The Mind on Fire

Tis Thing Called Life

Discovery Channel H&H ran a very interesting program on manic depression and its link to suicide. It mentioned that 10% to 15% of Americans who suffer from manic depression ended up committing suicide. The show interviewed families whose sons died from committing suicides (the sons died in their twenties- prime time of their lives).

It’s sad to see how heartbroken, especially a mother is when she loses her son. One lady mentioned that she was thankful for her close friends who came every day for a week to just sit with her and let her cry. She appreciated that her friends did not judge. No talks about ‘your son is now with God’ or some other spiritual preaching. Most of the time, grieving families just need someone to be there and let them cry.

The pain never goes away and even after 10 or 20 years- a mother can never talk about her child without crying. This should be the point that anyone who is contemplating suicide must pause to consider- how if we die, a large part of our loved one dies with us.

According to statistics, suicides kill many young American- more than many illnesses like cancer and heart attacks combined. Research had shown that when a person is very depressed, some parts of the brain enlarges or there are chemical compound changes. Taking medication can actually control and regulate the changes, and hence, allowing a depressed person to recover. Sadly, many people are afraid to seek treatmeat, especially in traditional family whereby it is considered to be a shame.

In the afternoon today, I saw a movie by Leslie Cheung– a famous Hong Kong movie star and singer who took his own life in March 2003. He died at the age of 46 due to suicide. When Leslie acted in that show, he was very young- who will have thought that the same man will take his life 20 years later. This reminded me of Danny Chan, one of my favourite singer who sadly also took his life in June 1990 at the age of 31. Danny used to sing many songs that are uplifting- he sang songs about respecting one’s parents, about hope and not to give up. And yet, finally due to disappointment in love and non acceptance by society, he gave up on life (Danny was gay and at his time, it is something unacceptable by HK society).

And in the evening at HBO, I briefly glanced at the show “You, Me & Dupree” starring Owen Wilson. Again, he was just in the news last week for attempting suicide. And Owen Wilson is famous for acting in funny comedies.

A strange coincidence to see so many cases on suicide today- yeah, I also watched the show “Awakening” by Robert DeNiro and Robin Willams that made me cry.

Most of us suffer from depression from time to time. This is because life isn’t perfect, we are faced with ups and downs. Sometimes, we feel so alone when we are down. There is a person at my company who always seemed to be cheerful but authoritative and gets work done. The person knows how to diffuse a tense meeting with light hearted jokes but at the same time, produces quality work. However, that person, at a few unguarded moments, display the look of such incomprehensible sadness that I can’t describe.

I do believe that if our minds are weak, we can be susceptible to negative energies. Notice people around you and see if being with certain people has a draining effect on your, ie, you feel tired and negative after talking to them. Perhaps they always like to complain or speak words that divide people (talk bad about others and always instigate arguments). Identify these type of people and try to avoid them as much as you can. Heard of the term psychic vampires? Read up about them.

Even listening to certain types of “dark” or dysfunctional songs, especially being listened to again and again on loud volume using MP3 may slowing affect your mind. Our mind have a strong tendency to listen to sad love songs when we just broke up or indulging in unhealthy habits to numb a deep pain. It normally gives a temporary relief but later make the pain worst.

The Spiritual Science Research Foundation also came up with an interesting case study on influence of external entities in depression and suicide. Click HERE to read more.

Being mindful at all times is very helpful. It helps you to be aware of yourself, to know and accept feelings and conditions arising within yourself. If you are angry, you know it and if you are sad, you know it. If you are aware of the arising of the feeling from the start, you can nip the negative feeling at the bud. And most of the time, with a bit of awareness, the feeling may not manifest. It is only because we nurse the spark into a little fire that it begins to burn us inside out. How to develop more awareness and mindfulness of your inner thoughts? Try this simple step: as often as you can, whenever you breath in, you are aware you are breathing in. When breathing out, you are aware you are breathing out. You can use words like “in”/”out” or “ha”/”ppy” with every in/out breath to anchor it. Sounds simple right? Well, if you can follow it, you’ll gain immense benefits, I promise.

If you are a Buddhist, I recommend Inner Strength & Food for Thought by Ajahn Lee. His writings had provided me with a lot of comfort during the darkest periods of my life.

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