My Prescription for Happiness

October 9, 2013 at 12:32 am

About six months ago I wrote a post called “Becoming Whole Again” where I gave an update about my recovery from anxiety and depression. Yesterday I received a comment from Nicole on that post:

I am really interested in the new “prescription” to replace the drugs. What are the variety of spiritual and physical things you were encouraged to make habits in order to protect yourself from darkness and fear?

I’ve been thinking about sharing that prescription for awhile. So Nicole’s comment was the nudge I needed. I wrote this list in my journal on March 16, 2013. I feel it was a joint-effort between God and me, that we made the list together. At the time I wasn’t doing any of the things consistently and some not at all.

My daughter pretending to meditate

1) Go to bed by 10:00 p.m. and wake up early.
2) Meditate.
3) Read my scriptures.
4) Exercise.
5) Sing and play the piano.
6) Hold each child in my arms.
7) Have sex at least once a week.

Back in July I started meditating (kundalini yoga meditation) and singing every day. I haven’t missed a day since. I’m approaching 80 days. After I started this daily meditation practice, I felt so amazing that I cut my medication dose in half again. So now I’m down to 1/4 of my prescribed dose every other day. There were a few discouraging days while my body adjusted, but now that I’ve stabilized, the bad days are few and far between.

Yesterday was a bad day (brought on by stress and lack of sleep). I was full of panic and despair. At bedtime, I was so tired and full of discouragement, weeping to my husband that I just wished I could be fearless and radiant and strong. In my weakness, I cried, “I’m just not cut out for this world. I want to go home.” I don’t feel that way now, but I felt it intensely last night. If I don’t take care of myself, the world and all its troubles easily overwhelm me. I have to stay vigilant. I have to take care of myself.

Looking over the list now I can see that I’m still falling far short of taking my “prescription” every day. I can only imagine how radiant, strong, and joyful I’d be if I was actually doing all of those things consistently! Writing this post has helped me to resolve to try harder.

I was talking with a friend a week or two ago. She endured her own harrowing battle with anxiety many years ago after her fourth child was born. As a result, she developed an addiction to Xanax lasting several years. Fortunately, she is free of both the anxiety and the addiction now. This friend and mentor was a crucial part of my own recovery. So we were talking recently, and she told me about attending a workshop on mental health in which the presenter explained that we have to have seven resources that rejuvinate us in order to remain mentally stable. Do you have seven?

If you feel yourself draining, depleting, dragging, and you hear yourself screaming in your head, “I need a break!” Don’t wait. Do whatever is within your power to get that break you need. Those little red flags were waving in front of my face for months before I had my nervous breakdown. Don’t learn the hard way like I did.

Take care of yourself!

Hiking in Sedona last month

Hiking in Sedona last month