Over the past couple of decades I have suffered from depression several times, sometimes very severe and other times less so, but suffer I did nonetheless. On several occasions I used Homeopathy to “cure” my depression and “cure” it it did, or so I thought, until now. Surely the cloud of depression dissipated and I managed to get on better with my day to day life. But as life rolled on so did with it the cloud of depression roll on back in. Every time I took Homeopathy for it I did feel as though I had “healed” from it and most likely I did heal from said depression. As a homeopath would describe it, that layer that had formed had gotten removed. But had I actually really cured my depression? If it keeps coming back, even though in different forms as the remedies needed displayed, can I truly say I have cured it?
Let’s take a closer and deeper look at this shall we…
Yes clinically the depression I was suffering from in all the different occasions each time cleared with homeopathy, but the question is: why if I have cleared the layer of depression does it keep coming back? Do I just have a depressive personality? Do I have a depression tendency? Or it is just the ups and downs of a depression patient as an allopathic practitioner would tell you. Or is it the maintaining cause as a homeopath would say?
Well, let’s explore my life from a bird’s eye view a little for some perspective.
Each time I went into depression, was because of certain triggers; then I would take homeopathy, which helped me come out of it. But then what did I do after coming out of it? Did I remove the trigger from my life? Did I change how I reacted to the trigger to prevent the same consequences? Did I change my life in any way to prevent the trigger from being a trigger and still triggering me. The answer, as any one may easily guess, to all of these questions is “NO”. I did not remove the trigger; I did not change my reaction to the trigger; nor did I change myself in any way to prevent the trigger from being a trigger. Thus, it’s no surprise really that I kept going back into depression. The flavour of the depression may have been different each time, but that is about all that truly had changed over these past two decades…
Here in lies the problem. I did not learn anything from my depression…
I was on a boat on a stormy sea, I fell into the water, somehow I managed to pull myself back up on to my boat, but what did I do then? I did not complete the journey, I did not change how I handled the storm, so all I kept doing was falling back into the sea and rescuing myself over and over again. There was no progress. Thus I came to realise this now: I keep getting thrown overboard into the stormy sea, because I keep doing the same things again and again; I am not learning from my mistakes; I am not progressing in any direction on my journey, just staying stuck.
This is not healing myself; this is not curing myself; this is still symptom management.
After deep reflection I have come to the understanding that merely removing the triggers (or trigger people) from ones’ life is also not true healing, that is just being an ostrich – how many people is one to “run away from”? We cannot run and hide away from our problems. It is not the people that is the problem, but us with not being able to “cope” with the problem being present to us by these triggers.
I’ll explain it in another way: why is it that certain character types; or certain traits; or certain habits of people trigger us? Are they really the worse traits on earth? Are they really the only bad traits? Are they the same traits that trigger everyone else as well? NO.
Every person gets triggered by different things. Sometimes the things that trigger us might not be the worst possible traits on earth, but they still trigger us. Sometimes there may be some other traits that we do feel are also bad, maybe even just as bad as our triggering ones are, but we don’t get triggered by them. Why?
It is because of our history. What we have been through, who we are, what our belief systems are that determine what triggers one and what does not. Any trait that triggers us in any way is because of us and not the trait itself. The problem is not with one trait or the other, but within us. [That is not to say that its ok to have bad traits; or that an evil act per say should not be condemned; or that it can be pardoned. Just because it is not the actual act itself, but what it does to us because of our history, that is causing us a problem does not make the bad actions O.K. NO. By no means is this an excuse for any wrong doers to keep doing their wrongs. NO. Bad traits or evil acts are not excusable and the perpetrators have to be accountable for their ill doings, which they will be to ALLAH SWT. This matter being discussed here is not about them or their actions. This matter is about us and us getting triggered.]
Again let me explain this in another angle.
If act 1 triggers us but not act 2, why does act 2 not trigger us? They are both equally bad. Why can we “tolerate” or brush past act 2 but not act 1, despite our condemning both acts equally. It’s because somewhere deep inside act 1 has hit a nerve of ours and act 2 has not. So why has act 1 hit a nerve and not act 2? The answer to this question can only be found in our story of life. Sometimes we can find this answer with relative ease, other times maybe even deep psychotherapy might not be able to reach that far into our core. But the question is, do we need to reach the this answer or have we already reached an answer that is sufficient to proceed with remedying the situation? Does it matter what in our history made this nerve active? Is the solution not still to make it un-active? Yes if we can pinpoint it great it may help break the cycle sooner however, even if we don’t, it does not mean that the cycle itself cannot still be broken. Therefore whether we can deduce exactly the moment and incident that activated this nerve or not is neither here nor there, the point is to understand that said actions hit said nerves. Now what needs to be done is our neural pathways need to be rewritten to prevent us from going down the same neural pathways and hitting said nerve.
Is that even possible I hear you ask? Yes it really is. Our brains are not fixed, new neurons can be created and new pathways laid, but we have to actively chose to walk a different path and not let us keep slipping down the same pathways.
How can this be done? Well the first and most important step is to recognise that this needs to be done; for we cannot chose to walk a different path if we do not realise that it is our default path wherein the problem lies. Once this has been understood and our triggers identified then comes the long hard uphill slog of actively choosing a different path to set into our brains. But it is actually not as difficult as it may sound! It just calls for persistence.
Understanding ourselves is quite useful in this, if we can understand what part exactly about our trigger is causing us suffering then we can work backwards and teach ourselves not to let that take hold upon us. Like pointing a torch upon the shadows in the dark can relieve us from any fearful thoughts; pinpointing that it is (for example) the lack of ones’ freedom, felt from the others’ dominating and controlling nature, that is causing ones’ suffering can then give rise to the idea for creating a space and place for ones’ freedom.
We cannot change or control another’s actions; a dominating person will continue to try and dominate that is their personality, we cannot change it, but one can change how the others’ action affects them. By understanding that one craves their freedom which is being challenged and robbed through said actions which is affecting one negatively, they now have a better chance to fight for it. That does not mean a literal fight, but more a stand against the injustice.
It always helps to know what we are fighting for; what chance do we have in a fight we do not know we are in?
Once one has identified where the problem with a certain trait lies for them, then every time that trait presents itself they have to actively choose a different course of action to prevent the suffering that they feel from it, (for example, using the above scenario: refusing to be ruled by and dictated upon by another persons’ insecurities or ideals, being ok to set in boundaries and being content by them being placed, restores a space and place for ones’ freedoms). Do this enough times that it becomes second nature and hey presto the trait no longer presents itself as a problem for us, despite the trait itself still actively co-existing with us.
So you see, it is not just merely recovering from a fall that one needs to do, they need to heal and seal – recover, learn and grow from said fall so to not repeat it again in order for them to actually be cured from the fall.
Complete the journey of every challenge life presents to you. Don’t stay stranded in the middle of the sea; for if you stay stranded, I promise you, you will just keep staying stranded. There are no rescue boats upon these seas; there are no heroes in these stories; this is your life’s journey and you can only keep moving forward in it if you so choose to do so, otherwise you will keep re-living the same mistakes over and over again – like being trapped in a time loop. Let’s truly heal from our trauma and cure ourselves from them.
Don’t run from yours triggers, learn and grow to co-exist with them in peace, that’s is where true healing lies.
MUCH, MUCH LOVE TO YOU ALL,
Meher Andleeb Eqbal
This space features my reflections, opinions, ponderings and from time to time announcements of what I am up to. It literally is me in my corner on my soapbox.
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