Some Insights from Eastern Philosophies

(A photo of a time my soul and spirit was tired and was taking time to rest and heal)

I can’t say I subscribe to any one religion or spiritual practice as it’s something I’ve been seriously exploring lately. When some of your abuse was done in the name of religion, spirituality of any sort is something I shied away from. When you’re told “god would never love a person like you”, why even bother seeking it out?

Well, I didn’t for a long time as I was taught there was only one way to believe, and for me, it was abusive. Over the past couple years, I’ve been reading about all sorts of spiritual philosophies as I seek to find my own truth.

Nearly a year ago, I went to Thailand on a whim. I was interested in going to a country that was 96% Buddhist. Please understand that Buddhism isn’t a religion, but a philosophy and much of modern psychology is actually based on some Buddhist concepts. There is a lot of peace and the concept of “impermanence” has been one of the best I’ve embraced on my healing journey.

I had been very sick with numerous ailments, but my doctor figured out I had chronic Epstein Barr virus as one of them. She put me on antivirals and after a week of taking them, I had a moment of feeling better. I decided I wanted to go somewhere. I hardly had any money left in my savings, but I was tired of just being a sick person who went to the doctor as my identity. I knew I’d probably just end up spending the money on failed medical treatments. At first, I searched out France as my French is decent and have wanted to go back for years. I’ll say it was way more than my tiny savings had in it. Thailand has been on my bucket list since I made a good friend several years ago who grew up there and was struck by her kindness and that of her family.

So surprisingly, 2 weeks in Thailand with round trip airfare was cheaper than staying home. I decided it was a moment of divine intervention. I booked the trip and 48 hours later, I was driving to San Francisco alone, scared, and thinking I was out of my mind.

As the plane pushed back from the gate to my first leg to Tokyo, I even thought of feigning a heart attack so I wouldn’t have to go. Instead, a little Japanese toddler turned around in his seat and gave me the biggest smile. I took it as a sign that it would all be ok. I put in my headphones to a calming music playlist, had a row of seats to myself and enjoyed doing some seated yoga poses to manage the pain of being on a plane for 11 hours the first leg of my trip. I also took the time to read about Eastern philosophy of all different sorts.

Something that struck me was the view of depression. I can’t vouch this is how things are done now, but depression is viewed as the idea that the spirit and soul are tired. I read that someone who is depressed is surrounded by community and brought food and prayers. How different than how it is viewed in the US!

All too often, people who are depressed here don’t talk about it with friends or family for fear of being judged. We rush to the psychiatrist for our 20 minute appointment on our lunch break to be handed some pills and see you in a month or two (or so that’s how it used to go for me and many others) and go back to work. Some people get 1 hour of therapy a week where outside that hour, contact is limited to serious emergencies.

After reading about the Eastern philosophy of depression being a concept of the soul and spirit being tired where rest is prescribed and community steps up, I understand why people don’t heal from depression in the US. There’s no real support. If your soul and spirit are tired, how are you expected to do that all alone and in your regular life patterns with an hour a week to talk about it, if you’re lucky to find a decent therapist.

I will often talk about how I healed from my CPTSD in many ways. I got off all psych meds nearly 2 years ago (under doctor supervision) and now have the luxury of when my soul and spirit are tired, I rest. Unfortunately, there isn’t community in the US that surrounds the depressed person as despite the fact that so many of us have been afflicted by it at a point in our lives, we still don’t discuss it.

I’m not advocating just stopping antidepressants or any other psych meds on your own, but I do advocate rest. I don’t mean that depression rest where it’s the rest because you’re trying to avoid life due to being overwhelmed. Rest with a sense that you are resting to heal your soul and spirit. Engage in good self care, but restore and rest with the idea that you’re working towards getting to a peaceful state.

It’s NOT simple in any way, shape, or form, and literally took me years to understand this. When I feel depressed, or now I believe my spirit and soul is tired, I rest as much as possible and reach out to a couple people who understand and support me in my rest and caring for myself. They will check in with a phone call or text and it means the world to me.

I encourage you not to hide your weariness. If someone isn’t supportive, and I’ve found plenty who weren’t, move onto the next person. If you’re feeling depressed or your soul and spirit are tired, you can anonymously post to this blog or send me an email. I understand. I will be your community or help you find one.

Love

Lizzie

One thought on “Some Insights from Eastern Philosophies”

  1. Fascinating thoughts on surrounding those battling depression with good community and good food! What healing agents. I love you, my friend.

    Like

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