Dealing with Depression? How Buddhism Saved Me
I reconnected with the Buddhist practice after a mental breakdown that had me feeling like my world was crashing down. I first discovered Buddhism when I was sixteen years old living in small town, Indiana, where Buddhism is not very popular. In fact, some of my religious family members criticized me for my practice, (a good reason to move away.)
Anyway, for one reason or another, I drifted away from it and started to stray down the wrong path. I came out to California for college and to start my new life. I had very ambitious goals of becoming a famous artist and making a lot of money. After about a year and realizing it would be tough to get rich as an artist. I started looking for alternative ways to live a luxurious life. (Without getting into personal details lets just say I made poor choices that had a negative impact on my mental well-being, and leave it at that.)
I became addicted to money and my image. Shortly after meeting my now boyfriend, I moved into his house. He owns a huge and incredible castle close to downtown San Francisco. I was living the life I had imagined for myself. A big house and all the designer clothes and possessions I could possibly want! But yet it wasn’t enough. I then started putting money into myself and the way I looked thinking that would make me happier.
I let myself become so obsessed with my looks that it consumed me. I got a very expensive nose job and a chin implant. I lost a bunch of weight and got down to 109 pounds. I would get hair and eyelash extensions. A got a manicure and pedicure once a week. Plus I would go out on shopping all the time and blow thousands of dollars. You would think, “she had such a glamorous life how could she be so depressed?” I was beautiful, skinny, rich…and unhappy.
I lost touch with who I was inside. I thought if I just kept buying stuff that would solve all my problems. I was angry and thought I was better than people who had less than me. At the same time, I was insanely insecure. I would stand in front of the mirror and pinch at my (nonexistent) fat. One time I ate ice cream and cried because I felt like I didn’t have any self-control. I spent an hour and a half doing my hair and makeup every single day. If I broke out in acne, I would refuse to leave the house. Looking back now, I am so grateful that I found myself again through Buddhism.
Since reconnecting with Buddhism at the SF Zen Center, I have a better outlook on life. I am learning to accept myself just the way I am. I have new goals of simplicity and minimalism. I have a simple job working as a barista making minimum wage, and my new goal is to save up and build myself a tiny house. Most of all, I am finally beginning to be happy after such a long road of anxiety and depression.
I think the Buddhist practice could be so beneficial to everyone, especially those going through a rough time. I am curious about your path, what is your experience with meditation and Zen practices? Leave a comment below. This blog is still extremely new so I would appreciate any feedback, Thanks!
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