Author Topic: I think I need help (impermanence, depression)  (Read 610 times)

Offline raindrop

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I think I need help (impermanence, depression)
« on: October 07, 2016, 05:46:38 pm »
I am not a Buddhist. I am severely depressed. I see a therapist and a psychiatrist, I am on medication, and nothing helps. Since the places my mind tends to get stuck in depression are things only Buddhists seem to talk about, I thought I'd try asking some Buddhists...

I see impermanence ALL THE TIME. I cannot shut it off or shut it out or not think about it. Even something like visiting my parents' house, my head is filled with thoughts that someday they will die, and that the house will decay and fall apart, and the neighborhood will change and there won't even be people there who remember who they were. I find it especially painful when dealing with thoughts of the impermanence of loved ones, but that is not the only time it happens -- pretty much everywhere I look I see impermanence and future death/decay.

From what I have read, it sounds like the Buddhist answer to this is not to having clinging/attachment... but HOW? How can you be constantly aware that someday everyone you love will die, and NOT have that thought cause you constant overwhelming pain?

Offline Amorphos

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Re: I think I need help (impermanence, depression)
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2016, 01:16:38 am »
Hello Rain.

What is it about the idea of impermanence that upsets you so much? What is it that you fear?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2016, 03:17:47 am by Amorphos »
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Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: I think I need help (impermanence, depression)
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2016, 02:48:28 am »
It's interesting that the same thing happened to the Buddha. He was so shocked at the impermanence and decay all around him, and the suffering it brought, that he spent the rest of his life trying to help everybody come to terms with it. Luckily for us he succeeded and we have the path to take away, not the feeling for others but the unhelpful clinging, the rumination that spoils our lives.

I've been through therapy of that kind, although I didn't need medication. Maybe continue with those and gently let some meditation into your life to see if it works for you. Mindfulness of breathing might be a first step to give the mind something else to dwell on. there is a lot of other stuff on this site that may help, so look around to see what might be useful.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Amorphos

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Offline Miss Kathryn

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Re: I think I need help (impermanence, depression)
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2016, 05:59:40 pm »
beautiful, great subject
impermanence isn't painful, it's the clinging to something that cannot be permanent that causes pain

Offline raindrop

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Re: I think I need help (impermanence, depression)
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2016, 07:59:48 am »
Hello Rain.

What is it about the idea of impermanence that upsets you so much? What is it that you fear?

Grief. The thought that someday people I love won't be there, that I will never be able to talk to them or hug them or be with them again. I am on the phone with my parents every day right now to tell them how much I love them (I think they think I'm losing it!) but it's not enough, the thought is constantly in my head that someday they will be gone and even though I know that's an inevitable fact of life I just can't deal with the thought...

I know that would be described as clinging or attachment, but I can't imagine how not to cling or be attached to the people I love...

Offline Amorphos

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Re: I think I need help (impermanence, depression)
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2016, 01:35:35 am »
Hi Rain.

For you, I would recommend the book No Death, No Fear, by Thich Nhat Hanh. I sent you the details through private message.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 06:30:02 am by Amorphos »
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Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: I think I need help (impermanence, depression)
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2016, 07:12:07 pm »
Quote

Rain:  I see impermanence ALL THE TIME. I cannot shut it off or shut it out or not think about it. Even something like visiting my parents' house, my head is filled with thoughts that someday they will die, and that the house will decay and fall apart, and the neighborhood will change and there won't even be people there who remember who they were. I find it especially painful when dealing with thoughts of the impermanence of loved ones, but that is not the only time it happens -- pretty much everywhere I look I see impermanence and future death/decay.

From what I have read, it sounds like the Buddhist answer to this is not to having clinging/attachment... but HOW? How can you be constantly aware that someday everyone you love will die, and NOT have that thought cause you constant overwhelming pain?


The answer is only of any value if you wish to end your suffering, what in Pali is called dukkha:  Birth, aging, disease, death, pain, suffering, dissatisfaction.  None of these facts of life will change, just your understanding and acceptance of them.  When you accept these facts, you may then stop fighting them, and come to the conclusion that all life, and all of existence will eventually decompose and come to an end.  In physics this process is called "entropy".  Entropy "always" wins.

Entropy:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy

Simple defintion:  https://www.britannica.com/science/entropy-physics

Simpler definition:  http://physics.about.com/od/glossary/g/entropy.htm

Succint, but overly simplified and incomplete defintion:  en·tro·py  (ĕn′trə-pē)
n. pl. en·tro·pies
1. Symbol S For a closed thermodynamic system, a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work.
2. A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.
3. A measure of the loss of information in a transmitted message.
4. The tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity.
5. Inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society.

Now, one more thought, which came to me while I was taking out the recycling and trash for the week:

Laws of physics and the law of kamma, which governs the consequences of our actions are not negotiable.  The best that we can do is come to understand them and how they work.  We can, through our awareness and understanding develop ways to avoid them causing us harm, but these laws are immutable, and cannot be changed.  For example The Law of Gravity may be inconvenient to us, but its consequences result in millions of deaths over any given person's life-time.  The same for the law of inertia, and most especially entropy and dukkha.  While we can adapt to temporarily avoid the consequences, the result is inevitable.  So, again, today acceptance is the answer to all of our problems.  Buddha taught us in his Four Noble Truths that while we can't prevent aging, disease, and death once we are born forever, we can eliminate suffering (dukkha).

« Last Edit: October 12, 2016, 07:45:15 pm by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

 


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