Depression

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greggorious
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Depression

Postby greggorious » Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:29 pm

I've been diagnosed as suffering from major depression for over 12 years, I've been various medications during this time but still feel as though I'm getting nowhere with gaining emotional well being.
Is there a Buddhist interpretation of what depression is? Am I paying the price for negative karma in a past life? Also are there any views on anti depressants in Buddhism?

Greg
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah

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Re: Depression

Postby ricketybridge » Thu Apr 21, 2011 6:57 pm

Hi Greg,

I, too, have been diagnosed with depression. Although medication has helped me a LOT, I didn't feel like I was at 100% until I discovered the jhanas. I know that might sound weird to the vets here, but chemically, it totally makes sense: they unleash massive doses of dopamine, which is seriously lacking in the depressive's brain.

But it wasn't just a wave of euphoria: it also came with a massive paradigm shift. It finally made me actually believe what cognitive-behavioral therapy had been trying to make me believe for years: that I'm okay, have always been okay, and will always be okay; that I can be happy NOW instead of having to fulfill all my desires first. I don't think I wouldn't have been able to fully give myself over to the tenets of the dhamma without having had such an experience (and continuing that experience through meditation on a daily basis).

If you've already experienced the jhanas, then I would just suggest experimenting more with medication, going to (more?) therapy, and/or going to a support group like Emotional Health Anonymous.

-rick

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Re: Depression

Postby cooran » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:16 pm

Hello Greg,

Causes of Depression:
http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/pub ... /index.cfm

Westerner are particularly afflicted with unrecognised self-devaluing. It is often the fact that many weeks/months of Metta practice, targeting oneself, are needed to adjust this. It is not 'selfish' to direct lovingkindness practice towards yourself.

This might be of assistance:
Meditation and Depression
http://www.wildmind.org/applied/depression

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Depression

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:25 pm

Greetings,

greggorious wrote:Is there a Buddhist interpretation of what depression is?

I've often wondered whether what is commonly translated in English as "sloth and torpor", isn't in fact referring to some variety of depression.

Gil Fronsdal wrote:Sloth and torpor are forces in the mind that drain vitality and limit effort. Sloth manifests as a physical absence of vitality. The body may feel heavy, lethargic, weary, or weak. It may be difficult to keep the body erect when meditating. Torpor is a mental lack of energy. The mind may be dull, cloudy, or weary. It easily drifts in thought. Being caught in sloth or torpor can resemble slogging through deep mud. When this hindrance is strong, there is not even enough mindfulness to know we’ve fallen in.

Discouragement, frustration, boredom, indifference, giving up, hopelessness, and resistance are some of the psychological causes of sloth and torpor. Mental and physical tiredness may resemble sloth and torpor, but differ in not arising from a psychological attitude.

The presence of sloth and torpor does not mean that energy is not available. It means we are not accessing it. With a change in conditions, energy may reappear in a moment. This can be seen clearly in young children who switch from being “tired” (while shopping, for instance) to being energetic (about an offer of ice cream, for instance) in a matter of seconds. The energy level depends on whether they evaluate the situation as boring or exciting.

Mindfulness practice can help us understand how our evaluations and reactions lead to lethargy. We might notice the role resistance plays in the sinking of energy. Shutting down energetically can be a strategy to prevent something from happening or from having to experience it. Occasionally, falling asleep in meditation can be a deep, almost unconscious form of resistance.

Sloth and torpor may arise from evaluating something as boring. But nothing is inherently boring; boredom is a judgment-an activity of the mind. It commonly arises from self-identity. People who feel highly energized when their self-image is being enhanced or diminished may deem an experience boring if it does nothing for their self-image.

Other evaluations that drain energy are discouragement, self-pity, and ideas of futility. These can come with well-honed defeatist stories about how “I can’t do it,” “It’s too hard,” or “It’s too dangerous.” Learning to mindfully watch our thoughts instead of actively participating in them can effectively stop them from draining our energy.

A more subtle cause of sloth and torpor can be complacency. This can occur when we are lulled by comfort or misguided acceptance. Complacency may arise when meditation feels easy and comfortable. With the warm, fuzzy feeling that everything is okay, the mind can even drift off into sleep.

Weariness can be closely entwined with sloth and torpor. Chronic excitement and tension, especially when expressed through the muscles, can leave a person deeply exhausted. Because the tension masks the weariness, people may not realize how deeply fatigued they are until they go on a meditation retreat. For such people, it can take a few days on retreat to recover sufficient energy for the practice.

When sloth and torpor appear in meditation, it is important to find ways to practice with the condition, not struggle against it. It is especially important not to abandon a meditation session because of sloth and torpor. Our energy level and effort naturally rise and fall, and this hindrance can be expected to appear sooner or later.

If sloth and torpor is mild, it may be overcome by arousing more energy. Options include brisk walking meditation; sitting up with a more erect, energized posture; opening the eyes; washing the face with cold water; avoiding being too warm while meditating; and increasing the frequency of mental noting.

Another approach is investigation. It can be fascinating to actually feel the subjective experience of sloth and torpor. This includes exploring where and how the physical feelings of heaviness or dullness show themselves. One can become curious about how they manifest in the mind.

Investigating this hindrance can also include understanding how particular thoughts, beliefs, and evaluations feed into sloth and torpor. Sometimes it is possible to change what the mind is thinking about so as to awaken more energy. A traditional Buddhist approach is to reflect on death and dying. Done the right way, this can arouse healthy energy and motivation, freeing the mind from preoccupation with insignificant things.

Chronic sloth and torpor may represent a lack of meaning or purpose in life. In this case, the antidote might involve taking time for deep inner reflection or thoughtful conversations with wise friends.

When sloth and torpor are present and energy is weak, we do the best we can. When they are absent, energy will naturally be stronger. Rather than berating yourself when you are tired or praising yourself when you are alert, just keep practicing. Certainly it will help reveal the precious beauty of your own mind.

Source: http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/ ... nd-torpor/

greggorious wrote:Am I paying the price for negative karma in a past life?

I don't think that's a particularly useful way to look at it. If it is, it is... if it isn't, it isn't... what are you going to do about it other than get yourself into a muddle?

greggorious wrote:Also are there any views on anti depressants in Buddhism?

Not surprisingly there's nothing in the suttas about them... though I think if it helps to establish qualities which are deemed to be positive or enlightening within the Dhamma, then that is a positive.

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: Depression

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:32 am

Hi Greg,
Sorry to hear of your condition. At the very least, you are getting treatment. Very many people suffer from depression in silence, have god-awful quality of life and a shortened life. If not directly from suicide then indirectly from depression-induced lifestyle factors.
greggorious wrote:Also are there any views on anti depressants in Buddhism?
It is medicine.

Interestingly, a few years ago I was in contact with a medical research unit at Macquarie University after I heard about their research project. At the time, they were tracking cancer patients who suffered from depression. One group of patients were given a vipassana-derived mindfulness meditation to do everyday and the control group didn't do any meditation. What I was told was that the group of people who were doing the mindfulness meditation came off their anti-depressant medication earlier than the control and far fewer had further episodes of depression which required medication.
Anyway, I recommend that you continue with your medication regime as well as your meditation/Dhamma practice. The medication will assist you with an acute phase of a form of dukkha manifesting as an imbalance of brain chemistry. Dhamma practice will assist you with removing the root-cause of dukkha from your life. At this point in time, you require both.
Take care of yourself and I hope you know that you're not the only Buddhist who suffers from depression nor the first one to be on medication.
Kind regards

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: Depression

Postby ground » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:43 am

greggorious wrote:Is there a Buddhist interpretation of what depression is? Am I paying the price for negative karma in a past life? Also are there any views on anti depressants in Buddhism?


I would be very cautious with interpreting depression from a buddhist perspective because there are many different clinical forms of "depression". Some being more "rooted" in the body and some more rooted in "mentality". But since there is a cause for everything it may be the manifestation of karma regardless of clinical form.
If practice is made possible through anti depressants then these should be concomitantly applied initially until they can be abandoned which should be the effect of practice.


Kind regards

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Re: Depression

Postby fragrant herbs » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:48 am

i was depressed for that many years and learned positive thinking and cured my problem. dr. david burns has a book out called mood therapy that you may like. i didn't know about or use his methods, just used positive affirmations all day long--thinking them to myself and had made them up myself.

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Re: Depression

Postby David2 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:32 am

fragrant herbs wrote:positive thinking

Maybe this talk helps, too:

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Re: Depression

Postby Northernbuck » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:31 pm

Greggorious,
I was diagnosed with bipolar about 6 years ago, and not just the simple bipolar I or II, nope, I am Cyclothymia. This mean that I can mood change in the blink of an eye. I do not look at this as something that is a burden, or that I was cursed with. It is a decease, much like depression, or diabetes, or cancer, or leukemia. There is no difference between mental illness and physical illness. There are medications that help with physical illnesses and medication to help with metal illnesses. I do not believe that the Buddha would think that taking medicine to help with physical or mental pain is wrong. I am on Valproic Acid which helps to even out the waves of emotion that I tend to get. Meditation helps smooth the waves out even more. Remember that life is suffering and it does not matter if it is temporary or a lifetime of suffering. I have accepted that this is what I have to deal with and I accept it. The only advise I have is to continue to work with your physician on the medication and meditate. With metta

Brian
But if this neutral feeling that has arisen is conditioned by the body which is impermanent, compounded and dependently arisen, how could such a neutral feeling be permanent? - SN 36.7

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Re: Depression

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:01 pm

Thank you Brian for sharing.
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
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Re: Depression

Postby ground » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:11 am

Northernbuck wrote: I was diagnosed with bipolar about 6 years ago, and not just the simple bipolar I or II, nope, I am Cyclothymia. This mean that I can mood change in the blink of an eye.


Now isn't that interesting? This "mood change in the blink of an eye" is what I have experienced in the context of buddhist teachings i.e. just through establishing some sort of "mindfulness" from one second to the other.

Kind regards

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Re: Depression

Postby rowyourboat » Mon May 23, 2011 9:35 pm

Depression is a kind of mental suffering. And as all suffering does, it also arises due to some unconscious clinging to one or some of the aggregates. Check this really nice sutta on what I think is about a depressed monk and how the Buddha goes about helping him. (by letting him identify the cause of suffering and seeing the efficacy of whatever he was clinging to.

With metta

Alternate translation: Walshe
At Savatthi. On that occasion Ven. Tissa, the Blessed One's paternal cousin, told a large number of monks, "Friends, it's as if my body is drugged. I've lost my bearings. Things aren't clear to me. My mind keeps being overwhelmed with sloth & torpor. I lead the holy life dissatisfied. I have uncertainty about the teachings."

Then a large number of monks went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they told him: "Lord, Ven. Tissa, the Blessed One's paternal cousin, has told a large number of monks, 'Friends, it's as if my body is drugged. I've lost my bearings. Things aren't clear to me. My mind keeps being overwhelmed with sloth & torpor. I lead the holy life dissatisfied. I have uncertainty about the teachings.'"

Then the Blessed One told a certain monk, "Come, monk. In my name, call Tissa, saying, 'The Teacher calls you, my friend.'"

"As you say, lord," the monk answered and, having gone to Ven. Tissa, on arrival he said, "The Teacher calls you, my friend."

"As you say, my friend," Ven. Tissa replied. Then he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Is it true, Tissa, that you have told a large number of monks, 'Friends, it's as if my body is drugged. I've lost my bearings. Things aren't clear to me. My mind keeps being overwhelmed with sloth & torpor. I lead the holy life dissatisfied. I have uncertainty about the teachings'?"

"Yes, lord."

"What do you think, Tissa: In one who is not without passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for form, does there arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair from change & alteration in his form?"

"Yes, lord."

"Good, Tissa, good. That's how it is for one who is not without passion for form.

"What do you think, Tissa: In one who is not without passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for feeling... perception... fabrications, does there arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair from change & alteration in his fabrications?"

"Yes, lord."

"Good, Tissa, good. That's how it is for one who is not without passion for fabrications.

"What do you think, Tissa: In one who is not without passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for consciousness, does there arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair from change & alteration in his consciousness?"

"Yes, lord."

"Good, Tissa, good. That's how it is for one who is not without passion for consciousness.

"Now what do you think, Tissa: In one who is without passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for form, does there arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair from change & alteration in his form?"

"No, lord."

"Good, Tissa, good. That's how it is for one who is without passion for form.

"What do you think, Tissa: In one who is without passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for feeling... perception... fabrications, does there arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair from change & alteration in his fabrications?"

"No, lord."

"Good, Tissa, good. That's how it is for one who is without passion for fabrications.

"What do you think, Tissa: In one who is without passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for consciousness, does there arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair from change & alteration in his consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"Good, Tissa, good. That's how it is for one who is without passion for consciousness.

"What do you think, Tissa — Is form constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"... Is feeling constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord." ...

"... Is perception constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord." ...

"... Are fabrications constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord." ...

"What do you think, Tissa — Is consciousness constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"Thus, Tissa, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Any feeling whatsoever...

"Any perception whatsoever...

"Any fabrications whatsoever...

"Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Seeing thus, the instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Through disenchantment, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

"Tissa, it's as if there were two men, one not skilled in the path, the other skilled in the path. In that case the man not skilled in the path would ask the man skilled in the path about the path. The second man would say, 'Come, my good man, this is the path. Go along it a little further and you will see a fork in the road. Avoiding the left fork, take the right. Go along a little further and you will see an intense forest grove. Go along a little further and you will see a large marshy swamp. Go along a little further and you will see a deep drop-off. Go along a little further and you will see a delightful stretch of level ground.

"I have made this comparison, Tissa, to convey a meaning. The meaning is this: The man unskilled in the path stands for a run-of-the-mill person. The man skilled in the path stands for the Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened. The fork in the road stands for uncertainty. The left fork stands for the eightfold wrong path — i.e., wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration. The right fork stands for the noble eightfold path — i.e., right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. The intense forest grove stands for ignorance. The large marshy swamp stands for sensual desires. The deep drop-off stands for anger & despair. The delightful stretch of level ground stands for Unbinding.

"Rejoice, Tissa! Rejoice! I am here to exhort you, I am here to aid you, I am here to instruct you!"

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, Ven. Tissa delighted in the Blessed One's words.

Provenance:©2005 Thanissaro Bhikkhu.Transcribed from a file provided by the translator.This Access to Insight edition is ©2006–2011.
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Re: Depression

Postby BlackBird » Tue May 24, 2011 1:23 am

Well you're in good company I dear say

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pe ... e_disorder

I am in therapy at the moment, and it's becoming clear that I have bi polar and an anxiety disorder. If I don't meditate I get very anxious, especially in social situations. It also helps reduce the intensity of my depressive episodes. Meditation really is one of the best things available for depression. Like anything you can turn a weakness into a strength. Emphasize every small victory, develop that admiration for yourself.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: Depression

Postby alan » Tue May 24, 2011 3:44 am

Interesting link. Can't help but notice that a lot of creative individuals are included.
Good luck with your disease, BlackBird.
Oh by the way I'd just like to ask those who condemn depressed people as not following the Dhamma to take a good look at this. Depression has many causes, some of them physical. No lectures please.

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Re: Depression

Postby manas » Tue May 24, 2011 3:58 am

I'm glad to find this thread. I wish to add my name to the list of those for whom the morning sit in meditation (or standing, walking etc) is a support for tackling the rest of the day's challenges.

As for whether I can claim to be truly following the Dhamma or not, since my mind is regularly afflicted by depression, well i'm not the one to judge that. Honestly, though, my mind is far better at coping with the stresses of life than before Dhamma practice, so it's definitely helped me alot. Plus I'm one of the few adults in my circle of friends, family and acquaintances who are trying to keep the five precepts. I know plenty of hardworking, socially functional individuals who are not depressed like me, but who drink alcohol or smoke pot to unwind at the end of a day. So, I guess they have their delusion, and I have mine (identification with habitual negative thought patterns and emotional states).

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Re: Depression

Postby BlackBird » Tue May 24, 2011 11:19 am

manasikara wrote:I'm glad to find this thread. I wish to add my name to the list of those for whom the morning sit in meditation (or standing, walking etc) is a support for tackling the rest of the day's challenges.

As for whether I can claim to be truly following the Dhamma or not, since my mind is regularly afflicted by depression, well i'm not the one to judge that. Honestly, though, my mind is far better at coping with the stresses of life than before Dhamma practice, so it's definitely helped me alot. Plus I'm one of the few adults in my circle of friends, family and acquaintances who are trying to keep the five precepts. I know plenty of hardworking, socially functional individuals who are not depressed like me, but who drink alcohol or smoke pot to unwind at the end of a day. So, I guess they have their delusion, and I have mine (identification with habitual negative thought patterns and emotional states).


Being affected by depression does not make you less of a Dhamma practitioner. I think this is one of those cases where the saying: "What doesn't kill you can only make you stronger" is very applicable.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: Depression

Postby suguno » Tue May 24, 2011 11:32 am

greggorious wrote:I've been diagnosed as suffering from major depression for over 12 years, I've been various medications during this time but still feel as though I'm getting nowhere with gaining emotional well being.
Is there a Buddhist interpretation of what depression is? Am I paying the price for negative karma in a past life? Also are there any views on anti depressants in Buddhism?

Greg

I have seen a couple people with depression manage to use meditation as an aid, and eventually overcome their problems without having to rely on psychoactive drugs. In these people cases, they all practice under rather close instructions of a very good and skillful teacher and this is not an easy to have condition.

Generally speaking, Buddhists believe this has something to do with forgotton past memories, most often from past lives. Scientific studies indicate that many of these cases are at least partially due to genetic factors, so it is not unreasonable to think that it is ‘possibly’ due to past lives.

However, from the practising standpoint, no matter how strong theoretical references are, unless we have developed meditation to a rather advance stage that enables us to discern past kammas directly, we still cannot know anything for certain, whatever we believe remain a hypothesis.

About the use of anti-depressants, from the Dhamma standpoint many biological factors are indeed due to the mind (psychological) and can be fixed by simply dealing with the mind. But in my own observation the success of this requires a really good teacher and a student who is able to grasp the teaching and practise it correctly. Medical treatment is not the ‘holistic approach’ but it’s often a quick fix, at least it is necessary when someone starts to manifest harmful behaviour.

But I would seek psychotherapist opinions as an alternative or as least as a supplement (to psychiatrist advices). The side effects of psychoactive drugs are quite well known, many of those who suffer from mental problems know from their very own experiences drugs do not really help them much, but they cannot skip it. There are some natural sources of serotonin and endorphins, which are cheap (or even free of charge) and I believe that many psychotherapists would recommend them. Among many, there are:
- meditation
- smile
- sunlight
- herbal supplement (e.g. St John’s Wort)
- strenuous exercises
- acupuncture
- carbohydrate rich meals
- chocolate with high percentage of Cocoa
- spicy foods

Of course if one is under medical prescription, consult the psychiatrist first. But at leastI think meditation (as well as other religious practices) and many on the lists can be used as supplements.

I sincerely hope that you will be well and ease.

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Re: Depression

Postby rowyourboat » Tue May 24, 2011 1:25 pm

It struck me that some forms of psychotherapy are 'unethical' from a Buddhist perspective because they encourage the expression and growth of defilements. However modern approaches like CBT are much more compatible with mindfulness based approaches. I believe at the end of the day (no judgement here), that depression is plain suffering - the cause of that suffering is a deep seated attachment to the way things should have been (and never was). It is an attachment to love and affection never received. These are quite deeply buried and takes quite refined mindfulness and the removal of many gross defilements (these make depression worse) to uncover. I suppose the four noble truths formula can be applies to curing depression.

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manas
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Re: Depression

Postby manas » Tue May 24, 2011 11:25 pm

BlackBird wrote:Being affected by depression does not make you less of a Dhamma practitioner. I think this is one of those cases where the saying: "What doesn't kill you can only make you stronger" is very applicable.


Thanks, Blackbird. I'm also finding that having a difficult mind to deal with is a good opportunity for developing some good qualities (ironic, in a way): patience (with this challenging mind), acceptance / loving-kindness towards this mind (ie not judging it too harshly for being the way it is), and even a degree of insight, I'd say, when I realize that something that changes so many times in a single day couldn't possibly be self (eg, 'I am sad'...'I feel grief'...or on a really bad day, 'I feel despair'...then later on, if meditation goes well, or the people around me are being kind and harmonious, 'what happiness, what peace'...wait a minute there! Just recently you felt despair - now joy - which one of these is self? Which one is 'yours', something that can be owned? The answer is, none of them; they are all (equally) just guests, just passing through this mind). Yet despite having this (intellectual) understanding, still there is a kind of emotional attachment to feelings as self or 'mine', to emotions as self or 'mine', which causes suffering to arise...ha well we will get there eventually. May you be well and happy; may we all practice just to the best of our ability, that's all. :anjali:

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Re: Depression

Postby PeterB » Thu May 26, 2011 11:07 am

TMingyur wrote:
greggorious wrote:Is there a Buddhist interpretation of what depression is? Am I paying the price for negative karma in a past life? Also are there any views on anti depressants in Buddhism?


I would be very cautious with interpreting depression from a buddhist perspective because there are many different clinical forms of "depression". Some being more "rooted" in the body and some more rooted in "mentality". But since there is a cause for everything it may be the manifestation of karma regardless of clinical form.
If practice is made possible through anti depressants then these should be concomitantly applied initially until they can be abandoned which should be the effect of practice.


Kind regards

This post raises some important points and does so well.
We should be cautious in ascribing exclusively physical or " mental " causes to depressive or bipolar conditions.
That there is a genetic predisposition is now established pretty conclusively and includes Twin Studies to preclude a view posited solely on conditioning.
The challenge in managing such conditions from a Buddhist perspective lies in calculating the precise timing of a gradual withdrawl of meds in tandem with an increase in meditation practices.
This is tricky. And the input of an experienced meditatation teacher is highly advisiable.


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