Question: I suffer from anxiety and depression. My question may sound dumb for someone practicing “A Course in Miracles” for 11 years but … for example … I get stuck mentally … I do very well at picking up on the fact that fear and/or whatever has sent me into depression! I am pleased I catch it early… Being aware isn’t enough… What is the self talk / thought process you worked with after realizing what is going on?
P.S. as I read this over it hit me that this is actually the “First Letter of Peter to a Corinneian”
I actually had a major episode of anxiety after already having been a Course student for 12 years (your question is not at all dumb!). It was after that time that I realized that I was doing the Course, but that there are layers to living it. Our work with the Course gets deeper as our willingness continues to grow. Plus, I would never really work that hard with the Course unless I was in extreme discomfort. When things got very painful, I really started working the principles. So the pain served a useful purpose – it got me working hard to find relief. Now I show up to do work with the Holy Spirit daily. This commitment is key for me because the “ego always speaks first” and it is our primary identity in this world. If I start to think “I’ve got it” and try to coast, I ultimately get into some form of difficulty again.
Here are some ideas that have helped me:
- “Anxiety (or depression or substitute any sickness) is a defense against the truth (See Lesson 136). I am the one calling forth this anxiety to keep me believing that I am a body and that I am Corinne. I take responsibility for this. I am not a body and I am not Corinne. I am a Holy part of the mind of God” (substitute your own name).
- “I’m willing to look at what is coming up WITH the Holy Spirit.” When I do this, the next step is to hand it over and ask for the miracle instead. I am vigilant, vigilant, vigilant about this now. This is a step you actually have to DO. It requires ACTION.
- “This pain/resistance is my UNwillingness to heal coming forward. I realize that I (my ego) WANTS this world and wants it to work out so badly. I own that. Again, I’m willing to look at this with the Holy Spirit” (By the way, I wrote a blog post about looking at that UNwillingness here).
Everything I have learned that has helped me is ultimately soothing that terror-filled unconscious split mind that we have – and I’ve touched this part of my mind. Touching this deep level is what has ultimately made a difference for me. Previously, the whole “guilt” thing in ACIM was more of an intellectual understanding for me. Now, it has been an experience of knowing that an unconscious part of me carries guilt and fear for seemingly separating from our Source. As the layers of fears arise, it is an opportunity to look at what is coming up with the Holy Spirit EVERY TIME. Because the ego is our primary identity in the world, we have to put these principles into action over and over and not feel guilt for where we are at. “The happy learner cannot feel guilty about learning” (Ch. 14, Part III in FIP edition).
A lot of times, once the anxiety would take hold, I’d find that the only way through it is through it. I relied on external help (therapy or medication) when I needed it (and I suggest that anyone who is really struggling with anxiety or depression do the same – the Holy Spirit will speak through others if we are too blocked to hear the Holy Spirit directly). We have to allow ourselves to be where we are at, and not feel more guilt for being in the state that we’re in. Feeling badly for feeling the way we do just holds the ego firmly in place. There wasn’t an instant fix for me, but instead the healing happened over time as I was ready. We’re deep into this dream, and so small things gently fall away as we’re ready to let them go.
By the way, the “First letter of Peter to a Corinneian” CRACKED me up! 🙂