Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.
First let me say that I can imagine how worrisome this situation must be for you. You are clearly an intelligent and sensitive young man. You have had a remarkable experience that most people would not be willing to even consider let alone embrace as completely as you did and for as long as you did.
And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to think about and consider and act on. There are two ways to interpret what you experienced: spiritually or psychologically. Now here's the important part: as long as you are functioning okay and as long as you're able to have a stable social life it's your choice how you want to approach this event.
Spiritually: you had an event that parallels many altered state experiences that most wisdom traditions describe. In the West we associate it most with the Eastern Religions and Hindu and Buddhist traditions but it is found in most traditions. That you are having a slow time coming back would then be a function of your having gotten there on your own in the first place and not having an experienced guide to guide you in how to get to altered states and back from them in an orderly fashion. So you are slightly disoriented and it may take you a while longer to come completely back.
Psychologically: you are at the age where various thought disorders or obsessive compulsive disorders can occur. You may have had an episode of such a thought disorder. In psychology, we judge things based on functioning. So if you are functioning okay and this episode is slowly improving and coming to an end, then psychologically it would be a matter of monitoring the situation yourself at this point.
My recommendation: you don't have to decide between the two options. Let yourself explore both options and accept that something unusual occurred. The more you treat it as a positive, the more you will allow yourself to come back from the experience gracefully. The more you turn it into a negative, the harder it will be.
As a way of coming all the way back, I want you to get really into motivational videos and books. Let's try this self help track before going for professional help. Here's a simple YouTube search I put together for you on "motivational speakers":
Some like Tony Robbins are the classic big guys. Some are newer. Watch them all. Get inspired. Buy a book or two. Here are some possibilities, but they are only suggestions as there are so many good ones. They're mostly Americans, but so what?
The first book is the father of all these type of books. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. There are classes in these books now! It was written in the 1930s and still has something to say to us today that is very worthwhile.
I think very highly of the second book on my list, which is a real classic: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It is the book that has helped more people than probably any other.
The third book is by Anthony Robbins. He's one of those speakers who fills up huge auditoriums. For a reason. He's a terrific speaker and writer. The particular book (if you like it, try his others): Awaken the Giant Within.
So give this positive approach a chance. Yes attitude is just attitude. But attitude shapes a lot of how we feel inside.
Now, I want to give you a tool to use for when the depression is overwhelming or there is anxiety. Here are instructions on a therapeutic protocol called Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). It's really quite easy to do almost anywhere. My patients suffering from depression or anxiety, when I teach them PMR at first are amazed how simple it is and that it is a psychological protocol. It was first used in the 1920s! Since then, of course, it has been refined and many studies have been done showing its effectiveness. You will practice PMR at first when you don't wake up with an attack so that you will be familiar with it. I want you to practice the PMR at least 5-6 times before an attack or feeling acute anxiety. Why? Because when you're in the throes of anxiety, you will only remember to do something you are very familiar with it. So practicing 5-6 times is really a minimum.
I want to stress the importance of breathing as well. Part of the physiology of what is happening to you in anxiety is that your breathing is getting shallower. This reduces the oxygen in your blood to your brain. That increases the anxiety reaction, which strengthens the attack and you are in a vicious cycle! Not good. So breathing is the primary tool. I have found in my practice that learning breathing techniques can be helpful. But some of my patients are not interested in learning more than one thing at the beginning, so I have found that just reminding you to BREATHE deeply at the same time you are doing PMR is almost as good. If you are willing to take a yoga class and learn breathing techniques, that's the best. But, breathing deeply with your PMR will help.
So, we're ready for learning PMR. I want you to print my instructions below my signature and have a copy in each of the rooms of your home where you may be when you have an attack. And again, you need to practice this easy technique at least 5-6 times as soon as you can. It needs to become as natural to you as breathing. Ah, remember breathing?
- After finding a quiet place and several free minutes to practice progressive muscle relaxation, sit or lie down and make yourself comfortable.
- Begin by tensing all the muscles in your face. Make a tight grimace, close your eyes as tightly as possible, clench your teeth, even move your ears up if you can. Hold this for the count of eight as you inhale.
- Now exhale and relax completely. Let your face go completely lax, as though you were sleeping. Feel the tension seep from your facial muscles, and enjoy the feeling.
- Next, completely tense your neck and shoulders, again inhaling and counting to eight. Then exhale and relax.
- Continue down your body, repeating the procedure with the following muscle groups:
- entire right arm
- right forearm and hand (making a fist)
- right hand
- entire left arm
- left forearm and hand (again, making a fist)
- left hand
- entire right leg
- lower right leg and foot
- right foot
- entire left leg
- lower left leg and foot
- left foot
- for the shortened version, which includes just four main muscle groups:
- neck, shoulders and arms
- abdomen and chest
- buttocks, legs and feet
Quickly focusing on each group one after the other, with practice you can relax your body like ‘liquid relaxation’ poured on your head and it flowed down and completely covered you. You can use progressive muscle relaxation to quickly de-stress any time.
What You Need:
- A comfortable place.
- Some privacy.
- A few minutes.