Seven years ago, I was in the throes of postpartum depression and anxiety. At its worst, it made me feel and think awful things. It would grab hold of one single thought and would multiply it by a hundred. It was a relentless voice that told me that things weren’t ok even when there wasn’t anything actually wrong. It twisted my insides tighter than a rubber ball until I couldn’t breathe. It brought me to tears when I had to make simple decisions like that one time when I was in the grocery store and I had to pick out apples.
As if my life depended on it…
Do I go with the red ones or the green ones?
In other words, it turned me into a terrified mess of emotions ranging from rage to crushing depression.
I was quickly placed under the care of a psychiatrist and was put on medications. Unfortunately, treating a mental illness such as postpartum depression and anxiety isn’t as easy as treating a headache. You can’t just pop a pill and take a nap and poof it’s magically gone. It takes time and a lot of work that you, yes you, the patient have to do.
This was quite the rude awakening for me when my psychiatrist had suggested I try meditation/mindfulness in conjunction with my medications.
I remember blankly staring at him with my sweating armpits, my boobs still lactating, my hair falling out, and a list of ways that google told me I was going to die on seventeen different occasions – “You want me to meditate?”
He gave me the rigmarole that it has been proven that meditation is excellent for your health and has the ability to reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, ok, at that point I was willing to try anything.
Initially, meditation was not an easy thing to master and truthfully, it was almost impossible at first because my mind was racing with too many thoughts. What I found through trial and error was that I was able to benefit from a type of meditation called guided meditation. Guided meditation is simply “meditation with the help of a guide”. All you have to do is sit or lie down comfortably, close your eyes and follow the voice instructions.
I come out of it feeling lighter and my mind clearer.
Today, seven years later, I still take medications to treat my anxiety and bipolar disorder but I also practice meditation as an adjunct therapy. I truly love it.
For those of you wanting to try meditation, here are a few helpful tips:
- Choose A Time To Mediate
Start with short sessions at first (15-20 minutes) at least once a day.
- Find a Comfortable Area and Get into a Comfortable Position
You will typically see people meditating in an upright seated position with perfect posture, but this isn’t physically possible for everyone. Get comfortable.
- Focus On Your Breathe
Your main goal is to focus your attention on your breath as you breathe in and out.
- Acknowledge Your Thoughts
No matter how quiet you want your brain to be, your brain will continue to do its own thing. Acknowledge your thoughts and then bring your focus back on to your breath.
- Fight The Urge To Sleep
I am guilty of falling asleep on numerous occasions. It happens, but do try to remain awake.
Meditating is difficult at first, but with practice, it does get easier. Keep trying and do it often.
Written by Kimberly
Have you tried meditation?