Recently I have had the pleasure to treat several non-Japanese patients that have been diagnosed with depression. Growing up in a family riddled with depression I often used to think of myself as an expert on the issue but with each new patient I have found myself realizing how complex depression can be and how many western doctors use depression broadly for vastly different mental states. There is one comment thread I have noticed in all of my patients as well as family members troubled with this debilitating disease: the inability to recognize the beginning and end to every situation and every moment. There are not present but instead troubled about all of the other moments that come before and after the one they are experiencing.
Many of these patients often tell me about the trials and tribulations of living in a land that they were not born in. In a country full of people they do not look like and surrounded by a civilizations that does not hold their values and does not speak or express themselves the way they were raised to. I often listen to these stories and find to many a time that their hardships were once and sometimes still are my own.
My personal experiences living away from my ‘home land’ often found me in a low and very unsafe mental state. Many in my family mentioned that I may have depression and that I should reach out for medication to help tame it but I didn’t. I knew that medication doesn’t tame depression it just drugs it into a stupor. And when the drugs are gone it returns with a vengeance.
That was the norm for me until I started focusing on changing the world inside me instead of the world around me. Through meditation, yoga and acupuncture I found belief in myself and in the moment. Every day that I spend in the Now I find acceptance and peace. In the past, I would stuff my true self down deep into my belly because I was afraid that if I truly showed who I was that I would be vulnerable and defenseless. In reality, I was bitter, angry and often very upset about having to pretend a personality when my real and beautiful one lie hidden deep inside me. Acceptance of who I was and the strength to be that person everyday has helped me to fully accept the reality of the Now.
All of this has taught me that no matter what you do you will never be able to change anything but you. You are the mood maker and the mood breaker. If you are unstable than the world around will feed of that unstable energy and spin out of control.
By Heather Maya Suzuki