By Arden O'Connor
Meditation is touted as one of the most beneficial practices individuals can incorporate into their recovery routines, whatever they are recovering from. Proven to reduce stress, symptoms of depression or anxiety, cravings for addictive substances, and much more. Molecularly, meditation reduces stress by reducing inflammation, which leads to the development of more disease or disorders. Known to inspire greater clarity, focus, better mood, healthier attitude, and much more, there is little which seemingly could be wrong with meditation.
However, meditation is not without its risks, depending on who is doing the meditating. For example, people who have survived trauma in their lives and are living with certain symptoms of PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, may be triggered by the isolation of being present with their own thoughts.
Meditation need only last five minutes to be effective. Yet, meditation retreats are becoming increasingly popular for individuals who seek a higher plane of spiritual connection with themselves and the universe. Intensive meditation for days on end can create a “meditation-induced psychosis” or symptoms of mental stress which can be very difficult to cope with.
Most people will experience only the positive benefits of meditation. If you believe you may be having more difficulty than feels as though it would be normal with meditation, it is important to seek psychological support as soon as possible. Meditation has likely touched on deeper issues which need formal clinical care, structure, and support.
- You experience fear, panic, anxiety, or paranoia: Feeling uncomfortable with your own thoughts or feelings during meditation is normal and part of the practice for many. Meditation teachers and practitioners alike will say without hesitation that any one of these feeling experiences are normal in meditation. Regularly experiencing mental or emotional discomfort that leaves you feeling worse after meditation than before may need some observing.
- You feel confused or disoriented after meditation: Deep meditation can feel transportational, as if you are taken to another plane of existence or another dimension of reality. Coming back from meditation, teachers often instruct wiggling fingers and toes to “come back into the body” and become grounded. If you feel that after meditation you can’t quite settle back into your body or feeling of self, seek support.
- You experience extreme dissociation: The most extreme experience of confusion or disorientation after meditation would be dissociation. Dissociating is common for those who live with untreated trauma or a more severe psychiatric mental illness. If you get the feeling that you are no longer yourself or you are no longer connected to “reality”, or that you do not know what “reality” is, you need the guidance of a professional.
- You feel as though meditation is the only time you understand “reality”: The song “Dear Prudence” was written for Prudence Farrow, the sister Mia Farrow. Convinced that she needed to stay in meditation to master the technique, she would lock herself in the room. Concerned, John Lennon and friends wrote the song. If you feel that you are preferring to be in meditation rather than the “real world”, you have started an unhealthy coping relationship with meditation.
There Is Hope
With therapy and/or treatment, you can find a way back to a grounded, balanced state. After some time in recovery, meditation may become a tool you can utilize again, providing you with all of its benefits.
Let the O’Connor Professional Group take the guesswork out of putting a treatment plan together. Our combined personal and professional experience empowers us to empower you with a private consultation and customized plan of action for getting the help you need. Call us today for information: 617 910-3940