“You’re going to worry yourself sick”, was my mother’s ring tone. Those seemingly meaningless words crashed softly to the ground in my youth and young adulthood. Unfortunately, in 2005 with my life completely unmanageable did the phrase make its way home. After suffering from major depression and depressive rumination for over twenty years, I learned “you’re going to worry yourself sick” was an understatement.
The Stuck Mind
Depressive rumination is repetitive thinking; the disruptive behavior is associated with affective disorders like depression. I was a slave to this horrible affliction. The ability to chew on negative thoughts for days was a common occurrence. These judgments originated from numerous mental queries, judgments, and suggestions (i.e., a perceived wrong from others, external forces, or future expectations).
Whatever the reason, thoughts or opinions would stew in my mind until mental exhaustion was achieved. Without question, I could not let go of repetitive negative thoughts; they were a normal element of my depressive life.
Major depression is a dark alley of hopelessness and its strangling mist slowly chokes rational thinking to death. The experience of depression is indefinable, and it becomes more horrifying; when we cannot articulate our mood, it’s scary as hell. But we can recover from both depression and depressive rumination. We can find a way out.
Thus when the decision to face my darkness was sprouted, rumination or obsessive thinking was also in my crosshairs. I wanted freedom from depression, substance abuse, and repetitive thinking in that order.
Dismantling depressive rumination became possible after reading Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is.” Her book helped me learn more about Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of psychotherapy where thoughts are challenges for validity. In other words, is it true what we’re thinking or is it a false perception? Unchallenged negative thoughts have a direct impact on our behaviors and our depressive disorders.
Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is”, coupled with psychotherapy, anti-depressive medicine, and Taoism provided the strength to challenge my depressive rumination. Taoism is my philosophy and my path. I practiced five years reading, studying, and receiving therapy to not only conquer depression, but to manage circular thinking. In addition, the art of mindfulness helped challenge old habits as well.
Depressive rumination increases depressive symptoms in patients. This maladaptive behavior is detrimental to the mind, body, and spirit. We ponder relentlessly about memories we cannot affect and likewise wait with heightened anxiety for future expectation.
However, major depression and depressive rumination are curable. Please consider seeking medical diagnosis for your depressive symptoms or rumination. By the way, only when we are present in the here-and-now do depressive ruminations begin to dissolve.