Having experienced true anxiety for the first time in my life, I finally understood that anxiety is a very strong emotion, I understand that now. It took over me and I had no control over it. And for the first time I can honestly say “to all those of you that feel anxious: I feel you and I understand what you are going through.”
Being a Naturotherapist by profession helped a lot, as years of advising patients on how to deal with it, put additional pressure on me to perform and find my balance at the earliest, as I, of all people could not possibly be suffering like this. I was supposed to know it all!
Life presented itself in a way, where I feared losing what I loved and wanted most. And BAM! I experienced True Anxiety. Just in a moment, from no where, I felt like my heart would soon start beating in my palms, I was restless, I didn’t know if I was coming or going, I felt no energy in my body, de motivated, loss of appetite, heartache, stress, depression, a sinking feeling, hollow and my head was filled with questions like:
Why me? What have I done to deserve this? What do I do? Please take this feeling away? How can I resolve this? How can I make everything normal again? Where is the old me who was happy? And many more, 16 days of anxiety can hold a lot of questions!
Frustrated I decided to switch off, as I couldn’t take it no more. Every day that counted up to the 16th day felt like things were only getting worse and more confusing.. having read a lot on spirituality and philosophy, I couldn’t put a single theory to use. I could not implement anything with the storm inside me.
On the 17th day I packed myself to Goa. Just the act of having to pack, take a flight, book a cab, organize my stay gave me a sense of temporary calm for the first time in 16 days.
With just a little relief, I realized I needed to do things I loved just so I could be sane if not happy. Happiness was no where in sight. The relief periods were short but something was better than nothing. Using these temporary relief periods I tried to re open Pandora’s box, but it was a catch 22 situation, every time I pulled out an issue or tried to resolve it, I was back in the trap of confusion, first taking responsibility, then blaming when nothing else seemed right and bringing back on all that anxiety out in the open. Damn it! I was frustrated! The burden of living with stress, anxiety or depression is pretty much the same thing, they are all intertwined and I can personally tell you, I felt them all. I felt anxious at being helpless, depressed when I thought of my loss and stressed about what is to come, pain and guilt for not having acted earlier or not having said what I wanted to etc…
Pulling through somehow, on the 21st day I crawled to the beach early and lay there watching the ocean for hours with all the same thoughts re-running in my head for the millionth time and no answer at all.
Suddenly just out of the blue, a thought appeared in my head: it had no relation to anything, but I still played along.
What if a tsunami were to happen right now?
A Tear rolled down my cheek, and just in that moment I knew the magnitude of the question that had appeared.
I wish I could explain how that moment of clarity felt, but id rather let you experience it, cause if there is anything I have learnt, it’s that: only experience is your true teacher.
If that wave came, there was absolutely nothing I would be able to do.
I felt a sense of relief . Just the clarity of knowing one thing right, something as simple as “there is nothing I can do right now if a wave pulls me in.” For the next 6 hours I lay there repeating this over and over again in my head. If a wave were to pull me in, then that’s my reality, I only have two choices, I can either accept it or fight it. And since I can’t fight it, I would have no choice but to accept it.
I started vaguely connecting the dots. I had not accepted anything for the last 21 days. Even though this tsunami thought had no relation to any of my issues, just accepting something without confusion made me feel calm.
If that wave were to take me, that would have been my reality.
I realized in that moment, that everything that is in our reality, in the current moment is true and unstoppable, making it destiny.
That’s called Destiny. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. If it’s there, it’s there. It can change in the next moment, but then that becomes your destiny. Reality or destiny is what is happening to you NOW. and it changes moment to moment. It is that short-lived.
The fact that you are reading this article right now, is because it’s in your destiny to do so, you have two options: you can either read it or not, either way, at this moment it’s still real, no matter what your next choice is. You could choose to close it right now if it makes no sense, and so now you don’t see it, which is also now your new reality. How ever the fact that it was ever open before you closed it, both realities lived in their moments. Nothing you do, can take away from that.
My most logical next question was: If its destiny and it’s not in my control why am I so anxious?
And the answer just flowed: I thought destiny is in my control, or worse, I needed to control the person or the situation to create the prefect destiny.
Was I passing the buck again? Was I blaming destiny for all my anxieties and not taking responsibility?
But as I brought each fear and anxiety out to question, I soon realized it actually was all destiny that I was fighting, it was my reality, those feelings of sadness were real, I couldn’t deny their existence even it were in my head and not a tangible thing. It was as real to me as a table or a chair.
If I accepted that I’m anxious I accepted that as my reality. That’s it. That’s where it ended. I couldn’t be confused anymore even if I wanted to. I couldn’t fight it. I couldn’t justify it, I couldn’t argue with it. It was the truth. I was feeling anxious. I couldn’t deny it any more. The minute I accepted it, I strangely felt ok. Not ecstatic but ok, and right now anything was better than anxiety.
Your current reality is your destiny. The only option you have is to accept it or fight it. When I say fight I mean deny, justify, blame, guilt and all such emotions which basically come down to not accepting your reality that has already presented itself. It’s there. Its real and you still don’t want to accept it.
Eg: if a wife is being beaten up by her husband, she does not need to accept the beating, she needs to accept that he is an abuser. Most women that stick to their husbands despite of being beaten, will convince you on how he is actually not always this angry, it’s just that this happened and that happened. That’s not accepting. Because if you accept that he is a beater, you stop expecting him to change and you realize this is what it is, I can’t change it. It is this acceptance alone that is required, nothing more.
You need to do NO more. You cannot do anymore even if you wish too. You cannot stop him from beating you, you cannot make yourself batter proof, you just need to accept that he is like this and that acceptance, then opens the next door, as your choice will be based on acceptance.
It is only acceptance that makes true sense. It seems like it’s too scary to accept because then you would be accepting anxiety which is worse cause then, you would really be anxious.
But it didn’t work that way, it worked differently. And I say this only out of my experience.
Think of it this way: your anxiety is as real as a table, now if you want the table to disappear, you can scream shout and blame it, ask it to go away, or even walk away physically from it, but in your head you know you are walking away from the table and so there is no solace there, because you actually wanted the table to get rid of itself. It’s the same with anxiety, its real, it’s there, accept it. You can’t ask the table or the anxiety to go away, you have to let it be because it already exists. It is IN your reality and that’s the truth. No if’s and but’s.
That sinking feeling that Medical Science says is one of the symptoms of anxiety and stress, is not a symptom. It’s the anxiety itself, popping a pill may reduce the sinking feeling by chemically and artificially inducing more happy hormones to be released. But you are still not accepting it.
I carried forward this new-found truth to my personal issue of whatever was causing me the anxiety to start with, because up till now I had only accepted the anxiety, I had yet to examine what really was causing it, why was I feeling it etc.. soon I realized I was re-entering the trap feeling anxious, so I pulled back out and went back to just accepting my anxiety and accepting that I can’t seem to stay out of the trap any other way.
Soon I realized there is absolutely no process. For 2 days I had tried every combination under the sun, and only accepting my anxiety made me feel okay. I finally gave in and allowed my anxiety its own identity. I became friends with it once I accepted it. It was not as scary as I thought, it was in fact very scary those 16 days where I didn’t accept anxiety and made it my enemy.
It was now the 22nd day, strangely I found myself actually enjoying being with my friends, even though they had been with me in goa since the 17th day, I was completely disconnected internally. Just accepting my anxiety allowed me to function at a normal level with something that didn’t have to do with my anxiety to start with. This time it was not a distraction, I was hanging with them with the awareness of my anxiety’s existence. Big difference! I understood that the enjoyment came because I was not fighting my anxiety, both could co-exist. Anxiety for the first time felt like a friend too, felt real and I was acknowledging and accepting that.
It took me yet another day to experiment with other small issues and the theory fit perfectly to everything. If I accepted it, there was no fight. The minute I would question it I was back in the trap.
I soon realized the nature of the trap, and no matter what your trap is, the underlying meaning is that you are not accepting it for what it is. If you want that table to be a chair, or you want that anxiety to become happiness.
It Doesn’t work!
So I re opened Pandora’s box, as this time I felt more confident internally having accepted anxiety. When I re opened the box, I started running old stories that caused me the pain and in that moment I realized that all of that too was my reality at that point and in that moment in time.
It was because I didn’t accept it I was in pain.
That was simple! Maybe a little too simple, I thought.
So I quickly sat up and wrote down everything that had caused me anxiety, and to my surprise the entire list which carried all sorts of grouses had one thing in common. I had denied all of them their place in my destiny/reality. I had never accepted them.
I couldn’t digest, that all I had to do was accept it. I couldn’t believe that there was no thinking involved, no logic, no reason.. WTF! All these years I thought I had been planning my whole life, and making all the right choices.. but honestly I was just a fool.
The truth is that all the reasons that caused me anxiety were true. As true as the anxiety itself, and so if I had to accept the anxiety I had to accept the catalyst that brought it. So I gathered my courage and said the words aloud “I accept”… and when I did, there was absolutely nothing more to say. For the first time I experienced true silence, and wowowowow what a feeling that is.. I couldn’t believe I was experiencing all this at once.
Having put that to rest, now I had reached the 23rd day and I felt like I was ready to take the world on. I had still not practiced my new theory enough but it was so short and simple I just had to start applying it.
I found myself chanting I accept, I accept, I accept all day long.. and as the day progressed my realities kept changing and it was fun to actually be the observer for once accepting my reality as it was unfolding, I felt like I had nothing to do with it, I was just there.
Soon I found myself in a discussion among friends about yoga, and being the hardcore yoga believer that I am, I saw my self pushing my thoughts down everyone’s throats…hmmmm… feeling a tad bit aggressive are we? I asked myself.
I took a step back and I saw the aggression, it was real, and so was the conversation and the different points of view. I actually said OK.. I Accept… suddenly I wasn’t anxious about being aggressive, I accepted that I was pushy, and kept quiet. I also then understood that acceptance goes beyond just you, it extends to everything in your reality at that point, I had to not only accept that I was pushy, but I also had to accept that what others believed about yoga was their reality and if I couldn’t change mine, changing theirs was futile. Having accepted their point of view as truth the chapter was closed. Yes I had my own view points which I thought were true, but I also accepted that what others believe, is their reality and its as true as mine, no more no less.. WOW.. it was working!
Day 24 – I thought I had mastered it and feeling all in control I started my day, only to find out that I had been betrayed by a friend who I considered very near and dear to me for years.. I was shattered and angry on the inside. My immediate reaction was to give her a piece of my mind, my second reaction was to ignore it and my third reaction was to pretend to be above it and let it not affect me.. all were just forms of not accepting that I was betrayed. So I had no choice but to say “ ok.. I accept im cheated” I accept im angry and shattered.” Suddenly I felt nothing more. The chapter was closed. I accepted the hand destiny dealt to me on this one. I could have gone on for days and months and years about it, but denying anything that is real will only create more denial and that’s the real trap.
Accepting it just made it so much easier to deal with it. Because now I knew clearly what my next step was going to be. This next step would have never come to me clearly had I not accepted being cheated in the first place.
Today here and now as i type this, is where my new journey begins. A journey where I will do absolutely no intellectualizing of my reality, It is what it is, and its ok… I accept.
Everything is true, including a lie.
Thank you baby.. I couldn’t have done this without you. I love you.
Written by Sejal Vora