness, just notice the breathe. that's it. No performance involved.

 

Notice what is happening now. Ruminations? Let 'em rip. You're still breathing. Just notice it. As you focus on the reality of your breathing, the power of the thoughts seems to dwindle.

 

Every breath you take provides you with the opportunity to be in the moment. It is always there, an alternative, a resting point beyond the painful thoughts and anger.

 

As my wonderful teacher said, welcome to this moment.

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Claudius

I bought a book about mindfulness in early WD, now 3 years ago. And I tried it, indeed they told that "when you are still breatinh, in terms of mindfuillness there of more right than wrong with you".

This sounds wonderful and is true in many cases. But our cases are way beyond the "normal" ones.

I advocate that each spiritual or mindfulness-bases books should contain a big warning on page one, in big red letters. I have some anecdotical evidence that many poeple committed suicide after their decision to trash the meds and embark in non-medical ways of handling their problems. Just because they have no tapering information and that is IMHO one of the biggest tragedies of modern time. I was almost a deadly voctim of this mistake.

 

And it should be something like this:

 

 

WARNING!

Read this before you proceed!

The teachings and practices in this book apply to all people from all backgrounds or religion, but will not elevate or prevent the side effects or withdrawal effects from psychiatric drugs!

If you are a user of one of more drugs in the Benzo or SSRI class, you are strictly adviced NOT TO QUIT THEM SUDDENLY because you want "to do it on yourself now".

You HAVE to taper these medication off very slowly and carefully, during this process you can already benefit from the teachings in this book.

The full power of all spiritual and mindfullneess related techniques will emerge after the cessation and recovery from psychiatric drugs.

Because the mainstream medical community still denies most of the addition and withdrawal problems of these drugs, you are strongly adviced to educate yourself on a site as PP or SA.

 

 

I am one of the people who "Wanted to do it on myself now" but fell in the trap of going CT and the protracted WD syndrome. I read the books of Tolle and some more, very good and inspiring books but their major drawback is they do not address this very important issue!

I wonder how many people in the US and Europe are on these drugs, read the books about meditation and mindfullness, want to get off their drugs, go CT and end in suicide or polydrugged in a psychiatric ward where all spiritual teachings are useless...

MAybe the authors of these books can be reached to include a warning like this.

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Baxter

hi, Phil,

 

First of all, I apologize for my post to you. I didn't mean to come off like mindfulness will cure WD or to minimize your situation/suffering. Second, I have a really busy day today and can't reply as thoughtfully as I would like. Quickly, then. What you say about the warning is valid. Maybe because I took a class for eight weeks with other people and we shared our experiences that brought us to the course, maybe because my teacher is such an incredible person, my experiences have been so helpful. Also, Phil, I am five years post-c/t from Celexa (following dr. directions) and although I am not able to taper off Cymbalta as I would like, I am much better after five years than I was when I switched to Cymbalta in 2005, if that makes sense.

 

Everybody's trip down Withdrawal Lane is different and I absolutely did not mean to imply/assert that practicing mindfulness will undo the damage that psych drugs cause.

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Altostrata

(I believe Baxter was addressing Claudius in her post above.)

 

Baxter, thank you for your excellent description of a mindful breathing technique.

 

Claudius, there's a lot of discussion about meditation and mindfulness in this forum. None of us who recommend it are saying it will quickly remove all your symptoms. I understand you thought you might be able to handle adversity with your own inner strength, and you feel betrayed because you've found withdrawal symptoms are overwhelming.

 

I agree, withdrawal symptoms are probably something the human nervous system was never prepared for, and even those of us who ordinarily have substantial inner resources find we are helpless to control our lives.

 

Mindful meditation will not give you control over your symptoms. Rather, it will help you cope with symptoms, and it will help you by easing some of the worrying you're doing that may be adding to your symptoms.

 

Remember, there are discussions about developing

 

.... the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/296-the-serenity-prayer/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/545-healing-through-acceptance-of-the-past-mindful-of-the-now/page__p__5447__hl__%2Bcannot+%2Bchange__fromsearch__1#entry5447

 

 

Mindful meditation is a way to that serenity, even for a few minutes, to quiet the thoughts that are self-hurting, and to support parasympathetic (calming) function to help you heal.

 

Also, no one ever "succeeds" at meditation. Do not criticize yourself for doing it "wrong." True "experts" at meditation are very humble -- that's because they know, their monkey minds are chattering away, like everyone else's!

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Nadia

Since I was a teenager I was interested in meditation, but I gave up at it quickly because I found it so frustrating... I could never stop my thoughts! Now I am back, wrestling with this, because I have been told by enough people that it's not really about stopping all your thoughts, but being present with them, returning your focus to whatever you decide to focus on again and again, not judging yourself because you lost focus, etc. I find myself keeping like three streams of thought going on while I try to meditate. I can get really frustrated at myself, but then I remind myself that it's not about succeeding, it's about trying. I think it's important to start with something really simple and not really expect much out of it or out of yourself.

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Altostrata

Maybe self-acceptance and humility are something else you can learn from this practice?

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Nadia

Yep.

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