I need help

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I need help

Postby inastateofdecay » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:37 pm

OK, first of all I'm sorry that my first introduction on here is one for a cry for help. But I have in the past few days felt very tearful and I am not sure what to do anymore.

I've been 'into' Buddhism ever since I found out what it was 4 or 5 years ago. I've meditated, been on retreat, read countless books, listened to even more podcasts. More so, I have made improvements to my life and others with what I have learned. I know, that deep in my heart I want to practice it on a serious basis. However, my personal circumstances don't help right now.

I'm a single parent to two beautiful kids. I work and I'm also doing a degree part time. That aside, if I didn't have children, I know that I wouldn't be here, but would dedicate myself to the path in a monastery, where I could really focus. I get really upset sometimes as I find myself wishing for my kids to be older so I can take this path. I feel trapped. I'd never abandon my children and it almost feels like a cross to bear sometimes. I feel so overwhelmed by aloneness. What's worse is that I know I should embrace it. But I cant, I wish I had someone I could talk too.

The trigger for this episode, is that I don't feel I have any friends, family or loved ones that understand any of this. Sometimes I look at my 'normal' friends and they appear so happy. But the further into this I go and read and comprehend, the more I feel alienated from the society I was born into. There is no Buddhist community where I live for many, many miles. I do not have a teacher. I feel completely overwhelmed.

I'm so tearful. I feel like I should go to my doctor, perhaps I am suffering from depression but I know pills are not an answer. He wont understand some of the concepts I will outline to him. Has anyone else felt the restriction of their path, the alienation from people, the hopelessness of their situation?

Thank you for reading this.
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Re: I need help

Postby Ben » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:53 pm

Depression is an organic biological condition relating to the chemistry of the brain. See your doctor for assessment and both of you can work out a treatment plan if it turns out you are depressed. If left untreated, depression can be fatal. Invariably depression obscures one's perception of reality which causes problems to seem much bigger than they are. There has been much success in combining Buddhist meditative practice in conjunction with standard medical and psychological interventions for depression. Jon Kabat Zinn's series of mindfulness meditation instructions on CD might be a good place to start.
Best to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Wishing you all the best,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: I need help

Postby inastateofdecay » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:57 pm

So I'm mentally ill? Great.
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Re: I need help

Postby Ben » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:03 pm

You said it yourself.
Pull your head out of your backside and go see a doctor.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: I need help

Postby santa100 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:07 pm

Cultivation of the Path involves a lot more than just sitting meditation and studying the suttas. Turn all your daily activities into opportunities for training. When you're lonely, meditate or read suttas. When you're busy, practice mindfulness and concentration by focusing on the task at hand. When you're in tough situations, develop the brahmaviharas of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Without the heavy weights to lift, body builders wouldn't be able to develop strength and muscle mass. Similarly, your children, your loneliness, your tough situations are all helpful "weights" you could put to good use to make progress on the path. Beside taking care of your mind, don't forget to take care of your body, do outdoor cardio exercises like jogging, biking, hiking, etc. They're wonderful natural stress terminators. If none of the above work for you, then it'd be a good idea to go see your doctor. Good luck..
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Re: I need help

Postby Dan74 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:20 pm

inastateofdecay wrote:OK, first of all I'm sorry that my first introduction on here is one for a cry for help. But I have in the past few days felt very tearful and I am not sure what to do anymore.

I've been 'into' Buddhism ever since I found out what it was 4 or 5 years ago. I've meditated, been on retreat, read countless books, listened to even more podcasts. More so, I have made improvements to my life and others with what I have learned. I know, that deep in my heart I want to practice it on a serious basis. However, my personal circumstances don't help right now.

I'm a single parent to two beautiful kids. I work and I'm also doing a degree part time. That aside, if I didn't have children, I know that I wouldn't be here, but would dedicate myself to the path in a monastery, where I could really focus. I get really upset sometimes as I find myself wishing for my kids to be older so I can take this path. I feel trapped. I'd never abandon my children and it almost feels like a cross to bear sometimes. I feel so overwhelmed by aloneness. What's worse is that I know I should embrace it. But I cant, I wish I had someone I could talk too.

The trigger for this episode, is that I don't feel I have any friends, family or loved ones that understand any of this. Sometimes I look at my 'normal' friends and they appear so happy. But the further into this I go and read and comprehend, the more I feel alienated from the society I was born into. There is no Buddhist community where I live for many, many miles. I do not have a teacher. I feel completely overwhelmed.

I'm so tearful. I feel like I should go to my doctor, perhaps I am suffering from depression but I know pills are not an answer. He wont understand some of the concepts I will outline to him. Has anyone else felt the restriction of their path, the alienation from people, the hopelessness of their situation?

Thank you for reading this.


Hi

I think I know where you re coming from (to some extent) and I used to feel the same way.

But the Buddhism that I have been taught, encourages us to take responsibility and practice within the confines of our particular situation.

These confines are really mind-made. My teacher who has been a nun for some 30 years now, has told me once (when I was telling her of very similar concerns to yours above) - "in a monastery it is about mind and in a house with the family it is about mind." Where we are is where we practice and if we face our situation squarely, we can begin to truly commit to the practice now.

It is easy to think that somewhere else it is better and it is also easy for a single parent to feel trapped. I share my tasks with my partner who works hard and is brilliant at keeping us all organised. And even so it does sometimes feel like it's all too much.

But this is where practice comes in. In facing up to our responsibilities, in facing reality as it is rather than as we may wish it to be, and making the most of it now.

Of course it is easier said than done and like anything else, we make some small steps in the right directions and over time this can make a world of difference. And sometimes we do need some extra support, whether in the form of friends or indeed therapy if necessary.

And then when the time is right (and you will know when it is right) you can ordain. From what I've heard people who practice well as householders make great monastics and people who don't, don't last.

Aversion is a great hindrance on the path, the Buddha taught. And if you are a committed parent, cultivating aversion to this commitment and all it entails is harming your practice. But recognizing and letting go of it is helping it. Then you can facing your situation as it is and see countless opportunities for practice within your daily life.

All the best!!!
Last edited by Dan74 on Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I need help

Postby sutira » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:22 pm

Hi inastateofdecay,

I totally hear you. If you need to talk to someone, we're all here :)
We all are susceptible to loneliness and depression attacks from time to time. Investigate them with equanimity. They can't be permanent. And they will pass away if we don't put more flame (negativity) into them.

Can you find any Buddhist group in your area that you can join at all? It doesn't even have to be the same school as yours (which I assume Theravada.) Like in my area, there is only one Tibetan Buddhist group, and the people are very nice. If you just wanna hang out and meet some spiritual friends and stuff, that should be a good start.

But if you feel overwhelmed and can't handle it, consulting with a therapist like Ben suggests should be best.
As long as we have the fetters, I consider we're all mentally ill anyway.

With Metta,
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Re: I need help

Postby kirk5a » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:38 pm

inastateofdecay wrote:I feel so overwhelmed by aloneness. What's worse is that I know I should embrace it. But I cant, I wish I had someone I could talk too.

Well you can talk to us. We're someones. On the internet, so that entails quite the mixed bag of responses. :smile:

Take heart. There are no magic bullets. Everyone who has a body, carries dukkha around all day just like you. :smile: So, you're not alone. Practice mindfulness, just do what needs to be done in each moment, take care of yourself, and why not see a therapist or doctor? I don't think that is a complete solution for anyone, but it could very well be an important part of the package. Don't give a second thought to the notion that it means you're defective. We can all use help.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: I need help

Postby Caraka » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:09 pm

Hi,

Start with generosity towards your children.

And you are not mad, just full of suffering from what you can not get. Maybe you should ask yourself if that is a good state to join a community of noble ones?

:candle:
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Re: I need help

Postby waimengwan » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:13 pm

However bad things are the state that we are in is impermanent. This thought has helped me overcome a lot of my depression, good or bad eventually arises, fades and arises again so the cycle continue. We are all your online sangha we will support you.

Would it help if you had a partner who shared your faith ?

We are alone all the time anyways, in our minds we are alone always and that is a fact. There is no time that we are not alone in our minds. The path can be very easy if our minds is in the right direction.

People who do not know the dharma will enjoy their lives in ignorance, I like buddhism because it gives me options to face my situations and problems.
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Re: I need help

Postby Caraka » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:43 pm

"However bad things are the state that we are in is impermanent..."

Yes, therefore you have only been depressed (past), i.e. it can not last. Nothing stand still, it all flows from moment to moment. And as buddhist you know that better feelings will arise, maybe they already are.
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Re: I need help

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:00 am

Greetings inastateofdecay,

A few things might help:

- See your parenting as merit making which will support later plans for renunciation, rather than see it as a hindrance to it

- See your parenting as an opportunity to cultivate the brahma-viharas in daily life

- Focus on the cultivation of mudita (appreciative joy) in daily life. It will help you to see positives, rather than negatives (which is particularly relevant if you are depressed!), and enjoy and benefit from the mindstates associated with that

- Find some sense of Buddhist community, either in meatspace or cyberspace, with the view to cultivating spiritual friendship with fellow aspirants of the Noble way. As someone who has been geographically isolated from Buddhists, I can speak personally to the benefits of friendship, and can happily say that many of these friends are here in this online community right now. I hope you'll stick around to see what's possible...

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: I need help

Postby marc108 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:22 am

i understand what you're saying very much... i also think often about ordaining, but the situation now is that i am stuck with my worldly life... i wouldn't even be able to ordain if i tried. that being said and after discussion with my teacher, i think that the idea that we cant practice very intensely in regular life is a complete farce. we can get up earlier to sit, and we can practice mindfulness always, and we can make time to study the Dhamma.

I've also experience the same lack of Dhamma friends in 'real life' and all I can say for that is there is a thriving community of similar people online and one shouldn't take that for granted. This forum is a perfect example of that... participate regularly & make friends. It's perfectly normal that you should feel alienated form society as large, because society at large is diametrically opposed to Buddhist practice. Just try to get used to that... you WILL get over it eventually.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: I need help

Postby Digger » Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:02 pm

Your situation is NOT hopeless.

1 - You could change your name from "in a state of decay" to "in a state of development"

2 - Understand that you are not alone in the fact that people, doing what they think will bring themselves happiness often end up trapping themselves in a corner as you feel you have done to yourself. I did it to myself, I am sure many others reading this have also done it to themselves.

3 - Although it may be faster, easier, etc to accelerate down the Buddhist path by abandoning all in your life and going to a monastery, there are numerous accounts in the Pali texts of "householders" getting very far down the path without abandoning all and without joining a monastery. You can physically stay where you are and still advance greatly. Might be harder and slower but still possible.

4 - You may be "alienated" from the "regular" people you know but you are understood and accepted here and other Buddhist "communities" on the internet. You don't necessarily need to meet other Buddhists in person, communicating via the internet is good too.

5 - Regarding pills not being the answer, some people may have "chemical" problems and pills might be helpful for them. Some people.

6 - Some doctors do understand Buddhism.

7 - Regarding wishing for your kids to be older, believe me this will happen way faster than you think. Blink your eyes and 5 or 10 or 20 years will fly by. A possible path for you is to do your best to raise your kids well, spend what time you can advancing down the Buddhist path and when your kids are on their own, do what you think is best then, when your kids are no longer dependent on you.
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Re: I need help

Postby Alobha » Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:12 pm

inastateofdecay wrote:Has anyone else felt the restriction of their path, the alienation from people, the hopelessness of their situation?


Yes i did. Grab the opportunities.

You feel isolated from a buddhist community in daily life? It's the best chance to really dig into your practice, nobody simply drags you along but all the power can come from you. This can be an incredible source of insight, because you really have to ask yourself "What and why am i doing this?". It's a chance for establishing strong practice with a strong fundament in your own investigation and experience, not in mere social conventions. Changing your perception to something more helpful is a good thing, you see?
You aim for a strong practice - See your current situation as a preparation time for a monastery. Master lay life so that you can live it without this amount of dukkha. A monastic life is not free of duties and restrictions and just like lay life, monastic life offers a wide variety of situations for the mind to dislike the present. Practice, train yourself. If we wait for the conditions to be perfect, we will never practice. Suffering will not vanish by changing the outer world, but by the inner world.

I'd never abandon my children and it almost feels like a cross to bear sometimes. I feel so overwhelmed by aloneness. What's worse is that I know I should embrace it. But I cant, I wish I had someone I could talk too.


Well, you talked to us about this ;) Stay around for a while. Work with what is, not with what should be. You've found a community of buddhist companions here, make the best out of it. Your children are also a great opportunity to train yourself in compassion, kindness and patience. Take the opportunity. Also start meditating regulary if you didn't already. It's not as helpless as it looks - you just need to look at it from another perspective! :)

Metta,
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Re: I need help

Postby waimengwan » Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:46 am

Practice without expectations that is one of the best ways to overcome one's despondency.

Also I feel you think everyday is the same day routine and nothing ever changes, how can that be true? Everything is changing in a flux, our physical and mental constituents changing moment by moment but of course our physical appearance does not change that much.

Change is happening as you read this, when there is change there is HOPE from our current situation.
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