Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
This represents a laundry list of most of the things (as my memory serves) that one person (me) has tried on the path toward increased mental health and higher consciousness. Some of these seemed to help for a while and some have had potentially permanent effects. It’s not clear that any of them “cured” me, whatever that means. It’s hard to say that that will ever happen. However, in retrospect, I’m grateful they didn’t as I would probably not be as far along the “path” as I am now without the experiences of suffering that motivated me to “try just one more time.”
By no means do I feel critical of anything I mention below. I highly respect the efforts of anyone on this path, whether they be “patients” or “providers.” I’d be happy to address any questions you might have about any particular model, method, practice, etc., listed here or ones that you are considering.
Taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds.
Using beta-blockers and mood stabilizers and thyroid meds.
Taking sleep aids of various kinds.
Taking any number of types of supplements intended to relieve depression or anxiety or help me sleep.
Increasing my testosterone using supplements and creams.
Getting treatment according to Traditional Chinese Medicine in the form of acupuncture and herbs.
Getting massages and other “bodywork.”
Doing yoga, hot, “gentle,” and in between.
Practicing “mindfulness” meditation, guided imagery, mindful walking, mindful eating.
Practicing Tai-Chi, Chi-Gong, Aikido, Judo, and Tai Kwan Do.
Engaging the services of a homeopath and a naturopath.
Being treated by several chiropractors, including three who adjusted my atlas bone.
Seeing psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers (LCSWs), and Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs).
Doing various kinds of psychotherapy, including Gestalt, Cognitive-Behavioral, and Psychodynamic.
Engaging in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), hypnosis, and sand tray therapy.
Tapping with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
Trying Psych-K and Neuro-Emotional Technique (both use applied kinesiology or muscle testing).
Attending encounter groups and Al-Anon meetings.
Learning and using positive psychology and positive mental attitudes.
Winning friends and influencing people, turning my frown upside down, writing and saying affirmations.
Having strong intentions, changing my habits, journaling, making myself rich by making my wants few.
Not having the luxury of a negative thought, feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
Working with several Shamanistic practitioners, including one who was a licensed therapist.
Learning how to do Shamanic journeying on my own (I’ve taken myself on dozens of journeys).
Carrying power stones, setting up a Shamanic altar.
Appealing to power animals, spirit guides, and various Shamanic “lineages.”
Consulting a medium, having psychic readings, getting worked on by Reiki and other “energy healers.”
Engaging in counseling with two different New Age ministers.
Reading about and engaging in Buddhism, Zen, Taoism, Hinduism, Sufism, Christianity, and Quakerism.
Pronouncing myself a Postmodern Pragmatist.
Engaging the power of myth and the power of Now.
Joining a men’s group.
Attending men’s retreats (including drumming, chanting, story-telling, poetry, and woodsy venues).
Having an astrologer do a chart for me.
Getting my aura cleansed, chakras and meridians balanced, and healed with singing bowls and crystals.
Doing “Earthing” (walking on the ground without shoes).
Using essential oils for aromatherapy.
Drinking Bach flower essences while hydrating with water.
Getting myself centered.
Drinking herbal tea.
Learning Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), getting biofeedback.
Studying psychology (to the point of getting a doctorate and a psychologist license).
Working on visualizations.
Attending Friends of Jung lectures.
Discovering my Enneagram and Myers-Briggs personality types.
Discovering I have “avoidant” personality traits.
Enhancing my intuition.
Enhancing my nutrition, going organic and Paleo with no GMOs, gluten, or sugar.
Regressing to past lives.
Saging the house.
Writing letters to my dead father.
Reading “Be Here Now” and other Ram Dass books.
Appealing to Neem Karoli Baba, Ram Dass’ guru (though I never met him and he’s been dead many years).
Reading Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle, Rumi, Ramana Maharshi, Paramahansa Yogananda, and other spiritual writers and teachers.
Reading Carl Rogers, Fritz Perls, Barry Stevens, Virginia Satir, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and other psychological writers.
Reading and writing haikus.
Casting the I Ching.
Reading the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, parts of A Course in Miracles, parts of the Bible.
Studying the meaning of Tarot cards.
Trying self-hypnosis and subliminal tapes.
Holding hands in a circle.
Performing random acts of lovingkindness.
Volunteering at a hospice.
Voting my conscience.
Listening to jazz, the blues, gospel, and classical music, and Gregorian, Hindu, and Tibetan chanting.
Refuting my automatic negative thoughts (ANTs).
Being more assertive, having better boundaries.
Being love now.
Being non-judgmental, empathic, and congruent.
This is what I can remember for now. Perhaps I’ve done more. Perhaps you’ve done similar things in an effort to find relief from suffering. You might wonder, “So what was the point of this list?” Well, I found it somewhat cathartic to make this list. And, while doing it, I discovered some patterns that might help me know what NOT to do in the future, as I “try just one more time.”Here is what I found:
- I looked outside myself for answers, as if someone or something outside of me could tell me what to do or make me feel better.
- I attempted to manipulate my own experience, trying to force it to provide relief or stop some pain.
- I did not trust “reality” to know what was best for me. I tried to make reality (the universe, what is, God, Allah, the Tao, Brahman, the nameless, etc.) conform to what I wanted or expected. Byron Katie calls this, “Arguing with reality.”
- I heard, in the mythological sense, a call to adventure. I then either refused the call or went on the adventure only to find that the treasure with which I returned was knowledge about how NOT to do something. The Hindus call this “neti, neti” (not this, not that).
Now you might ask, “Well, where does all this leave you now?” and “OK, now we know what NOT to do. What DO we do?” Good questions! I’ll say more about this in future articles, although all I can speak to is my own path. Your mileage may vary. Consider whether your path has included any of the same patterns I describe above. Consider doing the reverse of the first three and being OK with doing the last one.
In the meantime, I wish you well on your particular path.
Copyright 2015 Daniel J. Metevier