Mindfulness – witnessing the mind

I never really understood meditation or maybe tried to truly understand it.

From my time in the partial hospitalization program, I started buying into a lot of lessons they taught. The vicious cycle and the challenging of the automatic thoughts were especially great tools to learn.

As I continuously digest the book “the chemistry of calmStep 5: turning toward the feeling, I realized today how all these techniques connect with the power of keeping in touch with your observing mind. This article summarizes everything in a concise manner. This article has some good feedback. I know I’m merely at the very beginning stage. I find myself finally aware of my thoughts occasionally.

My weakest moment is by far when I’m trying to fall asleep. I know it will take a very long time to practice and be good at mindfulness. Maybe then I can apply it to my sleep. Right now I’m simply trying to stop relying on prescription sleep medication. However I’m failing pretty miserably. I get unconscious how long I struggle to fall asleep. Last night, I drank sleep time tea and took 6mg melatonin and then tried multiple times to fall asleep by getting in and out of the bed. I thought I might be able to do it after 1am but the next time I got up and looked at the clock, it was 3:33am and I knew that whole time I didn’t fall asleep. I finally broke down and took some Trazodone around 4am.

However my battle is not completely in vain.

I think being able to stay off of Ambien is somewhat of a win for me. Even though that drug does put me to sleep, I consider it one of the reasons my anxiety went out of control so I had to be hospitalized the second time. The doctors put me back on Trazodone. I do feel less side effects from it but it doesn’t have the “kick” Ambien does so it works on and off for getting me to sleep. The bad thing about Trazodone is that the doctors would tell you that you may “safely” take up to 250mg daily. That is a slippery slope. I currently only take 100mg. What happens if I keep taking higher dosage and the effects continue to wear off on me? I met a girl recently who admitted she was addicted to Trazodone previously taking 300mg a day and continued wanting to take more. In general, I’m scared of relying on prescription sleep medication.

The other good news is that I seem to be able to stay asleep once I fall asleep (although still waking up soaked in sweat). This behavior is very different from when I was deep in my depression. This proves that at least my depression is being managed.

As far as my anxiety, I do feel it’s getting better though it’s still the worst when I try to fall asleep. I often twitch my leg and feel short of breath during that period. During the day, I still feel short of breath when I try to focus my mind. It makes the practice of mindfulness more challenging.

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