I can’t tell you has much better I feel today. Saturday and Sunday, I felt sooooo low, similar to how I was when off work with depression a few years ago. And it had come out of nowhere, or so it felt like. I had these strange surges of anger, too, which was very worrying. I almost couldn’t function.
For some reason I had an inkling that it might have something to do with the antibiotics I was on for five days. There was no information leaflet in the box, so I googled it. Depression and irritability did come up on the list of possible symptoms. So, it could have been a factor, I don’t know. What I do know is, now I’ve finished the course, I feel SO MUCH BETTER! Oh the relief!!
Anyway, during my restless and disturbed weekend I googled ‘self care ideas’. I clicked around a few times on one website I found, The Self Compassion Project. I found a transcript from an interview with Tara Brach, about the Trance of Unworthiness, which really struck a chord. She says:
“I realised that my deepest suffering was a sense of not being enough, and when it was very bad, even a sense of self-aversion….I believe that the sense of not being enough is the most pervasive suffering in our society”.
The trance of unworthiness describes how we are trapped in the sense of falling short. She says that it’s the pain of this suffering which gives us the wake up call, and pushes us to see how we can stop being at war with ourselves.
Where does the trance come from? “We are hard wired to feel separate and to look for something to go wrong. It’s called our ‘negative bias’ and its designed to keep us safe. But its a very quick step to thinking that something is wrong in the environment to thinking ‘I’m wrong’.”
Culture also plays a part. “We live in a fear-based culture that over-consumes and is competitive….we are not invited to say ‘this moment is a enough’. That would stop there economy in its tracks. Our culture feeds the sense that ‘I should be better. I should be more.”
And she touched on the idea of the ‘second arrow’, which I think I was feeling over the weekend, too. Tara described having been I’ll, and feeling irritable and self-centered, and not liking herself for being a ‘bad sick person’. As though she’s not being spiritual in how she’s being sick. “The first arrow is feeling sick, and the second arrow is feeling unworthy because I’m judging myself for not being a good sick person”. So the second arrow is how we react to our feelings? I think I’ve got that right…
At first I felt that way about my husband telling me it didn’t matter if I felt a certain way. I thought, ‘not only am I feeling depressed, but I’m wrong to feel depressed. I should be able to talk myself out of it’. Which was impossible.
As it turned out, when we got right down to the root of it, he did have a point. And he was mainly getting at the acceptance aspect of all of this. He said there are always going to be people who you sometimes think ‘I wish I was as good at X as them’, or ‘they don’t seem to like me and I don’t know why’, or ‘I made a huge mistake, I’m so rubbish’. Mr W, in a rare revelation of enlightenment, said that you just have to remind yourself that there will always be people who know more than you. There may be people in your life who don’t like you. You will make mistakes occasionally. But the thing is, none of this matters. You can choose to let it worry you, or not. If someone knows more stuff than you, maybe you could learn from them. If someone doesn’t like you, then they’re not for you. There will be plenty of other people you do get along with and who appreciate you. If you make a mistake, its ok. Learn from it. Remember there are people making mistakes in all situations and contexts. Some hugely serious, others not so much. In the grand scheme of things, mistakes are usually not that important. I mean, wow, I never realised he could be so Zen!
All of this ties in with what I read in the Tao of Sobriety, which I do intend to do a post about. I have found it very insightful, and it describes a way of thinking about life and the world which really appeals to me.
So, I’m happy I’ve come out the other side. Really relieved. Because there’s no way I want to go down the road of having time off work for depression again. I’m a different person now than I was then, and there’s no need to go back there.
Onwards and upwards! Or at the very least, sideways in nice shoes 🙂