Depression is the brain's way of forcing you into a meditative place.
That's an idea that occurred to me as I was beginning to combat severe postpartum depression with my first child.
I was sitting in a coffee shop, childless for the first moment in forever. I could barely lift my cup because my brain and body felt so heavy and spent. But the heaviness had a certain calm to it... the blankness had a certain weird measure of tranquility which was better than the anxious, racing, hold-on-by-your-fingernails survival mode of keeping my life afloat. Yes, it was totally cloaked/fogged by sadness and guilt and "depression", but there was a safety in it.
I wasn't choosing to go all "crashed computer blank screen" on myself... it was happening TO ME... but there was something almost relieving about it.
That idea reoccurred to me again today as I curled up in a ball on the sofa and covered my head with a pillow and said, "I can't do this one more day. I can't endure fighting for every inch with my first born and having no rational way to tell my second born that I just need two seconds to feed myself the crusts of leftover PB&J so I can still make milk for him... for one more day."
I'm a can-do person... to the extreme sometimes. My friends are SICK of hearing yet another one of my ideas. I'm pretty sure, "Hey! We could do _______" is something they never want to hear out of my mouth again. So when I max out and say, "I can't" it's a cry so deep, so true, so aching, so final.
My husband always says, "Aw. Yes you can!"
He doesn't know what else to say.
What else could he say?
If I knew, I'd give him a suggestion, because I hate hearing it... because when I say, "I can't," I mean it. I'm saying it from a place of total mental and physical emptiness... nothing else to give... no more resources to draw on... maxed-the-actual-fuck-out... pardon my french. (I've found extremely forceful language is often the only thing that makes people realize you are REALLY not kidding.)
But I've learned to receive these periods of total spent-ness with a measure of gratefulness. They remind me what it is to stop, to not feel all the feelings.
This is what meditation tries to bring into our day... but we're usually too helter-skelter to bring it into our lives on our own. When our Stress Response barrages our sanity with too much force, too often, for too long... eventually our bodies will force us there.
I want to experience the placid immovable quiet and 'stopped-ness' on purpose, intentionally... not because the motherboard of my mother-self is fried.
Still working on that.
But also learning to see the 'fried' periods with less judgement, with a little more thankfulness... because it's my body's way of protecting me until I can learn to protect myself.
SIDE NOTE: St. Teresa wrote (I'm going to paraphrase because I don't have the energy or will to get up and get the book), "Even if you're not in the religious order, you should always have a mentor/director so that you'll always have an authority over you because directing ourselves with our own will can be horrible." --- There is a safety in saying, "I can't... my body won't let me." In an age when we have shunted all authority/mentorship aside and must govern ourselves wholy, it is hard to say no... but when our body acts as a higher authority, it's a relief!