Overcoming Severe Depression by Taking Cultivation Seriously
(Minghui.org) I’m a 48-year old man from Weifang City, Shandong Province. I started to practice Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) in 1996.
Suffering Depression at a Young Age
Growing up I was a timid, sensitive, and introverted. I was working in a grassroots level office in 1994 in a rural area. I lost a very important billing document at one time. My manager used to be in the military and had a very bad temper. He got so mad at me, and viciously yelled at and scolded me. My self-esteem was deeply hurt. Soon after I also had personal relationship issues.
I began to have symptoms of depression. I was gloomy and lost, and I became very pessimistic. My life was full of sadness and suffering, and gradually I started to think about committing suicide.
Then, as demanded by my mother, I was transferred to work at a bureau office with the help of the bureau director. But my condition continued to worsen, and soon I was not able to communicate normally with people. I took a long-term sick leave. The bureau director told my mother that he would keep my position for me, and I could stay home until I had recovered.
Someone told my mother that maybe my body was possessed by some evil spirit. So she took me to many places and had old ladies treat me. We ended up spending a lot of money, but I did not get any better.
I no longer wanted to see any people other than my parents. When they went out, I would lock the doors and windows and stay at home. If I was too bored, I would secretly go out, and walk up a slope where no one lived. I would watch the clouds, look at the grass and the ants, listen to the birds, and listen to the children’s happy screams and laughs when on their way home from school.
Days were passing like this but my suffering and loneliness were not getting better. No one could understand me, and no one could help me. I was often absentminded, and I could not control myself. I hated the fact that I couldn’t communicate with people, that I couldn’t go to work, and that my parents were worried and sad because of me. I figured that by living like this, not only was I suffering, but my parents were also suffering. I attempted suicide three times.
Then someone suggested to my parents that I should be taken to psychiatric doctors for treatment. I was diagnosed with severe depression by doctors in the city mental health center. We were told that I must take medication for the rest of my life to maintain my mental stability, and I must be watched by my family to prevent suicide attempts.
My symptoms got somewhat better after several months of taking medication. Being afraid that I would eventually lose my job, my mom then advised me to return to work. So I went back to work while on medication. It was perhaps because my life was not meant to end, and there were more meanings to life for me to discover.
Starting to Practice Dafa
A seeming coincidence let me encounter Falun Dafa in the fall of 1996, and it changed my life. That day I saw a co-worker making a book cover for a thick book and I curiously walked up to ask her what book it was. It was Falun Dafa’s main text Zhuan Falun. Then, I opened it up to take a look. It felt like my eyes lit up when I saw the first sentence. I immediately asked her where I could buy this book, and I bought it after work. After dinner, I read three or four chapters.
I finished the entire book within three days, and I had never been so excited. I finally found what I was looking for. In the book, I had found all the answers to questions that I had been wondering about. My view of the world changed, and I began my cultivation. The night after I started cultivating, I dreamed that a withered lotus flower was blooming again.
Within the next two months, I was able to gradually stop all the medication and my mental state became normal. I was finally able to live and work just like others. I smiled a lot and I tried to be a good person and I followed the principles of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.” Through studying the Fa, I gradually eliminated many bad thoughts and attachments.
My parents witnessed the changes in me, and they were thankful to Dafa and its Master. My mother sewed a cushioned meditation mat for me that I’m still using today. Seeing that I was alright, friends and co-workers started to introduce me to girls of similar ages for a possible relationship. But after meeting and knowing several girls, I found that because they were ordinary people, we no longer had common interests.
An older lady at my exercise site introduced me to a young girl who was also a Dafa practitioner in the spring of 1998. We got married after half a year. Our son was born in May 2000.
I was once severely depressed, on medication, and was on the verge of death. But, after I began to practice Falun Dafa, I became a normal and healthy person with a perfect family.
Depression Relapsed Twice After Persecution
Just as I was improving, the persecution began. Due to his jealousy of Master Li Hongzhi (Dafa's founder), the then-dictator Jiang Zemin launched a persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China on July 20, 1999, despite the opposition from the other six members of China’s Politburo.
Under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), all television and radio stations, as well as newspapers and other forms of media published articles smearing Falun Dafa. Many practitioners were arrested and their homes ransacked. As someone who greatly benefited from practicing Dafa, I knew that I should tell people the truth about Dafa, that Falun Dafa was nothing like what was published by the media and that all were lies by the CCP.
We went to Tiananmen Square to appeal for justice for Falun Dafa. I was taken back from Beijing by the local police and detained for a month in a detention center. After returning home, fellow practitioners and I continued to distribute fliers to tell people about the persecution. I was arrested again in the fall of 2000, and my home was ransacked. I was sentenced to three years in a forced labor camp.
Given my attachment to fear and the pressure, I gave up cultivation. I was under high stress mentally and physically, and I lapsed into depression once I lost my belief. I was diagnosed with depression and released on medical parole in July 2001.
For the next three years, I was not truly able to return to cultivation. But, our compassionate Master did not give up on me and found many ways for me to get back. A local fellow practitioner often shared with me and tried to get me to study the Fa. After another two years, I was finally awakened by Master’s Fa and began to cultivate in spring 2005.
I was then again arrested and my home was ransacked because I quit the CCP and published it on the Internet. In the detention center, I did not cooperate with the guards and insisted on doing the exercises, sent forth righteous thoughts, and clarified the facts to other prisoners. I told the guards to unconditionally release me. Local fellow practitioners had provided me with huge support, as the next morning there were lots of messages about me on all streets around the police station. There were a lot of slogans asking for my release.
After returning home, the new bureau director and the disciplinary secretary would not allow me to return to work. So I lost my job and the stable income for the next two years, and I went again into depression. But, I insisted on studying the Fa and doing the exercises and was able to get through that difficult time.
Believing In Master and the Fa
When I was studying the Fa, doing the exercises, and awakening sentient beings as usual, the symptoms of depression again appeared in the spring of 2018. I immediately resisted it and tried to deny it. I knew that all of the symptoms were not real because I had been cultivating for many years. For a period of time, I could not work, and I could not do the exercises. But, I still insisted on studying the Fa every day, and I frequently shared with fellow practitioners.
The painful symptoms were almost the same as in my earlier years. The only difference was that my sleep was not affected. It continued to worsen over the next six months and my mind started to have frequent thoughts of committing suicide, which I firmly resisted. I also sent strong righteous thoughts to eliminate the substances telling me to commit suicide.
I stayed home to fight the evil substances. I continued to study the Fa and tried to find the root of these symptoms, which had troubled me for so many years. As my understandings about it changed many times, my targets when sending forth righteous thoughts had also changed many times. It also affected my eating.
I was often absentminded, and not even able to read the Fa anymore. So I lay in bed and listened to Master’s Fa recordings, as I was too weak to get up. I no longer looked at the clock, as time had lost its significance for me. Every day it just felt like outside got bright and then dark. I was very lonely. But even though I was never able to see anything or feel anything from other dimensions, even at that most difficult time, I firmly believed that Master was next to me and compassionately looking after me and caring for me.
The evil substance realized that it could not make me stop cultivating, thus it worsened my situation. I knew that a true practitioner hardly ever gets sick. However, mental illnesses were in fact not real illnesses, and they were only because one’s main consciousness was too weak. But, I went to hospitals, was diagnosed with severe depression, and began to take medication. The attachment made me think that everything was over, and I was no longer worthy of cultivation. I cried very hard and I stopped studying the Fa and was extremely disappointed in myself.
Three days later, my wife got so worried about me that she started to cry. She said, “Taking medication doesn’t mean that you cannot cultivate anymore. It only means that you didn’t do well in this one tribulation. For these many years, other than the times in the labor camp, I did not see you miss a single day of studying the Fa.”
I realized that indeed, making me stop studying the Fa was the goal of the evil substance. It just wanted me to stop cultivating, so it could destroy me! That was also a form of persecution, and it was no different from the CCP persecuting Dafa practitioners and trying to force them to quit cultivation. I told myself, “I must negate it and eliminate it! I cannot give up cultivation.”
I continued to listen to Master’s Fa recordings to study the Fa and tried to hold onto my righteous thoughts and beliefs. I thought, “Doesn’t the evil substance want to destroy me? I won’t be destroyed. I will continue to cultivate, and you will be destroyed.”
When I was sleeping one night I felt a “boom” in my head, as if my head had exploded, and then I saw images. I saw that my mind rose up from the restrictions of modern science and that the demons tried but could not destroy me. In the end, the demons threw poisonous needles toward me. I had a thought of “you cannot touch me” and immediately the “divine powers of the Buddha Fa” appeared, and I experienced the power of it. Those poisonous needles all disappeared when they came near me, and the demons were all destroyed. I then woke up exactly at 4 a.m., which was the time I used to wake up to do Dafa exercises. I got up and did all the five exercises.
I knew that with a strong belief in Master and Dafa I had finally broken through this tribulation. I was again able to stop all the medications, and truly cultivate.