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I want to be normal

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  • #397428
    samy
    Participant

    Hi anita

    We’re working from home because of Covid. I don’t know if I mentioned that before. Our office will open again in May.

    I will try this out. Today is Sunday, I will tell you how it goes on Monday.

    Girija

    #397432
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Girija:

    Back to the office in May, that may be better than working from home, I hope. Have a good rest of the Sunday and a good, courageous Monday, talk to you Monday!

    anita

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
    #397472
    Roberta
    Participant

    Dear Girija

    In answer to your question what is dharma?

    I guess the stock answer would be the teachings of the buddha and subsequent commentaries. it has been described as the Buddha is the doctor the dharma is the medicine and the sangha are the nurses.

    But for me it is more like the truth and in the same way that there is not a buddhist gravity, a christian gravity and a different gravity for muslims, so anything that helps me understand the nature of the mind and how to live a gentler more caring way.

    Not all truths are easy to understand and some can be quite painful but it does not mean giving up exploring for answers and so far the teachings of the Buddha have been a good & wise friend to me when I put them into practice.

     

    #397685
    samy
    Participant

    Hi anita

    My cousins have come home, so I couldn’t reply to you on Monday. I did do the courage pose you mentioned. I don’t think courage is what I am lacking. I killed a snake yesterday. My cousin brother and father were scared. I was too but I just went ahead and did it. If I decide I must do something, I’ll go ahead and do it, no matter what. Even at work, I have not held back on expressing issues or concerns. I am anxious, not because I am afraid, I am anxious when I feel helpless about what I am afraid of. And I have an underlying discontent with life that seems to be a consent. I am sick of drama.

    Girija

    #397686
    samy
    Participant

    Hi Roberta

    Thank you for explaining dharma to me.

    I would also like advice from you with an issue I face when I try to follow any spiritual practice or teachings. I find myself getting really down. I want to believe in a pay off for being good but most religions don’t guarantee that. Can you really enjoy life while also being spiritual? I have found myself getting really depressed when I tried in the past.

    Girija

    #397691
    Roberta
    Participant

    Dear Girija

    1 Maybe dont think of it as spiritual, just have curiosity about how your mind works and be gentle on yourself think of it as an experiment that takes a lot of the pressure off

    2 I as many people find inspiration & answers in many different quarters, yes a lot of mine are buddhist teachers and as I get to know myself better I know which teacher I go to listen to on youtube suits my need/mood at that moment. So here are a couple Sravasti Abbey especially Bodisattva Breakfast Club mainly women talking about the dharma and how it connects to their lives – a good way to start the day especially since I have been unable visit to my monastery for nearly 7 years due to looking after parents and covid. Ajhan Brahamn is good when I need a light touch he tells jokes and stories alot. When I need my ass kicking then a good dose of Robina Courtin normally does the trick. Many of my friends really connect with Pema Chodrens style of teaching, I enjoyed her books. Eckart Tolle insights into what he calls the ‘pain body’ has really helped me understand what sometimes arises in me and others.

    James Redfield Celestian Prophesies was the first book that got me thinking about life and the way I was perusing happiness

    The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama was one of the first buddhist books I came across was so impressed I got copies for my sons as well as friends.

    When I got more serious about things I did along distance study with Sravasti Abbey (SAFE)

    3 Depending on your belief system – long and short term happiness/ suffering  will have a different timescale ie if you believe in only this one life then longterm is what 70 to 100 years , but if you believe in the cycle of rebirth then it takes on a whole different meaning. Like whenever I get disheartened which is not often then I think what all the previous me’s went through so that I get a precious human life this time round and since I spent at least the first 40 years of this life blundering around  looking for happiness in fairly unskillfull ways the best thing I can do is not squander this amazing opportunity and hopefully in the next go around I will be in contact with the dharma much earlier on and my wisdom and compassion grow.

    4 I personally find great joy whilst walking the spiritual path especially since most of the time I try not  to take myself too seriously, I take pleasure in the simple things, can see some beauty almost anywhere, a simple & slower  pace of life helps

    I hope this may be of use to you

    Kind regards

    Roberta

    #397693
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Girija:

    I am anxious, not because I am afraid, I am anxious when I feel helpless about what I am afraid of” – you weren’t afraid to kill the snake because you felt powerful over the snake. On the other hand, you are afraid to do what you feel powerless to do…  and afraid to stop doing what you feel powerless to stop.

    I have an underlying discontent with life that seems to be a consent. I am sick of drama” – you meant “seems to be a constant” right? I think that it’s a typo, but an interesting one: your discontent is a matter of your consent perhaps… you are consenting to and participating in the drama that you are sick of?

    anita

    #397747
    samy
    Participant

    Hi anita

    No, I did not feel powerful over the snake. It’s poisonous! It just felt like someone had to do it, so I did it.

    I did mean constant. It may be consenting by not leaving everything and going away.

    Girija

    #397748
    samy
    Participant

    Hi Roberta

    Thank you for the detailed answer. I will checkout the youtube channels. I have already seen some videos of Ajhan Brahamn, he is funny.

    Thank you for listing so many resources. I will make a list and go over them.

    I struggle with believing in rebirth. To me it feels unfair to have to bear the consequences of what you don’t even remember doing, in a previous life. A lot of women in my family use it as a way to say the abuse they face now is because of what they did in a past life. So I don’t like it. I feel like it was taught to keep people submissive. And I find it weird that mostly women think like this. Men weren’t taught this. So I feel stuck. If I believed in rebirth, maybe I could look forward to my next life, the current one I really hate. But at the same time, it feels like propaganda in my culture atleast.

    Girija

     

    #397754
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Girija:

    No, I did not feel powerful over the snake. It’s poisonous! It just felt like someone had to do it, so I did it” – you did it because you believed that you are able to kill the snake before it poisons you.

    Consenting by not leaving everything and going away” – you don’t believe that you are able to leave everything and go away, too guilty to go away… forced to stay?

    anita

    #397756
    samy
    Participant

    Hi anita

    Forced to stay by my own conscious sounds right

    Girija

    #397757
    Roberta
    Participant

    Dear Girija

    Good morning. I am no scholar, but i do ponder . A some what vulgar phrase is “Shit happens – its what we do with it that counts” Something bad happens we can choose to react or respond, often the reaction is anger either towards  some one else or internalizing it in on ourselves, a response that is both wise and compassionately thought thru with the right motivation is empowering, but for most people do not realise that they have a choice and so stay on autopilot of reaction.

    I went to a zen teaching on rebirth (wheel of life) and he used the analogy of our own lives to help see the rebirth in the different realms is happening even  within this life cycle.  ie Some days everything is easy and it all falls into place that is like the god realm, yet another day everything you touch falls apart and life is painful – Hell realm .  in fact look at any day and we humans can cycle

    thru many if not all the realms. My body is not the same one I had yesterday, cells have died and new ones are born yet what I did yesterday, the food I ate, the exercise I did impacts on or is part of the body that I have today.

     

    #397760
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Girija:

    You started your thread, titled “I want to be normal” on January 5 this year. You shared in your original post that there was “a lot of trauma” in your childhood, trauma that “still lives and breathes” in you every day. You shared that you have “no one to depend on“, and you wrote: “I am at the mercy of other people to define how my day will be, how my life will be… I’ve had enough. My life is unbearable. I am in a lot of pain. I want this to stop. I can’t take it anymore“.

    In a previous March -May 2019 thread, titled “Advice for the lost and weary“, you shared about your childhood and ongoing trauma: there were “horrible fights” in the home, your mother was “incredibly unhappy and sad… detached… always took care of us, besides emotional stuff“. Your childhood left you “feeling very lonely at times when I just wanted someone to be by my side when I was down…I think it is just disappointing – to only have yourself“.

    One time, you asked your mother in regard to your bi-polar father: “what will we do if dad loses his job”? She answered: “we will just have to kill ourselves“.

    My mother has taught me – to not try to change your situation as you may lose what you already have… I lose hope very quickly…I zone out and go into all the things that could go wrong… paralyzed by fear and being overwhelmed by stress has been a pattern… I have lot of anxiety about how things could get worsefeeling powerless, forced to do things I don’t want to do with no way outI actually think that part of me died when I was younger – the part that could go after things. I am more a plant than a bird, I am afraid” (2019).

    Fast forward to this thread, on January 4, 2022, you described yourself, referring to yourself in the 3rd person (a writing exercise): “She believes that bad things will happen to her, so she is always looking out for it. She is also super scared… No amount of life experience seems to build her strength. She just gets through one thing at a time… Every negative possibility bothers her… she is always left alone…She doesn’t trust anyone including herself“.

    Fast forward 15 pages, and nothing changed, April 12: “I am anxious when I feel helpless about what I am afraid of. And I have an underlying discontent with life that seems to be a constant… It may be consenting by not leaving everything and going away… Forced to stay” –

    You don’t leave everything/ you stay because you are stuck in anxiety, fearing that if you leave your life situations, things will get worse. A week ago, on April 6, you wrote: “I’ve always wondered why the women in my family never left… Why don’t they ever consider leaving?

    I got to an answer of this… Simply put – I am being mentally drained… I have no energy left to consider leaving… being perpetually anxious… drained to the point that we don’t see alternatives despite being aware of them” – anxiety is draining.

    Wikipedia on Anxiety disorders: “anxiety disorders are…  characterized by significant and uncontrollable feelings of anxiety and fear such that a person’s social, occupational, and personal function are significantly impaired…. Anxiety may cause physical and cognitive symptoms, such as restlessness, irritability, easy fatiguability, difficulty concentrating, increased heart rate, chest pain, abdominal pain, and a variety of other symptoms that may vary based on the individual…

    “In casual discourse, the words anxiety and fear are often used interchangeably. In clinical usage, they have distinct meanings: anxiety is defined as an unpleasant emotional state for which the cause is either not readily identified or perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable, whereas fear is an emotional and physiological response to a recognized external threat” –

    – so far, of course you fit the description all too well. In regard to the difference between fear and anxiety, what you felt most recently regarding the poisonous snake was fear, as the snake was a real and tangible external threat. On the other hand, what you feel on an ongoing basis is anxiety, fearing an intangible, vague external threat: “I have lot of anxiety about how things could get worse“.

    Back to Wikipedia: “There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobia, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder… Generalized anxiety disorder is ‘characterized by chronic excessive worry accompanied by three or more of the following symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, concentration problems, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance…

    “People with an anxiety disorder may be challenged by prejudices and stereotypes that society has created as a result of misconception around anxiety and anxiety disorders…  (1) most people believe anxiety is not a real medical illness; and (2) most people believe that people with anxiety could turn it off if they wanted to. For people experiencing the physical and mental symptoms of an anxiety disorder, stigma and negative social perception can prevent an individual from seeking treatment.

    “There are two prevalent types of stigmas that surround anxiety disorders: Public and Self-Stigma. Public stigma in this context is the reaction that the general population has to people with an anxiety disorder. Self-Stigma is described as the prejudice which people with mental illness turn against themselves…

    “Treatment options include lifestyle changes, therapy, and medications… First-line choices for medications include SSRIs or SNRIs to treat generalized anxiety disorder”.

    My thoughts as I apply the information about anxiety disorders to the quotes in the first part of this post: (1) The title of your thread is “I want to be normal” – as in having your anxiety disorder being successfully treated and as a result, suffering significantly less anxiety? (2) Anxiety “still lives and breathes” in you every day, (3) The fights and discontent in your home as you grew up plus having no one there to emotionally support you, or help you (“feeling very lonely.. no one to depend on“) led to your anxiety disorder, (4) Your mother scaring you about things getting worse (“we will just have to kill ourselves is worse thanif dad loses his job“) cemented your anxiety disorder,

    (5) Suffering from an anxiety disorder, you often feel hopeless, helpless, powerless, zoned out, paralyzed, overwhelmed, forced to do things, no way out…super scared, drained, etc., all the words you used. Being stuck in an anxiety disorder, you are also stuck in survival mode: every day is like the one before, you don’t learn from the previous day, and improvements made in the previous day are all gone the morning after. You live every day without the benefit of having learned anything the previous day. This leads to you not trusting yourself to succeed at anything (“She doesn’t trust anyone including herself“).

    In closing: it is obvious that you suffer from an anxiety disorder; which one I don’t know: I am not a professional and even if I was, a public forum is not the right context for a professional diagnosis or treatment. Why don’t you see a professional who can diagnose you and who can come up with a professional treatment plan designed specifically for you?

    Maybe those first-line choices for medications, the SSRIs or SNRIs, can take the edge off of your anxiety, so that are no longer stuck in survival mode, that is, no longer being stuck in every day being the same as the day before. Maybe these medications will make it possible for you to remember today what you learned yesterday, and build tomorrow on top of what you build today?

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
    #397848
    samy
    Participant

    Hi Roberta

    That’s a wonderful quote. We can choose what we do after shit happens. I think for far too long I’ve been a follower. Never made any decisions or choices for myself. That I can solve. The other, like anita, pointed out is I may be suffering from an actual disorder that leads to me going into auto pilot. I don’t ever want to be angry at people for how they treat me. I just want to leave and move on.

    Girija

    #397849
    samy
    Participant

    Hi anita

    Thank you so much for this post. I always said I have anxiety, but almost like it is a personality trait and not a disorder that can be treated. I never looked at my thoughts and feelings as symptoms. I just decided that’s who I am. You and I have spoken about professional help before but the clarity I have now is amazing.

    I am scared of speaking about myself to a professional but I will do it. I wish I didn’t have to. When I know it is treatable, I should get to that quickly. Thanks a lot!

    Girija

     

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