Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Cure to Depression


Nothing exists at any time other than right now.

Except in the perception of the mind, there is no past or future – only the present moment.

It can be a difficult concept to grasp, since, as humans, we’ve been conditioned to regard time as three distinctive, separate phases: past, present and future.

The power of present awareness – of living in the moment – is unleashed when we leave the mental realms of past and future and experience true life, which is always right now, in the present.

Our ego – that part of our thinking which causes all our emotional pain - is essentially a malfunctioning of the mind. The egoic mind has an addiction to past and future, but it’s a phantom entity that doesn’t actually exist, beyond being a pattern of electricity buzzing in our brains.

If you fully engage yourself in the present moment, the ego ceases to be. All emotional pain stops. All your fears fall away. All your hurtful memories vanish.

Understanding and practicing this has cured me of depression. It’s transformed me from living a shadow existence and hating life, to being a happy, optimistic and content man.

I don’t use the word ‘cure’ lightly. I suffered for more than half my life with crippling, often suicidal depression and now it’s gone.

Some people get really annoyed with me when I write about depression. One person even suggested that, since I hadn’t actually committed suicide, I could never really have been suicidal and probably was never depressed at all – perhaps just a bit down in the dumps or something.

I spent more than 20 years of my life crawling through that hell, with only very brief lucid periods of what – at the time - I described as happiness, but even those bright flashes of life were nothing compared to the joy I experience now, nearly every day.

I’m cured.

(If anyone has a problem with that statement, then tough titties. I’m still cured.)

But I digress…

One of the common arguments I often hear against the truth that there is only the present moment would be something like: “But I just read your Tweet from two hours ago, which proves that the past exists.”

The thing is, when did that person read my Tweet? Was it two hours earlier than their present moment, or was it in their present moment?

In, of course.

Here’s a way to look at it:

The Great Wall of China was built around 2200 years ago.

Although it existed 2200 years ago, it doesn’t exist then. It exists now.

And despite the fact that it may very well still be existing in another thousands years, it doesn’t actually exist in 1000 years hence… it exists now.

If someone flew out, today, to whichever country The Great Wall of China is in, took a photo, then flew back, perhaps they’d say: “Here’s proof that The Great Wall of China exists – rather than existed or will exist. I stood there and took it myself.” (Of course, it wouldn’t be proof at all – it would only be proof that a photo of The Great Wall of China exists in my present moment.)

At which moment did they take that photo, though? Their present moment, at the time, which had now become just a memory.

Everything is done in the present moment, simply because there’s no other place.

Now, life wouldn’t be too traumatic if these arguments were always over travel destinations and interesting structures… it’s when traumatic events and situations occur, and are held on to that problems begin to manifest in our minds.

This is an extreme example, but say you witnessed a fatal road accident and you saw stuff you simply didn’t ever want to see – the car set on fire and you heard screaming from within, then silence…

… your brain records it all, and in a way far surpassing any man-made technology we have available to us.

Hours, days, months and even years later, this event could still be causing you serious emotional damage – playing over and over and over again in your mind - yet, the event doesn’t exist in your present moment.

Then, someday – and however much the recollection of the crash hurts when you mind drifts into replay mode – something beautiful and breathtaking catches your eye… glowing golden clouds lit by a Sunset, say… and for a few seconds you’re just there… just being… awed by the sight.

For an instant, your mind stops reminding you of the horror in your memories and you escape into the present moment. All of your troubles fall away.

However, without the awareness that this can be controlled, the memories will soon come back and begin their looping play to you, again.

Unconscious living (in the ego, in the past and future) is like walking around carrying a box of photographs of things you want to forget, but you obsessively look at them, over and over again.

Conscious living (present awareness, living in the moment) gives you the ability to choose when to look at the photos, or not look at them at all.

Depression is a constant, obsessive cycle of mental negativity.

The cure for depression lies in breaking that cycle and letting go of the thoughts that cause you pain.

Just two years ago, I never thought I’d escape from that agonising maelstrom.

Now, through present awareness, I’m cured.

I’m sure some people will be rankled by me saying this, but this is my reality.

100 comments:

  1. But how..? What if the memories won't let you leave them behind? Or worse, what if you don't know what the memories you have to leave behind are? You've blocked them out of your mind so well that it happens sub/unconsciously and you don't know that the smell of a gas station, for example, upsets you because it reminds you of the smell of the car crash?

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    1. Present awareness isn't about blocking things or burying them out of sight and out of mind - it's about making them benign by staying in the moment. If the mental images flash up, you let them go, rather than allowing your mind to focus on them.

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    2. Diane Marie Kloba2 February 2012 at 05:42

      Dear Les,
      This is so true, all of what you wrote. My sister just committed suicide last year. It drove me into a depression until I stopped myself from looking back, I had to focus on the here and NOW just to get through this. No I do not block out the past, but it is gone, not happening anymore. Instead of denying her death I learned to accept it.
      I am so happy you got over your depression cos the loss of you would have affected so many people! You helped me today too. Thanks

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    3. Hi Les...

      As a depressed child, teenager and adult, when I began training as a psychotherapist I was determined to find ways to recover and keep well generally. I did... It worked... and when it was ethically appropriate I used what I'd learned with my clients. And it worked and works for them.

      My process includes staying in the present with seceral 'pattern interrupt' techniques... including letting memories go as you mention above. Delicious!

      Only recently another therapist opposed my view insisting that you have to go into the pain and release it before you can get better. As far as I'm concerned that's re-traumatisation ville big time!

      So... hoooray for you and me and all we help through our experience. Keep spreading the word.

      Warmly... Sharon

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    4. Diane, I'm heartened to read you found the strength to get you through that awful time. Thank you so much for your well-wishes, too... as I wish well to you and your family.

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    5. Hiya Sharon! Yes, I agree, I don't think the pain needs to be analysed or released in that way... we just have to come to the understanding (and it's not so difficult to do it) that we can let go of those thoughts and free ourselves from the pain altogether. It sounds like the other therapist had only a studious experience of something you experienced first hand.

      I'm very, very pleased that things are going so well for you.

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  2. Beautiful words Les, and im very happy for you =) I think ur defo on to something, but i think its not as easy as it sounds..we are preprogrammed.. and it requires a total re-programming. But ur thoughts did ressonate in my mind.. ur right.. I spend way too much time in the past or future.. and im not even depressed.. yet anyway ;)
    Btw. love the: (If anyone has a problem with that statement, then tough titties. I’m still cured.) statement! /hugs Annika

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    1. I think if we tell ourselves it's not as easy as it sounds, it won't be. Fact is, I broke through that barrier in less than an hour, and I wasn't a student of psychology or philosophy... it just happened, and I truly believe it can happen to a lot more people, without great effort - just acceptance and the realisation that thoughts are thoughts. We're the machine, not the code, and we can change the code to suit us. ;-)

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  3. I'm a huge believer in mindfulness. It's difficult to achieve(speaking only for myself), and it works miracles. I often find it tough to remember who's in the driver's seat: past memories, future worries, or present moment. Meditation helps. And practice.

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    1. The practice will see you moving more often into the present moment, until that's your natural place to dwell. You may get thrown out of that zone at times, but you'll find your way back much faster. :-)

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  4. I agree, Maureen (my mother's name, BTW). Meditation works WONDERS for mindfulness training. Simply put, you are taught to be mindful for short spurts of time before trying to handle it throughout the day. I was trained at Jon Kabat-Zinn's clinic here is MA and it's made a world of difference! You fall off the mindfulness wagon from time to time, but it becomes like riding a bicycle. And it DOES significantly ease not only anxiety and depression, but other issues such as high blood pressure for many.

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    1. Yes, it's a wonderful change of life all round. :-)

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    2. There is a movement in the US, teaching therapists Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, "The Mindful Way through Depression" freeing yourself from Chronic unhappiness. It is in book form w/ CD and they are beginning to teach this especially for people who don't want to take meds or the meds don't work.
      Les you are exactly right in your theory of living in the moment. Most animals do this naturally and that's why they are so joyful.

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  5. "Depression does not control you." For some people it really feels that they are not in control. By talking with an expert on our team we are able to help those who are struggling.

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    1. Good to hear we're working towards the same peace. :-)

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  6. Les, I am so glad you have found peace and are now living a life without depression. As a mental health professional who primarily treats depression and anxiety, I can agree with the majority of what you say. People who suffer from depression tend to be negatively attached to memories and situations from the past. People who suffer from anxiety tend to intensely worry about the future. And of course a person suffering from both would be anchored to the past and terrified of the future. I don't think it's really necessary to try to prove that the past doesn't really exist. Whatever happened, when it did, was real enough when it happened. The problem is getting stuck there. There are events that a person may not have chosen to have happen to them, but in the present, they now have the opportunity to choose how they will respond to this event that happened and how they choose to have it affect their life now. Many people DO find it extremely hard to believe that they have the power to control their thoughts, which in turn helps them change their feelings, which is life altering. When I teach people how to do this, they say that it can't be that easy. As a concept, it's simple...implementation takes a lot of practice and support. Kudos to you for being able to get in the driver's seat of your thoughts, mind, and actions so that you can live your life in the here and now and be mindful and present in every moment. Congratulations on finding inner peace.

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    1. Thank you, Doc! I think it's just a case of helping people realise just how much power they have over their minds, but I agree... as simple as it is, it can also be a difficult path.

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    2. Dr. Madhosingh I deal with depression and anxiety and find that when I have to go somewhere (dreading it) take my bike (exercise, good!) and have to be totally mindful and in the moment, on a bike there is no time for daydreaming!
      Reading about Les's break-though gives hope, with out pills, just by be-ing "in the moment". I'm glad there are Dr.s out here who are connecting and listening. My Dr. has noticed a change and has commented that it must be the "mindfullness".
      Its not easy. As Les says it can also be a difficult path...but most things worth having are not easy! And you can't buy Peace of mind!

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  7. Fascinating post about time and mental distress, or lack thereof! I will refer to your post, if that's ok, on my blog (Histories of Things to Come) on Feb. 19 in a post about time, values and Millennial consciousness. I hope you will come by and have a look.

    http://historiesofthingstocome.blogspot.com/

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    1. Following you there, now. Will take a look. Thanks! :-)

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  8. I like the early Greek word nun, what we know as noon (both are pronounced the same)at least in my Greek class. The short meaning is, now. the longer meaning is its not a moment ago or a moment away it is only now; and now is of course when we act.

    We are only given the power to emotionally handle what we experience now; we can do nothing to make the past better or the future certain.

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  9. Hi Les. I think you'll find this really interesting... from the RSA lecture on the subject of time. It adds some context to how different peoples accross the globe orientate their thinking about time... past, future, present. For me, it adds to the story of old/new brain architecture to help explain why where you live, and the culture you live in can make living in the moment more difficult.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3oIiH7BLmg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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    1. Thanks, Med! Will take a look! :-)

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  10. Very interesting...I can see how this works. At the same time, I think what may work for one, may not work for the other. We are talking about complex chemicals in the brain or lack there of. I also tend to believe that our "past" memories, good or bad, make us who we are today, and we need to sometimes acknowledge them, as well as "future" plans, retirement, ect. I often tell myself when feeling down or sorry for myself to "Pull up my Big Girl Panties and get over it! Quit being such a puss!" That usually gives me the slap in the face to quit dwelling on the past! LOL! Thanks for sharing! :) Keep smiling!~The Saucy Red Head~

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    1. Hehe... while you may not entirely agree, your ritual of giving yourself a 'slap' is a perfect way of anchoring yourself in the moment and letting go of those memories. ;-)

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  11. I completely agree you can raise your general level of happiness through changing the way you think. It's a discipline - you have to hold the focus, and bring yourself back to it. But you can't 'cure' unhappiness - that's a natural part of being human. Depressed people have lost their ability to bounce back, their energy and resilience. I learnt to bounce - then I wrote about it http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Be-Happy-Jenny-Alexander/dp/0713675594/ref=pd_sim_b_7

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    1. I completely disagree that "thinking" is an effective tool. It is hard to fix a problem with a variation of the problem. Other mental activities, such as understanding, accepting, trusting and believing, although they may dance with thinking, are more adept at mingling with the present.

      A trite way of describing depression is as frozen self pity or anger turned inwards. Thinking lends attention and just by acknowledgement empowers.

      Quit thinking, experience and develop a healthy vision of life.

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    2. Jen, unhappiness comes from thought and if you learn to let go of the obsessive thought-patterns that provoke the unhappiness of the egoic mind, then you cure it. Saying that it's a natural part of being human and we should just accept it is part of the reason so many get trapped in depression.

      I am very happy what you learnt helped you, though! :-)

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    3. I agree, Sammy. Thinking can be a very useful thing, of course, but when you use it to over-analyse and strip apart the mechanics of depression, you're simply moving further into the problem that put you there in the first place.

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  12. Great work Les, I have struggled with depression several times in my life. The last time I considered suicide. I was plagued with horrible memories. I was hurting myself with these memories just like I was hurt when they occurred. Thank God I made it through that. One piece of advice I got that really helped me was that I didn't have to go around that person who treated me badly. I did not have to keep putting myself in that position under their control and let myself be drawn back to their world over and over. It's amazing to me that I actually needed someone else to tell me that.

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    1. Totally agree - forgiveness is a personal thing and you don't even have to express it to the person you forgive. Just steer clear of them and enjoy the peace in your own heart. It's for them to find their own way, once you realise you can't help them any further along their path.

      Really pleased things are going so well! :-)

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  13. As Sonny said in I Robot, " Your logic is undeniable."

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  14. You have perfectly captured the truth of our suffering. I'm glad you made it through and can now share your journey with others.

    Callie Kingston

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    1. Thank you so much, Callie! Glad it resonated. :-)

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  15. Ok! I’m collecting my thoughts in this moment.

    I appreciate your perspectives and the empathetically therapeutic way your experiences are shared. I spent a good deal of time in that dungeon, also. Couple of things … and it is hoped that they add to or synergize your writing. (Which is in the present as much as reading.) I believe based on experience and counsel that, although depression is predominately psychological, physiological varieties exist and are much more challenging to be free of. Another little snafu I have encountered, is that yesterday’s epiphanies and revelations do not automatically carry forward; they certainly don’t seem to be linear to me. The biggest paradox, of course, is that to spend any time thinking about any of this removes one from the present. If one is thinking they are in the past or the future – no way around that. However, having thoughts happens in real time. I like to say, thoughts have a mind of their own, but what I think about or if I pause to think is a behavioral choice.

    So …………. Yup! I could go on and on ….be carried away by the present, but I think …

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    1. The epiphanies don't carry forward so well when you let them become psychological baggage, which is why it's important to keep repeating the process of letting go. I think this is why so many spiritual 'seeker' types are often so lost... they collect vast amounts of information which they think will help them let go, yet they cling to it and analyse it all like it's some complex map to some point in the future when they'll finally find peace.

      Thinking isn't a bad thing, though - it's just when it harms your life that you should let go.

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  16. Great post. I suffer from depression also and I despise people who have the impression that "If your not dead, you're ok". This is not true. Depression is a disease like any other and probably more dangerous as the person suffering from it may not show symptoms until it is too late. I've lost a lot of friends to it through suicide and if the subject of it wasn't so f**king tabboo for people to talk about then perhaps they could have got some help before it was too late, they could still be alive, but again because they hadn't got a disease that anyone could see, they had to suffer in silence. So fare play to you for writing on this subject and I hope more people do so in the future. Thank you also for the advice. It is hard to pack things away though and move forward (for me personally speaking) but I'm very happy for you that you found peace, i hope i do so in the future. I think sometimes we have to go back talk it over with someone, do whatever it takes to get over that lapse and move forward, even if it has to be done time and time again. I've wrote an essay by accident, i apologise lol Great post, thankyou. - Mayroam75

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    1. It was hard for me to pack things away and move forward, too, May... I spent more than 20 years of my life failing to do just that, until that moment of clarity a couple of years back. I didn't pick up a super power... I really hope you find this in you, too. What's for sure is that it's there!

      I hope you're well! :-)

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  17. That's deep Les!!... I definitely agree with your thinking. I always believed in living my life in that " Here and Now" mode and let the pains in my past stays where its at.
    C'est formidable, j'adore votre articles!!!

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  18. Great post Les. I'm pleased for you that you have overcome such a debilitating condition. And I agree with the use of the word cured. This is very close to home for me and I appreciate you sharing your words.

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    1. I'm very pleased these words were useful to you. We can cure it. :-)

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  19. I am in the midst of another depressive episode, one of many in the last 20 years. It is pure hell. I live in the states, in the midst of divorce, just diagnosed with asthma for the first time in my life, sharing custody with a five year old, massive financial struggle(had to apply for medicaid), have to stop painting houses(my career for last 25 yrs)and start over at age 43.....ramble. ramble. Not suicidal. Just empty and exhausted and VERY fixated on the past, and the path I chose to take.

    I would love to pick your brain about the method you used to set yourself free. The drug I can afford is prozac. Cymbalta worked much better but it is out of my financial reach...been on prozac before. Its not cutting it. I found you on twitter . My name is Sean.

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    1. Seano - sorry I didn't get back to you earlier. I hope you're doing okay?

      Very happy to swap words about this and I'll help in any way I can. Send me an email at lesfloyd@gmail.com?

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  20. Les, glad to see that you have made progress. As a post modern counsellor, we try to help our clients understand key moments in their past and to understand how they were feeling during those times. We then examine the good times to help them get back to that state if depressed.

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    1. That's quite a swamp of thought to have people walk through, though. The only way they'll find true peace is by letting go of those thoughts altogether. Replicating a happy time sounds like something which could be fraught with disappointment and frustration.

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  21. Good stuff. Been watching a lot of Wayne Dyer, and what you share reminds me a lot of what he teaches. Have you read or watched him much?

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    1. I listened to one of his audio books not long after my Awakening, Tiffany. It was quite surreal to find I was living his words already. Will definitely be studying him once I've finished the book about my experiences. :-)

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  22. Another brilliant blog entry, Les, thought-provoking and inspiring. (^_^)

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  23. For me, the most crippling aspect of my islolation, anxiety and depression comes from an ongoing and painful (so called) "belief " that to me is reality about myself - being ugly and unacceptable, inferior, uncherishable and unlovable: A self-hatred. This pain follows me into every present situation lacing even the most beautiful moments with pain. Just another perspective.. For me it's a draining and exasperating action of constantly aspiring to let go of the present self disdain in order to allow the beauty of the moment to reign over the negative thought patterns. Success being about 30-40 percent. :( The Bible is my guide for the Truth about who I am. Believing/living it is the challenge.

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    1. Hey, Anon - perhaps email me at lesfloyd@gmail.com?

      The pain isn't in every present situation; the self-disdain isn't present - it's a thing of the mind that encroaches on and distracts you from the moment.

      What's great is that you recognise the duality. I'll help you if I can. Give me a shout.

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    2. Les can u try and help me if I email u I so want to be rid of this depression and anxiety x

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    3. Yes, Jacqui - please email. I'll do what I can. :-)

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  24. Such wonderful words Les and so very very true. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, Alison! :-)

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  25. Very interesting. But, as a manic-depressive, not very helpful. Depression may be about getting suck in the past and future, but mania is all about ignoring them and not thinking of consequences. Escaping one leads to the other for me. :(

    Don't worry. I shall find my balance yet.

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    1. I ticked most of the manic depression symptoms, without being diagnosed, and I really wouldn't dismiss any of this. Staying present allows you to control the moment.

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  26. Thanks for sharing a personal insight with all of us :)

    I am having a horrid two weeks, thoughts of death hijack my whole being. Depression I feel comes from my mind and physical body, it is not part of "who i really am, my soul" . How can I help my spirit to claim control of body and ego ?? I am currently reducing my antidepressant meds and am eager to hear of natural therapies?? I feel like if i could just overcome this depression i could change the world. in my present state of mind i feel like i am in prison.

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    1. If you're reducing your medication (and I hope you're doing this with the supervision of your doctor) then I would suggest not moving on to anything that you'd consider replacement medication, such as herbal remedies.

      Depression comes from your mind and may affect your physical body, but the body won't cause you depression - even, for example, if you had a leg removed, it would be the thought process about the missing limb that would cause you mental harm.

      I would strongly suggest you practice living in the moment... fall into your senses when you can... watch the world go by, and when you 'hear' negative, critical thoughts in your head, concentrate your focus on your environment. It's a good practice that can change the way you perceive the world entirely.

      I hope you're doing okay? Give me a shout on lesfloyd@gmail.com if you need closer help?

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    2. I disagree that the body does not cause depression. My recent article on the matter: http://indiewritenet.com/writersguide/2013/04/16/authors-and-depression/

      I'm very glad mindfulness is working for you. It should work for many, many people because the endless cycling of thoughts does indeed make it more serious. I incorporate meditation and mindfulness, have improved my diet, and I'm down to three medications, only two of them psychotropic.

      For the person experiencing problems finding inexpensive medications -- I've tried over 25 of them, and one of them working WELL for me right now is cheap ol' lithium carb. I had to ask my doctor for it, but she was pleased to give it a try. Best of luck to you.

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  27. I RT'ed this article for you the other day and am glad I stopped by to read. I suffered from depression after having my children. That was a dark time I got out of only through remaining in the now.
    As I read this again today, I thought how relevant it is to my current situation. I'm angry though this time. As my divorce becomes final, I realize that I've been holding anger in for years that I never had the chance to express. Wasn't allowed to really. But since a lot of it is past anger, I have the choice to let it go. It doesn't have to hurt me anymore because it's over.
    I'm glad I stopped by to read. I guess things we need to hear really do come to us when we need. Thank you.

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    1. Hiya, Kellie! I'm glad things are getting better for you. Yes, we do have that choice, and if that anger was eating away at you, there's no use giving it your energy. Don't think too much about the past and the reasons for that anger. Concentrate on the moment and remember that you don't need the pain to be where you are, right now. :-)

      And you're very welcome! I'm glad the blog was useful to you. :-)

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  28. Les, your story and new way of thinking are compelling. If the mind is able, understanding that life exists in the moment can be a freeing idea.

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    1. YOU are able to make your mind comprehend that, by taking control of it and freeing yourself. ;-)

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  29. Really love that I came across your blog this evening. I've suffered with depression for most of my life. Just recently I have been reading about the present moment and how the ego is the source of a lot of this negativity. I read many of your posts this evening and they left me with a smile on my face. Thank you for sharing your story and light.

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    1. Mat, the ego and critical over-thinking is the source of all of the negativity. If some random stranger punches you in the street and you decide for the next six months not to step outside your door, it could be said that that person's actions caused your predicament, but six months on, it's the fear in your own head, from that critical, egoic thinking process, that will keep you trapped - not that person.

      I'm really pleased I could help. Keep it up! :-)

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  30. Les, I found your discourse the power of the present moment intrigue, a concept I have been studying on working on myself for a few years now. The one block I can running into is...what if the present moment is bleak? Not because of anything in the past or anything to come, but in the moment itself? I have been able to exorcise the ego (most of the time) from my existence, but one cannot deny that there are hurtful moments--difficult nows--a devastating series of hurtful 'nows' can be , well, devastating. What then?

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    1. If you accept that the present moment is bleak (and I would say there are few reasons for this... death of a loved one, etc.) then you have the presence also to accept that beating yourself up about it is futile, so just move with it. The pain will still be emotional, of the mind/ego, and you can still turn it off. Anything that draws you into the egoic mind can also be released. There are exceptions, of course - such as being actively tortured or in physical pain, in general - but don't let your ego tell you how to feel. You can step out of it.

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  31. I appreciate that you write these posts. I am sure it is therapeutic for you just as much as it is for others. However, it is abundantly clear to me that depression is so tailor-made for each individual it's hard to say your experiences can be used to help others. For instance, it's clear from this post you spent a lot of your depression thinking about the past. But for some of us, it's not the past, it IS the present. A constant churning of thoughts and feelings fretting about present worries. I am well aware that there is nothing I can do about it, but it's not so simple to let go. It is an obsessive practice that many people suffering from depression find themselves trapped in. The power to let go and move on are something I wish I possessed but fail to find within myself.

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    1. Your worries come from your perceived past and future, Erika, not from the present. Your mind drags in fears and concerns, reflections and projections, that cloud the living moment, but all that hurts you is thought, which you process into pain and all that worry.

      You're challenging me and at the same time describing an era of my own life, which I escaped from and write about in the hope it helps others to find their way through, too.

      You're right that this mode of thinking is an obsessive practice that many people suffering from depression find themselves trapped in, so look for a way to break the pattern, rather than reinforcing it by convincing yourself that you simply cannot break it.

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  32. Lee Harman AKA whamster128 March 2012 at 17:19

    Great article Les and I see where you're coming from, its about shrinking all that negative baggage that suffered like you and I have carried around for too long and make the most of today instead of letting a unwanted past event destroy the present! I'll look at life a little differently now for sure the only problem is that the five European cups Liverpool won doesn't have the same gravity following you're logic haha! Good luck in the future Les or should I say good look now!

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  33. When one is in a state of chronic depression nothing makes sense and the ability to reason with ones self regarding ego and being present in the now is highly improbable. As mentioned in other comments, the brains has a chemical imbalance which throws perspective and reality into chaos, a number of supporting approaches may be called for. Your healing process worked for you in your circumstances, perhaps for some this could be an insight and truth down the track from medication and therapy, it is transpersonal in content and holistic but not stand alone. How do I know this, I have lived and recovered from the sadness and torment of depression. Love your contribution.

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  34. Beautiful words. I have struggled through depression for the past 10 years of my life and am now cured as well. Will it come back? I don't know and don't care, NOW I'm good. What makes me think that I'm actually cured is this: I'm not scared of it may coming back. If it does, I'll deal with it then as I have before (there's future and past in one :-). What helped me, as strange it may sound - and it wasn't easy, is accepting it. Accepting the sadness, the feeling (on happier days I had feelings, on most of them there was just nothing) of zero perspective, meaning or purpose. It was a year long process with many many thoughts about suicide but no real attempt. I now accept my really thin skin, my extreme sensitivity as a gift - it allows me to feel great pain but also immense joy and happiness.

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  35. I so appreciate your post and what has worked for you. Thank you for sharing. Glad you are doing well. Reading it and some of the comments had me choked up a bit as it's all a little too familiar. With recent changes,for me,I must say I agree with much of what you've said here. (A daily struggle,but a more positive mindset has not only started to let some light in for me,but I'm slowly back out enjoying nature again among a few other things, even including not being paralyzed by fear in commenting here) My daily mantra most days is live in the moment. Thanks again for sharing yourself with us

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  36. Thank you for finding me on twitter. I'm so very glad to have stumbled upon your blogs. I think back to the times of my life when I have been depressed. It was because I was in an abusive situation, one I did not get myself into. I was young, born into it. I actually had to stop feeling sorry for my present situation in order to have the strength to get out of it, if that makes any sense. Now, when I react to events emotionally, I do look at the past and realize that I was once programmed to act that way due to some bad conditioning. When I realize that the past no longer matters, I usually feel better and I am no longer a victim of that kind of programming. Kudos to you for overcoming this disease. It is wonderful of you to give back and share your experiences.

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  37. There is such joy and freedom from self when you are able to embrace this thinking. To let go of the forever haunting past and future that constantly loom. It is a practice, daily, hourly, minute by minute sometimes, but it works. Thank you so much for penning what has become my life. I believe! I live today only because I believe. We do have the power within us to take control, to breathe deeply and take charge of the moment. Thank you so much.

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  38. well said, Les. very clearly explained. battling depression on and off, i know the deleterious effects of it on me..i will use your post as a guide to remind myself not to fall back onto those black moods..

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  39. Hi Les,
    I have been suffering from depression for the last 20 years. I'm on medication but does not work well.
    I read with interest this blog and will try to take your recommendations forward.
    Have you any further advice on implementation of thinking in the present?
    I worry about everything!
    It effects my families lives to, with my mood swings.
    Any advice appreciated.
    Thanks Bob

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  40. Great post.

    I too have been moving out of depression into the present moment. Battling those demons using mindfulness is an amzing tool. Still practicing daily.

    Thank you.

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  41. Oh my word, this is a revelation to me today. I will go into more later (as I'm about to go enjoy an amazing midnight batman date with the hubs) but i have a feeling this can help me with SO much, including getting over feelings of depression,anxiety, not being enough, and getting past being molested by a family member as a child... Yup... Definitely going to read more later. thanks.

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  42. It *is* as easy as you say it is.

    But you need to give yourself permission to let the past go. To banish it. Not to be held hostage by it. A lot of people feel they owe something to their past, like it's clothing they need to wear.

    It's BEHIND you. Ignore it. Banish it. Embrace the now.

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  43. Thank you, Les. Your words have touched me. I struggle with depression, and also a spinal cord problem over the past 4 yrs that gives me nasty pain as well as weakness, balance and concentration problems. My physical illness has changed my life in many ways. Mindfulness has become my biggest lifeline. I really believe it's as difficult as we make it for ourselves. Thank you for your openness. I'm sure it has helped many. Love & Light, Namaste... Debbie

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  44. Thank you for sharing your experiences. An interesting and hopeful read.
    I've suffered from depression for many years, and find it is a cyclical thing for me. Often, I experience the onset of a depressive episode in the body first, and my mind scrambles to locate the 'source' of the plummeting feelings in my body. I've learned that episodes don't always have to relate to experiences in the past, or fears for the future. Sometimes, in my experience, depression just is - like epilepsy or diabetes, the body can be more important than the thought patterns.

    It's extra important for people who suffer from depression to take care of their nutrition, get lots of sleep, take a walk or dance around the lounge room to upbeat music, or some other form of exercise. This releases endorphins and improves general wellbeing.

    The thoughts are sometimes the consequences of depression, not the cause. If we let our general health get run down, that's when intrusive thoughts can come.

    I think it is very important to let sufferers know that "controlling bad thoughts" is not the answer to depression. If it were that easy, the illness wouldn't exist. Depression is not the product of 'wrong thinking' for everyone. It is an ILLNESS.

    I'm glad you are 'cured', but I feel strongly that it's very important we acknowledge that all depression is not a reaction to events of the past. Sometimes it is the result of ill-health, surgery, environmental factors (e.g. living in a warzone) or simple loneliness - most of which we can't avoid by changing our mindset.

    Thank you.

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    1. You are absolutely correct. I write about this in my recent article, Authors and Depression: http://indiewritenet.com/writersguide/2013/04/16/authors-and-depression/

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  45. Beautiful mind nourishing post, I loved this blogpost, Thank You Les :)

    An understanding that could also be a companion is that:
    If You in any moment are 'flushed' with painful thoughts/memories, remember that they
    Are Only Thoughts, only Memories - thoughts are Not Solid Things, they are like smoke and they Will clear up in the air if you don't focus on them, don't take them serious!

    A thought not tended to passes quickly.

    When you don't focus on them they will move on and a New Thought will come.
    There are Always New Thoughts following your current thought. Always.
    When we don't focus and "give life to" and "cling on to" the hurtful thoughts... Those too will pass, and new thought will take it's place.

    We will always have thoughts, but we don't have to take the hurtful thoughts serious - and if we don't take them so serious - they won't stick around as much.
    Love
    E

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  46. It's quite a revelation and strangely comforting knowing of others depression, having suffered myself, to be reading your post's, others comments, replies, and inspiring reading of recovery. The whole stigma of being depressed and lack of many people's understanding, makes it a secret thing, sometimes a silent killer, and not an easily discussed topic even with close friends. I appreciate that unless you have some experience as to the depths depression can reach, it would be hard to grasp the enormity of it, as I have found, therefor didn't really talk about it to anyone until I was in my 2nd lot of therapy last year. Having led a sort of double life for so long, I let go of the guilt!! Mustering courage, I'd sought help 30 years ago and was basically mocked by my doctor and sent home, end of. Life might have been much sooner improved, with less repeated mistakes, if I'd had the tools and techniques of coping mechanisms so many years ago instead of just 2. Holding onto the past, making it present with little hope for the future, I did me no favours!! I did me no favours either continuing to live in oppressive situations. We live and learn. That's now in the past, I'm in the present and much recovered. I'm going to suggest to my daughter that she read all your post's as she's a mental health nurse, (which I find a bit ironic).

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  47. I was taught to train my brain. First picture something I really liked ( that was hard then) and practice that visualization. Then when dark thoughts, emotions started I had to picture a video recorder and press the stop button, (i even said out loud 'stop') then visualized the picture in my mind I liked. I was then to go do something, anything! it worked and after 6 months of doing this I turned the corner. The black dog in some indigenous stories is the totem meaning beware the path you have previously taken, do you want to take that path again? The black dog is always in my sight when I start to feel down, and it reminds me that I don't want to go down that path again, so I push the stop button

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  48. I too have learned that there is only this moment. After going through co-dependency therapy and being codependent my entire life I have finally been able to grasp the concept of "this moment".

    I believe that what makes a person unable to understand this concept is their inability to forget that time is flexible, repetitive and is constantly moving. Time cannot really be placed into a finite definition and it certainly cannot be restrained. Time loops in upon itself for eternity and that is the only thing about time that is consistent.

    I have always believed that this moment, while happening now, has in fact already happened many times, but it also has not yet happened.

    It took a very long time for me to take what I already believed and actually put it into a practical application. Now I not only believe, but I KNOW that there is only this moment, tomorrow does not exist. As for yesterday, it is done and cannot be changed. And yet, none of it has happened either.


    As for depression, well I have had my battles with that too. I have had people tell me many things regarding it, that I'm just in a bad mood and in a few minutes I'll be fine. My reply to them after all these years is; how do you know that. You know nothing about what is inside of me because you do not live in this skin, in this mind nor with this soul. I do and I know who this person is.

    For any one who has never suffered the effects of depression can never understand what it is. Anyone who has suffered, either mild to severe depression, they can and do understand. I just ignore those who tell me what I feel and remember that they most likely aren't aware of who they are yet.

    Having become self aware and alive has opened a new world for me and while I still have days yet where I don't feel happy for the most part I am content.

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  49. Les, I had a feeling we were a lot like. Kudos for finding your truth. Yes, I believe it is possible to cure yourself. I'm in the process myself. With me, it is physical pain I battle to keep a leash on. A type of myopathy for 25 years, as it progresses, it presents new challenges, especially given my aversion to meds and hospitals. You are aware I also have a son w/a skeletal dysplasia...he battles his pain too. Together we have learned what you have learned, the difference being that sometimes we must stop what we are doing and meditate to focus on that present moment, which is so very precise, as you pointed out. Knowing how it works is the key; you hit the nail on the head. How it works equals why it works, which equals understanding the big picture. I have depression as well, which is under control, but I can say that it is equal to, if not worse than physical pain. Something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.( Fentanyl and morphine are just drugs that work on a different pain.) Psychological pain is harder to handle, some one once said something which sums it up. "When you lose an arm or a leg you have the mental capacity to hold yourself up, to keep going. But when you have a mental illness, there goes the very thing you would have used to cope.". You have achieved a great thing, as you can see. I do hope we get to chat more..see u on twitter.---Sia.

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  50. Beautifully put !
    @adellebanks twitter

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  51. and right now this is perfect Thanks - Martin

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  52. OOOF i needed that. I need more of your type of thinking, have to get out of this continuous depression, on and off all my life..like you said crawling through the hell of despair

    love your blog

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  53. ...gotta say, you've *nailed it* right there for me mate. I don't think evry1's Black Dog is of the same breed, but what you've set out there is the closest most empathetic analysis (of where I'm at), that I've yet encountered. I (like you used to be), and most definitely dwelling in (and regretting) the past, while desperately 'scrabbling around' to salvage some sort of future which, as closely as possible, just might relate to that past. The present gets lost in there somehow - swept aside and 'missed out on' ...I'm conscious of all this too - almost 'choosing it' if that doesn't sound too mad. I just realise that, for me to truly live 'in the moment' I'd have to make VAST changes in my life, which would almost certainly obliterate previous 'dreams' in exchange for a whole new (and probably wonderful) different reality... *Decisions, Decisions?...*

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  54. What if your worst is in the present

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    1. If something terrible happens, and you're facing it, in the present moment, then you'll react to it as best you can - such as fleeing a burning building or watching a loved-one die. What you won't do is - at that point - is mope about and feel sorry for yourself. You may be crying, but not the same as you would be if you were sitting in your darkened bedroom, crying entirely for you.

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  55. We are currently attending a Depression Recovery class with one of our adult children, who has sever depression and has had uncharacteristic impulsive behavior suspected as a side effect of the depression meds. Depression runs in our family. The class is free in our community, run in the local building that has AA classes and other similar groups. Cognitive Behavior Therapy, health and wellness strategies. It is the Nedley/7th Day Adventist church but not overly religious. We have all been making changes in lifestyle.

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  56. Les,
    Wow. What a way to meet. All I can say (and have) is that even if you hadn't written this post when, why and how you did (which is aces, by the way ~ and yes, I WOULD know)- but anyone who can use the phrase "tough titties" in the proper context with the proper inflection, is a pal of mine! Ha.
    Anyhow. First I would like ...ok, maybe I wouldn't, but I would like to think I would like to meet the people that would say those small minded horrible things to you for writing about your "cure" and sharing it with others. At best - they don't have a clue, at worst- they could hurt some one terribly and irrevocably with careless, thoughtless and wrong statements like that.
    You call it a Black Dog, I call it the monster. It stalks me, waiting and plotting, always. Has always been there, just waiting for a crack to get through. And it DOES hurt. A horrible, unspeakable, disgusting pain.
    I am better. Really. I suppose I am not "cured" ~ yet... but Les, I had no idea really that I COULD ever feel "cured". I can say I feel better- and trust me, I do mean A LOT BETTER... even with the dark coming on stronger every day (I live in the Interior of Alaska).
    AND I believe so much of my so-much-better is a result of what you described above, living in the present as well as the incredible people and world that opened up to me since coming online.
    I love that you aren't afraid to share this Les. I am going to go dig through your "stuff" now. I hope I can get to know you better in the future.

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