April 8, 2013 at 7:36 am #31964
Mindfulness has exploded in the medical research world of late which is a wonderful thing. Especially since more and more studies show that it can be even better than antidepressants in preventing a relapse of clinical depression. Considering that ten million adults in the United States are on prescribed antidepressant medications, this is a pretty cool addition/alternative to standard treatment.
I’m a board certified psychaitrist, of eastern indian origin, and have spent hundreds of hours reading and training in mindfulness based mental health interventions and it’s effects on the brain. I would love to chat more/answer any questions for folks who are interested or curious.
KavethaApril 8, 2013 at 8:57 am #31970AngelaParticipant
So glad to have found you. I started suffering from depression about three years ago. I am 57. I was so low I found a Dr. And was put on antidepressant . I felt ok. Then about six months ago I bottomed out again. My medication was changed and has been increased. On a scale of 1-10 I am probably about a 7 right now. I am so fearful I will never feel good again. I used to be called Happy go lucky. And would laugh til I cried. I miss me. I did listen to a cd by Dr Andrew Weil about getting through depression with health, mindfulness and meditation. I have been working on these but am finding it very difficult to meditate again . I was trained in TM meditation about 10 years ago but never stayed with it. I Know there are many different ways to meditate . Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, AngelaApril 9, 2013 at 7:37 am #32488
I can relate to what you are going through and I thank you for trusting me enough to reach out. I ahve a few questions for you:
1) I would ask your psychiatrist to make sure he/she has looked into possible medical causes of depression (thyroid, vitamin B 12 and D levels etc;)
2) I would look into therapy that could explore what has changed in your life circumstances. Each decade brings certain challenges and responsibilites and joys. Exploring where you are in this journey may help.
3) Mindfulness is very useful technique to precent relapses, and studies have shown it does even better than antidepressents in thsi regard. However, do not stop your meds now, as a combination approach is bestwhen your depression feels as high as a 7/10.
4) To start, I would set aside just 10 mins a day, and connect it to another habit you already have established. Such as your morning coffee or as soon as you take a shower etc; Establishing a daily habit is most important in the beginning (than how long or how deep you meditate).
5) In terms of type of meditation, I would start with just keeping your awareness on your breath. Focus on one area of the body where you can best feel your breath, such as your abdomen or your nostrils, and keep your awareness in that spot, focuing on the sensation of the breath going in and out. When your mind wanders (which it will, thats what minds do), just gently and compassionately bring it back to your breath. Here is a link for a follow along breathing mindfulness : http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22
Don’t get distracted by all the other resources available on this website. Just stick with breathing and try to develope daily habit of just 10 mins for now.
6) I will be releasing a new e-book on my website in the next 1-2 days about MBCT. It’s totally free. Hopefully it will help give some more context to mindfulness for depression. It also has audio excercises by me that you can follow along to.
Take good care of yourself and do things for yourself that you would do for a loved one who is depressed.
KavethaApril 9, 2013 at 8:17 am #32490Sheila McCannParticipant
Fascinating topic! It’s great mindfulness is getting the attention it deserves. The scientific research is highlighting/proving what people have known for centuries. Good luck with you ebook : )April 9, 2013 at 8:46 am #32493
Yes it’s totally awesome that eastern wisdom and mindfulness is fianlly being validated by research now 🙂
What do you do Sheila? This forum is so cool that I get to meet lots of like minded people! Yay!
Thanks for the good luck wishes!
-KavethaApril 11, 2013 at 9:05 am #33732AngelaParticipant
Thank you for your response . I have had a full medical. I am taking vitamin D, folic acid, iron and omega 3. I also didn’t mention I flatlined emotionally. No sadness, no laughing, no sympathy. No emotion. I used to be called happy go lucky. I would really cry at any movie that had anything sad to do with children or animals.
Pas far as change in lifestyle, I think this is the main trigger. I raised three children the last is going off to college this August . My husband and I closed a business we had for about 19 years. I closed a retail store I opened and ran for three years. All of a sudden I was retired and my children were independent . I felt lonely, bored and was no longer needed. i looked for work but for the first time in my life I was not getting hired for every job I applied for. That crushed my confidence. I live in a very suburban type area. You just don’t see people unless you go to a store. I have now just begun to accept this is a new stage of life for me. I need to explore it with an open mind. I need to settle into it. I am sure at some point I will start to volunteer and feel like I am being productive again. And most of all I need to be patient.
I will work on that meditation. And again thank you for your insight.
angelaApril 12, 2013 at 10:34 am #33764
Yes loneliness is such a part of modern human existence…communities are much more isolated and less involved with one another these days. I recall summer vacations at my grandma’s home (a rural village in India), we used to sit outside together with the neighbours every evening, just to chat. The cool evening breeze and the comforting smells of dinner from each home (main door were kept open from morning to dusk), kids playing with sticks and stones and elders sat arund you and talked and laughed…I haven’t been able to recreate that sense of connection in my adult life in suburbia.
Emotional flat lining may be due to the medications too, I would definitely discuss that with your psychiatrist as well.
Purpose, connections and mindfulness seem to be major ingredients of life contentment. And as you said, volunteering is a great idea. In fact, research has shown that happiness is best increased when we give of ourselves. Its’ important to not give to the point of feeling overwhelmed though.
Have a beautiful weekend,
KavethaApril 15, 2013 at 7:27 am #33839
Hi Angela and Sheila,
Hope you both had a wonderful weekend!
I finally finished my E-book (I have been working on/obsessing over it for a few weeks now…it’s good to have it out there at last 😉
Do check it out and share it with whomever you think might benefit. It’s called “Beyond meds” and you can find it @ http://www.talk-doctor.com
KavethaApril 19, 2013 at 4:25 am #34040Sheila McCannParticipant
I just started a site called rainbowframework.com It’s a universal color coded life visual. In the past I’ve worked as a nutritionist and teacher. I’m fascinated by creativity, psychology and philosophy. What is the best way to contact you?April 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm #34096
Lovely to hear from you and about your interests! Feel free to email me at: kavetha at gmail.com
Have a safe and happy weekend 🙂
-KavethaApril 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm #34951
I just noticed my email wasn’t displayed properly in my earlier email. I apologize! My email is email@example.com
Are you also in the Jon Morrow course?
Take care,KavethaMay 6, 2013 at 9:00 am #35178Carlos CotoParticipant
Hi Kavetha, Hi Sheila,
Love your websites by the way… I am interested in your topics. I am a clinical psychologist, and university professor in El Salvador. I work a lot with Anxiety Disorders, and have started this year a site devoted to Living a meaningful life…
Kavetha, Mindfulness is a great therapy, I love it, patients love it, children love it. I wish people would have found it earlier!
Sheila, I´m intrigued on your information about the colors,… do you get it from color psychology?
And Last… just wanted to say hello to both of you, and thank you for helping people, just like I do.
Great to get to know you.
CarlosMay 11, 2013 at 10:50 pm #35468KarenParticipant
I have been struggling with depression and anxiety for about 25 years. Ugh! I have been on almost all anti-depressants and have been in therapy most of this time. I have been desperate and have looked for help and answers everywhere. Yes, I always resisted meditation. I never even understood mindfulness. All that therapy! All that medication! (I look back now and can hear people suggesting “Breathe” and “Meditate,” etc., but I wasn’t getting it! Because I wasn’t present!!) Then, a few years ago, I started to suffer from extreme pain all over my body. I felt that I had been beaten with a baseball bat or run over by a Semi. My emotional pain was expressed in my body.After a couple of years of tests and medical evaluations, it was diagnosed as Fibromyalgia and chronic pain. I had no way to ease the pain. Nothing worked for my depression and then nothing worked for my physical pain!
About a year ago I picked up a book I had bought several years previous…..Jon Kabat-Zin’s “Full Catastrophe Living.” I finally got it. And, I am hear to loudly tell you, mindfulness is EXACTLY where it’s at.
I am amazed at how simple it is, and how difficult it can be. For me. And, I can say, for me, being mindful is my Answer.
I still resist mindfulness! But, like you said, pick a daily habit and do it with full attention. I am very excited about becoming more mindful. My present moment is full. My present moment is Life! Thank you for your work in this field.May 11, 2013 at 10:54 pm #35469KarenParticipant
I also chuckle to think that even by walking with mindfulness, or brushing my teeth with mindfulness, I have not only been able to lift depression, but I’ve been able to learn how to communicate, how to be creative, and even how to learn to love myself and my family. By brushing my teeth or walking! HA!May 19, 2013 at 6:50 am #35852
Wonderful to hear that! Yes sometimes meditation in the classic sense can be hard but you can get the same benefits form tuning in to your body and sensations in the moment AS YOU ARE going about normal activities! As you said, like brushing and walking! 😀