My name is Adie Rubin. I have suffered my whole adult life with debilitating depression. The most recent descent into hell was a year-and-a-half ago. It was so severe that I was bedridden from fear and anxiety. I could no longer eat. I no longer wanted to live.
During this period of time, my husband Dave was my primary caregiver. He shopped, cleaned, prepared my meals, read to me, took me for walks, accompanied me to doctor appointments, and made sure my meds were in order. He chanted deeply for my health and well-being. As he said, our Gohonzon (buddhist scroll) room became a battlefield, and every day he had to pick up his sword so he could do battle with his own demons first— and then mine.
My leaders and co-members visited with me, read to me from the World Tribune and Living Buddhism, walked with me and, most importantly, recited buddhist prayers and chanted with me.
Each day Dave and I read the quote:
“As practice progresses and understanding grows, the three obstacles and four devils emerge in confusing form, vying with one another to interfere. One should be neither influenced nor frightened by them.”
My meds were simply not working any more, and my condition was worsening. We were encouraged by several doctors to consider electroconvulsive therapy. After lots of research and chanting, I started ECT.
The treatments produced no clear relief, and I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Isabel knew I was struggling, and yet asked me if I would consider becoming a group chief. She was throwing me a lifesaver, hoping I would reach out and grab on, all the while never pressuring me. I accepted, and did my best to support the members while challenging my debilitating suffering.
And that suffering continued, mostly because the drugs had so many severe side-effects. Dave and I chanted with a never-give-up spirit, and consulted with another psychiatric doctor who happened to be a friend of ours, Dr. Miguel Rivera. That very first session, after learning everything he could about me, he formed a plan for me that had one simple goal: To restore my life and my happiness.
He carefully took me off my strongest drugs, and provided another regimen with far fewer drugs in very small doses, and many behavioral tools. But it was his fierce encouragements that set me on the track to victory. These included:
• I needed to take ownership of my life and my circumstances— only then could I change it.
• Dave couldn’t fix me, nor could my doctor. I needed to fix me.
• I needed to find a mission larger than my life.
• He told me the past didn’t matter! It starts with today!
• And lastly, he told me I needed to “pick up my sword!” – The psychiatrist actually prescribed lots of powerful chanting as part of my regimen! That’s what I did everyday, battling my internal demons with the sword of faith and Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo (our buddhist chant).
My transformation has been remarkable. It’s as though a light has just gone on, as though a fever has broken. Dave says this was more than just getting the old Adie back. It’s as though a brand new human being has emerged. Now he has to figure out how to get along with me!!
I now watch my thoughts carefully, and, I’m careful about what I watch on TV. I’ve reconnected with friends I haven’t seen in years. The negativity in my mind has been replaced with gratitude and appreciation. I look forward to waking up each day. I have never been on such solid footing nor have I ever felt this kind of joy. And, I know that because life has more challenges in store, I must make causes each and every day to keep moving forward.
I had always thought that it was all about my brain chemistry. But now I understand that it was all about my human revolution. In my heart, I was never good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, lovable enough. I had to learn to believe— in my heart— that I AM ENOUGH!
I now know that BECAUSE of this illness, my chanting is clearer and stronger. BECAUSE of this illness, I now understand why I practice and how to practice for victory. BECAUSE of this illness, I now know the value of my life.
I always bemoaned the fact that I didn’t have a mission in life. Well, I have one now: to reach out to others who suffer from this debilitating illness and let them know there is hope beyond the darkness.
I’d like to finish with a passage from Sensei:
“Even places that have been shrouded in darkness for billions of years can be illuminated. Even a stone from the bottom of a river can be used to produce fire. Our present sufferings, no matter how dark have certainly not continued for billions of years— nor will they linger forever. The sun will definitely rise. In fact, its ascent has already begun.”