People on drugs are in a similar situation. After a while they forget what it is like to be normal, and they regard the drug’s effect as normal because it seems better than the condition they were in before.
Judy had suffered from depression for many years and was taking antidepressants when she came to see me. She had got used to the effects – feeling less excitable, but less anxious, less negative and dark – and felt good about at last being able to handle stress, even if she did so with the feeling that she did not really care what happened. The drugs made things much easier for her children and husband, because her mood was stable and in fact did not vary much from day to day, she seemed better able to deal with stress, and in fact she didn’t even much mind what her kids did just so long as they did not hurt themselves.
So why do you want to come off drugs? I asked her. I have lost my passion, she said. Life just moves on and I don’t feel part of it. It is as if I am just an observer, and I want to feel connected again. What does it mean to feel connected? I asked. She thought for a moment. It has to do with feeling the heart stirred up, wanting to be part of life again, being able to feel the presence of deep consciousness, and caring really deeply again, despite all the pain and discomfort that sometimes comes with that.
Brave lady. Can you remember the heartaches, the deep dark depression you struggled with? Are you ready to go there again? We smiled at each other, each knowing without words what was left unsaid. I am so conscious of such space when no words fill it up with chatter, and feel more than comfortable soaking in the presence of a stillness that is brimful of potential and yet so easily disturbed by thoughts or emotional reactions. And we sat for a while, each with our own thoughts.
I always warn people about coming off drugs too soon and suggest a slow weaning period, but am never surprised when as often happens someone decides to just stop within a few days. My experience has been that when people really want to come off drugs they are equally willing to deal with the withdrawal symptoms and generally can’t wait to experiment by using natural remedies instead – and there are some very good remedies to choose from.
She could hardly contain her joy when she came for her next visit. Passion was radiant in her face and glistening in her eyes, and her excitement was full and deep. We had talked about dealing with stress and not being afraid of emotional reactions, and learning to dance with spirit and feeling the presence of the Great Mystery, and letting go of judgement and choosing the thoughts one wants to pay attention to. She had heard it all, and her excitement contained the gifts of consciousness and having brought true awareness into the now.