I just returned from a 7-day silent Chan meditation retreat at Dharma Drum Mountain in Taiwan, focused on the Silent Illumination technique, and this video covers five of the many things I enjoyed and learned on the retreat.
Five tips for when you’re struggling with stuff from the past.
Build a new relationship with uncertainty throughout your life or your daily practices will just logically and rationally have you struggling and suffering and relapsing back into a depressive anxiety hole. This video explains an approach that I credit with helping me recover and maintaining great mental health for the past eight years:
We can always come up with a rational reasons to excuse self-destructive compulsions while we chase safety. But chasing that feeling is no different than chasing any other feeling: it only leads to more of the experiences you’re trying to avoid.
For OCD Week, I joined The Mighty for a live Q&A on their Facebook page all about my journey with recovery from mental illness. I usually keep my videos focused on mental health and where I’m going now, so I don’t often talk about the specific symptoms I struggled with but in this video I go more in-depth into what it was like deep in the mental illness hole, and what was involved with getting out of that hole:
Ruminating on reasons you can’t recover because your symptoms are different or you have very unique circumstances that prevent you from moving forward… is one of the most common symptoms. You’ll always be able to think of reasons why you can’t cut out compulsions, why you need to keep doing unhealthy things right now, why some other time in the future is going to be a much better time for recovery–our brains are so imaginative!
When it comes to dealing with horrible, weird, upsetting, terrifying intrusive thoughts or whatever else your brain is throwing up when you’re struggling with mental illness, learning to practice accepting the stuff in your head and shifting your focus to doing the things that will actually make you healthy, can stop the struggle in your head.
When I say that mental illness is like drowning and building better mental health is like learning how to swim, I’m not suggesting that mental illnesses aren’t real biological experiences. Drowning is a very biological experience. If we took some guy that doesn’t know how to swim and pushed him off the side of a boat into deep water, he’s going to have a very stressful experience. It’s going to be distressing and traumatic — for him and for those watching. He’s …