Lately, I have spent a lot of time coming to a place of radical acceptance. Over the course of a week, I went from wide awake worry, to restful relief. In a sleepless haze, I battled anxiety and raw emotions, and it seemed nearly impossible to distract my mind from the "What If?" Parade. Each time I would put my head on the pillow, promising not to go around and around, wondering when the emotional whirlwind would stop; I would get swept up, and taken for a dizzying spin that left me overtired, underfed, and no where closer to peace within myself. I started to fear where this emotional path would lead...having to go back on medication, back to ECT, back to the hospital. It seemed all too familiar, and incredibly unwanted.
In an effort to calm my mind, I laid down and led myself through a meditation. I let myself become aware of everything I was feeling, emotionally and physically, and rather than try to change it, I just let it be. When thoughts started to flood my brain, I imagined a giant dry erase board, where I wrote down each thought as it came, and then envisioned quickly erasing it. It was enough to clear my mind, and allowed me two, very needed, hours of sleep. When I woke up, and the thoughts were still looming, I led myself through another meditation, this time standing by a bonfire, and tossing into it, all the unnecessary, unwanted, unhelpful thoughts that were plaguing me. Each time I threw in an emotion or discomfort, I watched as it burned and went up in smoke, high into the air. When I had finished, my mind felt clear, and I realized how days of "not wanting to feel this way," had only perpetuated the anxiety. I reminded myself how hard I have worked the past few years to regain control of my life, and how proud I am of the progress I have made. I looked at the things I did have control of, and then I made a decision. I would let go of all of the "what ifs," and be present with "what is."
"What is," is that I know what triggered my emotional reaction, and despite feeling the gravity of the emotions that followed, I am still the same person. I realized I can experience all these feelings, without letting them consume, and control me. I can let go of thoughts and worries that aren't helping me move forward, and refocus on how to keep myself healthy, happy, and motivated to live my best life. I don't have the ability change what has happened, and I have no way of predicting the future. All I can do, is identify what is, live in each moment mindfully, and continue building a life worth living. When I granted myself permission to achieve a moment of peace, was the moment I stopped fighting reality, and instead, accepted it.