4 to 6 of sertraline

4 to 6 weeks of self-improvement

Category: Uncategorized

Day 39

I might be stopping the blog soon. I have no energy to actively let other people become aware of it (partly from the fact that I’d rather not have my business associates know that depression sometimes creeps into the head of one of their employees).

Maybe soon I will revamp it, under a pseudonym or something, so I can build a network without those fears.

If you stumble upon this blog, and you want someone to talk to, please shoot me an email. dennisedmons[at]yahoo[dot]com.

I have to go for now. Talk soon.

Day 38

Q – If I am the watcher and the watched, which of these is depressed?

A – Neither, for it is an illusion.

Q – How can I see the sun?

A – You are the sun.

Q – How can I not be depressed?

A – How can you be depressed?

Feeling philosophical today.

Day 37

Today’s post will be brief; I have to go to a venture capital/entrepreneurial¬†meeting with a busload of interns…

The idea of intention, and all the baggage that it entails is a great thing for depressed people to think about. The pseudo-scientific claim goes something like this: If your intentions are clear and purposeful, the universe is all to willing to help you out.

This harkens to the Law of Attraction, made pop-culturally famous by The Secret and other books borne out of the idea that quantum consciousness holds a key to unlock human potential.

If you think it’s bogus, then the argument goes that you thinking that is bogus makes it so for you. If you think it holds some form of truth, then on the one hand, at least you haven’t ruled out the possibility for your own life.

I tend to¬†vacillate between the two stances. I like the idea of it, and it fits in nicely with any number of world religions and spiritual practices. Replace “the universe” with a name of a god or God, and there you go. He or she or it is there to ensure your success in this life and beyond. A true intention, one that resonates from within your core, connects you to that spiritual or celestial source, giving you power and assistance.

Depression has real consequences, consequences that are hard to quantify, but these can be assisted in a world belief (where the world is the reality made up by your chosen deity, deities, or scientific law) that supports your continued evolution and unfolding as a creature of divine substance. Merely intending to get help, and taking that first step, allows the universe (or whatever) to help you, providing synchronicities and guidance down your path to health.

Choose.

  • physical self: 10 minutes of cardio
  • mental self: I read a book on startups, filling my noggin with facts and figures
  • emotional self: neglected
  • spiritual self: asked for guidance, letting whatever connects me to the Source help illuminate my path. It’s out of my hands to an extent now.

Day 36, the 100%

I was struck recently with the passion of the OWS movement. After watching some of the compassion of some of the people that I know who have been frequently going downtown to talk and show their support, I couldn’t help but by jealous of the dedication and devotion to a cause that is greater than their own sense of self or ego.

I then tried to think if I had that same sort of devotion to something greater than myself.

Inherent in those questions is the assumption that I myself am not the greatest things out there, and that is a good place to start. However, for all intents and purposes, a sick self cannot heal until it is healed.

If we take that a step further, it is not the thought that we are separate that is necessarily a key to unlocking true potential, but it is the thought that we are together that should fuel that change.

If we are truly connected to one another, like quantum theorists, Eastern mystics, and true Christians all believe, then healing the self ends up being a service to those around us. If we are all connected through god (or God), quantum consciousness, or divine light, then repairing our “damages” becomes a healing act to those around us (and those through which we are connected).

Any form of self-improvement or mindfulness practice becomes a way of repairing that disconnect that we feel around us. The beauty that we see around us becomes the beauty we see within us.

In the end, it’s not that we have the numbers on our side, nor is it the thought that we are 99% of the population. Instead it becomes the knowledge that we are in fact 100% of the world, connected through it and around it. We share the same experiences, even though others’ experiences might differ in vast ways to our own. It’s only the fractured nature of our limited vision that allows us to see differences and see ego as something worthy of our attention.

We are the 100%.

  • physical self: 10 minutes of cardio (still can’t get over that hump)
  • mental self: presented a collection of data to some interns, showing them that true business, one that is built sustainably on a foundation of service to others, is the only kind that will weather the impending changes in certain sectors.
  • emotional self: integrated the notion that we are connected through my own self-reflection. Kept trying to remind myself that the object is not the source of depression, it is the link that my fractured self creates with it.
  • spiritual self: mindful meditation for about ten minutes in the morning.

Day 35

Balance.

That’s a good goal to shoot for.

I’ve been thinking a lot about balance lately, specifically on how it is related to the nature of depression and anxiety.

Let me begin by saying, again, that certain forms of depression are not easily surmounted by thinking your way out. Some forms are chemical, and some can be pretty darned serious. I want to totally recommend finding a therapist (hopefully a good one) and talking.

With that being said, I find that my own depression spikes when I’m particularly out of balance. With life mostly, but the lack of balance could just as easily be caused by one of my four aspects being out of balance.

If I eat like crap and don’t rest or exercise, my depression usually takes the form of apathy and lethargy. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and able to produce a decent bit of dopamine. That’s a good mantra to have. You don’t have to be a crazy person about it; just being mindful about garbage in, garbage out is an extremely positive step in the right direction.

If I am too reactive in my personal experiences throughout a given day, I usually get this all-encompassing shadow persona that takes over, causing my inability to control anger and irritation, and eventually ending up with me wallowing in self-doubt and guilt. We are humans, and we are supposed to experience emotions. But letting them control us is usually not very beneficial to those around us. Recognizing those emotions, especially the ones that we don’t necessarily like, is a step in maintaining balance. Understanding anger, and specifically things that cause that emotion to want to come out, is a major step in becoming a mindful human.

If I let my brain atrophy by consuming dumbed-down content, my ability to think critically and for myself is diminished. So when something comes along that I want to know more about, or even be able to critically analyze (a necessary step in a functioning democracy), if I’ve been exercising my brain, it’s not a big deal.

If I don’t breathe, or even wonder about our beautifully rare existence, I cease to be. And of course, if we don’t breathe, we die. But I mean something more meaningful than mindlessly breathing. If you stop to breathe for a few seconds, it is amazing. That door that swings open and closed, it’s not like we breathe in and in and in; it is a process of give and take that exists as long as we do. Taking a few seconds to breathe is a great way of balancing the spiritual self. Prayer used to look a lot like meditation for a reason.

So imagine yourself walking that tightrope, keeping an eye out for your balance.

  • physical self: 45 minute walk through the park.
  • emotional self: breathed through an irritation experience. I realized that one of my irritation triggers is when “things don’t work out the way I intended”
  • mental self: read a great piece on self-publishing, coupled with an impassioned response from an ethical editor working for a large press.
  • spiritual self: I let myself experience sadness, but I noted that I wasn’t sad for my own sake; it was for my mother and my son. Their lack of geographical closeness, coupled with my mom’s husband passing away two years ago brought up this sadness and the joy of seeing them together. Their bond, as tentative as it is, is proof that there is goodness out there, connecting us all.

Day 34

I started listening to an audio book in my car yesterday, and it’s a book on Superhero consciousness written by Deepok Chopra. It’s actually quite interesting, and I think one of the best things about it is the notion that we all have some sort of latent power as humans, that as we mindfully tap into our creativity, we are able to find true sources of energy and power.

I understand that some of it’s a bit out there, but a lot of it has to do with a combination of Jungian Shadow-integration, a semblance of Campbell’s myth theory, all combined with the renewed examination of Eastern philosophy, empowered by quantum consciousness.

It’s a bit much, but it’s been great to listen to. It helps me remember the priority of traffic as a byproduct of being in the car, as opposed to being the priority.

One of the beautiful things is that it often talks about embracing our shadows in order to integrate all aspects of ourselves. This is a dangerous thing for someone who is being prescribed medication for depression without being supported with therapy. How are you supposed to know about your triggers without someone to talk to? How are you supposed to be mindful without a teacher helping you?

This is one of the dangers of over-medication. Medication and pharmacology are wonderful tools for assistance, but I think that sometimes we forget about that part. That’s probably a bit dangerous.

IMHO

  • physical self: 10 minutes of cardio
  • mental self: started listening to a nonfiction audiobook
  • emotional self: tried to mindfully reflect on my own shadow
  • spiritual self: meditated/prayed about our future

Day 33

I try to be healthy every day, sleeping, eating right, and all of that stuff, but I decided to let Friday be the day to relax.

And relax I did.

Pizza, soda, and going to bed too late. that’s the way to do it.

Not much else, actually. I’m afraid that today’s post is incredibly light. And sometimes that’s okay. I’ll leave you with a picture. This was something that I had done a while ago. I started with a picture of the Grand Canyon, and then I went over it with a pen, making it look like some sort of cell-shaded cartoon.

The thing that I remember most about it was the fact that it was the most mindless and attention-focusing thing that I had ever done. Sometimes it’s good to have that paradox around.

Day 32

While I was driving home from work, stuck in insane traffic, I realized something: man, we waste some time every once in a while.

I don’t mean like playing Warcraft wasting time (and I have some friends who would argue that that is the exact opposite of wasting time), I mean like being inefficient with our time. Sometimes we have work to do, but we end up spending a few hours in front of the television, sometimes we have to poop, and other times we spend an hour in traffic to go 14 miles.

I don’t want to suggest that we all get smartphones, staying connected to everything at all points of the day, I’m just saying that every once in a while we should be mindful of what we are doing.

I don’t have enough spare time to sit around listening to music. I just don’t. But pretty much every Tuesday and Thursday (I get out of work later on those days, and I can’t avoid the traffic, as there’s one way to get home from work) I have about an hour to listen to music. So I put a mixed CD in, or I listen to the radio, and I try my best to remember that I’m not in traffic, listening to a CD; instead, I’m listening to a CD, and I just happen to be in traffic. It’s a slight but important distinction.

  • physical self: 10 minutes of cardio and 15 push-ups
  • mental self: problem-solved an alternative business model for a musician friend (“Give it all away” was my hopefully-good-advice)
  • emotional self: noticed that I have jealousy issues, and that they’re probably rooted in some sort of attention-seeking disorder
  • spiritual self: neglected. But really, can you neglect your spiritual self if you interact with humans? Hmmm.

Day 31

Depression is a very real thing. I need to reiterate that. And the only thing that is common among people suffering from clinical depression, depression, seasonal affective disorder, and generalized anxiety is that each case is extremely unique. I have two friends that are clinicians (one therapist and one psychiatrist), and four friends that are currently on medication for it.

And they all agree: while it seems to be a wide-spread issue, each case presents its own problems. One of my friends’ triggers is sappy love stories (either in television, movies, or commercials). He has to be extremely mindful of his emotions during any sort of representation of sappy love that he sees. His therapist prescribed sertraline as a counter-balance to his clinical depression, and it has helped him stay mindful throughout the day. When those triggers arise, he usually breathes and notices the emotional state that he’s in, hoping to talk himself down.

He’s been taking the medication for three months now, and he feels that every day, he approaches that feeling of manageability that most people would like to feel.

My therapist said to me that I have symptoms of depression, ADHD, generalized anxiety, and possibly a “mild case of bipolar disorder.” (His exact words)

The relief that I originally felt when diagnosed soon turned to anger and resentment, followed closely by intense introspection. I think that it’s a natural response. If I were to ask people all across the country how they felt day to day, I think many of the people would experience these same symptoms. That’s not to say that it’s not real, or that my case is rare, or that my case is less real than others. It’s just my constant ruminations on something that I think that we all feel: emotions and the human condition.

You see it with the Occupy Together movement: no there is no label, no concise list of grievances with those in charge (either elected or otherwise). Instead, it’s a list of symptoms that people have noticed: corporate greed, preferential treatment of the rich, and the consistent relegation of humans to cogs in a machine, able to be quantified and wrapped up in a tidy little bow.

I am more than my therapist describes, just as you are more than anyone says. You have the capacity for so much love, anger, care, depression, sadness, and joy that sometimes it’s pretty scary.

Wherever you are in your life, be it coping with emotions that are running rampant, a melancholy outlook on life, or manic happiness, there are people out there who can help. Talk talk talk. Open up to one another. Find therapists who are affordable, search for forums dedicated to helping people like you. We are the 99%, and that’s a good number. There are a lot of humans out there, some of us have been there, some of us will be there, but I would argue that there are more people who care than there are people who don’t.

Humanity can be such a wonderful thing.

  • physical self: 12 minutes of cardio (I’m trying to get to 20 in the morning)
  • mental self: I read a lot about the Occupy movement, and you should to. Start here (Occupy Together)
  • emotional self: I wrote some notes about my objectification of symptoms (it’s not the thing that instigates emotion, it is my response to those things)
  • spiritual self: 10 minutes of Zen breathing exercises and meditation.

Day 30

Is this some sort of milestone? I’m not sure… I don’t feel any different necessarily. I just feel more resolved I guess.

Something did happen today, though. I noticed that someone found this site by googling “Day 19 sertraline.” This got me thinking about how glad I am to be off that stuff.

But it also made me stop and think about what I was doing here. Sure, maybe there’s some sort of pat-myself-on-the-back thing here, and maybe I need that a little bit. It’s good to sit here and think, “wow; I’ve been trying to be a better person for a whole month.” But we don’t live in bubbles, you know? We are all interrelated, and I want this place to be a site that can possibly help someone who’s struggling. Or just to reinforce positive ideologies maybe…

But how does one do that? That’s going to be my goal today, as I reflect on 30 days of self-improvement. How can I improve this blog’s stated goal of reaching out? How can I be an example to others? What kind of information should I share? etc etc etc etc

Happy Humpday, everybody. Hopefully your descent into the weekend bliss is enjoyable.

  • physical self: 10 minutes of cardio (I think I’m going to have to increase this soon)
  • mental self: I finished reading a book on distributed networks, and then I spent 30 glorious minutes discussing with a cohort the real-world applications of that theory
  • emotional self: was able to notice uncontrolled anger. I actually noticed it and prevented it from making an outward manifestation!
  • spiritual self: 10 minutes of mediation