While I believe mindfulness meditation has been the keystone to my recovery, I still think of it as an adjunct therapy. I couldn’t manage mental illness as well as I do now if I did not meditate. But I acknowledge that the medication my doctor prescribes and the therapy visits I have with him are crucial as well. Only through the consistent application of all three therapies am I well.
Mindfulness meditation is currently all the rage, and it works. But I am wary of its proponents who claim it can treat (or even cure) mental illness by itself. Meditation is a powerful tool when used to decrease stress and increase well-being. But if we are to maintain that mental illnesses are biochemical malfunctions of the brain and nervous system, then we must allow room in treatment for medicine. Therapy also has a long history of positively impacting the lives of those challenged by psychiatric illness. Meditation, when added to more traditional and well-tested methods of treatment, can help a patient successfully manage a challenging life. I, and so many others like me, am proof of that.