Leaving Islam



 My Journey From Depression 

by Kantipala


I used to suffer from severe depression, often thinking myself to be some how busted. Like everyone around me seemed to have a place; they seemed to have a direction, they seemed to have opportunities, but yet I was stuck in a rut. Another analogy was like being invited to a party that I never could fit in, but not being allowed to leave.

For along time I tried desperately at anything I could do to help me find my way, but all I met with was one failure after another. This of course made every thing worse for me, and reinforced my belief that I was busted. To make matters worse was when ever I tried to share my feelings others were quick to have a joke about it, and tell me what I was doing wrong. So not only was I feeling lost and depressed, but also scared to death of a judgment al world. I even went to a physiologist who after about a year told me I was a wonderfully healthy person. That I was a joy to chat with, very loving and so forth, but this diagnosis did not make me feel wonderfully happy. It took me along time to find out what was causing these feelings, and then to start healing from it. I was really starting to think there was no point in goodness at all, it was all just one persons way of controlling another.

I went on a meditation retreat at a Theravada Buddhist monastery in the United States.( this is not meant as an advertisement for Buddhism just the point were I found the cause of my mental anguish) The topic of the retreat was “Metta” or the art of radiating loving friendliness to all beings with out exception. These was a huge challenge to me, as I had a deep hatred for myself, and hated the rest of the world for being so cruel, abusive, and judgmental. The only being I could feel love for was maybe the monastery cat. On the board was a sign up sheet for personal interviews with the monastic. Buddhist monks dedicate there lives to the practice of renunciation, mental cultivation, and emancipating the heart. So I figured I would have an interview and share some of my problems with loving friendliness.

I signed up for an interview with a Thai monk from “Wat pa nana chat” a forest monastery in Thailand quite famous for its serine meditation monks. I figured that if anyone could offer me insight it would be him, so he was who I chose. I entered the room were he was, and closed the door, all the while trying to find were in the room he was. I found him sitting on the floor, and so I sat down in front of him. He must have had a very tranquil heart because I felt totally safe with him. Like when you have a comfortable silence with a good friend. At first I wanted just to tell him what I thought he wanted to hear that “I was good, and pressing along. That I would defiantly take these things back to my ordinary life” I felt his peace sitting in front of him that I worked the courage to ask him what I really wanted to know.

I told him that I absolutely hated myself for being born with a disability, never being able to fit in, no matter how hard I did what society said I was suppose to I was always the looser, There was always something I should have done or could have done. I told him that I was stuck in a busted existence with absolutely no way out what so ever. After I told him that I hated myself I let go with all the reasons why, figuring what the heck. After my talk which must have blown him away with such tremendous self hatred I was shocked that his mood was totally unchanged. There was as much a comfort being with him as before. This was positive for me because he had not been in the USA more than a year or two I was afraid along with other things his reaction, and I have been judged so many times before I just did not want to be rejected again.

He gently said that “I have found almost all westerners seem to have these same feelings” This was shocking to me as I for along time have thought myself unique and alone in my feelings. He then asked me if I had a Christian upbringing which I said that I had. He then said that in his meetings with westerners they all seemed to believe that they were sinful unless some authority told them they were good. Also that they judged them selves and others based on there opinions of what God would think. Thus they would formulate these lofty ideas of what it means to be good, but when they could not live up to those pie in sky ideas they became depressed. Even people who were not religious but were raised with that concept looked out side to validate what they thought of them selves.
Hearing this explanation got me to thinking about may own thought patterns of the past and so forth. With everything I did or tried to do I did at first create a lofty image of what I should be, and then beat myself up to obtain it, and then when I failed it was all the more disastrous. Thus leading me to create even more ideas to grab on to kind of a habitual thought pattern that kept feeding itself.
The monk told me that I was already good at heart, and did not need to do anything, but just express what I naturally was. Experiencing this monks unshakable peace during the interview also gave me some confidence that he had some experience with what he was telling me, and not just quoting some text book he picked up. I was not interested in book reports, I could read for myself anything.


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