Radical acceptance of my mental illness

by Anna Wieder

This morning I laid on the floor. And cried. And prayed. Which for me is just talking to God.

I didn’t feel like I had the strength to go on. I told God I hurt. I didn’t have the words for how much I hurt. I was glad He knew anyway. I felt shame and defeat. And I felt so tired.

“I hurt and I’m fighting.”

And then I realized, there is a lot of fighting in me, too. 

Maybe this is where I am at this moment – in the midst of fighting my story. Maybe I have a mental illness. I have to say the maybe to feel like I can breathe. Even though no one else would use maybe. Maybe I won’t get over my mental illness. Maybe that was never the expectation of anyone–except me.

Denial has always been my coping strategy

It has been a strength and it has been a hinderance. 

And I have always believed that if I was good enough or strong enough or tried harder, I would come to the point of complete healing. I would master my mind, control all of my thoughts, wrap it all up and put into storage all of the bad things, the hard things. Clear sailing ahead.

Perhaps my story is what I have been fighting.

Maybe this has caused part of my suffering. Fighting reality. Maybe there isn’t complete healing to be had. At least not today or tomorrow.  Maybe I am fighting my reality so hard that I can barely breathe most days.  Maybe I’m fighting to control everything and it is crushing me.  Maybe the trauma I have been through is part of me. I can’t remove it neatly, no matter how hard I try. It isn’t who I am, but it is part of my story. And I am suffering, fighting this reality.

I have pain. Pain that shows up in day-to-day things. Unexpectedly. I am not grieving the loss of someone else, I grieve for myself. My loss. Maybe my goal of a good life – my best life – requires moving through my pain. Not avoiding it, but going through and past it, and when it comes back, regrouping and going on again.

Stop fighting it, stop trying to make the miracle healing happen – just stop. STOP. PAUSE. And radically accept that this is my story, and I want to go on. 

Because fighting the reality of my story is killing me 

So? Choose to live my life fully. Choose the whole story. CHOOSE. TO. LIVE. When it sucks.  Choose LIFE again. Not this ineffective white knuckling to get through.  Not pretending and avoiding and panicking.  Not ruminating, but not denying either. I hurt. It hurts. It will hurt in the future. I will struggle. But I can continue to overcome. 

Because I don’t want a half-life. Not with all of this hard work. I want a whole, beautiful one.

14 thoughts on “Radical acceptance of my mental illness”

  1. I wrote an Instagram post this morning that speaks to your fighting. When I’ve encountered terrible times, I’ve chosen fight rather than flight.
    Today, I’m focusing on accepting and blessing my circumstances. It’s actually a powerful way to transform them.

    I’m pasting my Instagram comments from a couple of hours ago into this reply in hopes that they will speak to you in some kind of good way.
    Before we can change anything in our lives, it’s important to realize that this is the way that it was meant to be at this moment. Our financial situation, our relationships, the delay of our dreams or goals.

    Accept where they are and bless them. What happens when we do this? Well, first we relax. By relaxing and looking at things clearly we can better figure out our next step.

    When I look around, I accept that my kitchen is tidy but the floor needs cleaning. I notice that I’m a good 20 pounds over my norm. My renters damaged my rental house and left without paying January’s rent.

    Sigh, I accept these realities. Natalie Goldberg believes that “Our task is to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist.” So glance around, accept what is happening in your life.

    Let go of the struggle and know that as you do, transformation will start. You’re ready to move on. So, I’m going to relax and think of my next steps for today, just for today. The universe has this after all!

    What do you need to accept today? What needs a holy yes?

    1. Thank you, Diane. You are right. When relax and accept our reality, we can continue building and living our best lives.

    2. Hello Anna,
      Your story hits home for myself and for my daughter. I have suffered most of my life from depression and anxiety related to PTSD from early trauma. I came to recognize it years ago sought therapy treatment and treatment. I still have issues often have to fight every day to still function ”normally”.
      I now am knewly grieving my young daughters death. My daughter recently passed of accidental overdose. Since this blog is not about grief, I will not go into details of that. It is a horrible separate issue for which I am struggling to deal with. My point in writing back to you and to the others that read this; is to accept the reality of mental health issues/disorders. My daughter too suffered from depression/anxiety and I truly believe something deeper. She refused to seek professional help as an adult; she admittedly was afraid to be given a diagnosis. Once she followed through for several sessions and was given a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder; but this scared her so badly she refused to go back to pursue learning about it or how to cope and live with it. She instead chose drugs and alcohol to self medicate. I begged her to even go to NA or AA. She moved two hours away to Richmond two years ago… I went down and visited her several times to assist her to find help, by her request.
      She would call depressed and we would have the same discussion over and over. I begged her over and over. I know fear and shame were part of what held her back.
      I do believe if she had accepted and fought back in other ways; she might still be here. I just want to encourage others to fight the good fight. You are still beautiful and worth it.

      1. Jayne,

        My heart aches for you and my eyes filled with tears as I read this. I am so sorry that you have struggled with depression and anxiety and PTSD. I understand what it is like to fight every day to be “normal.” I am also incredibly sorry that your daughter struggled with metal illness and lost her life to a drug overdose. Thank you for sharing your story here. Thank you for encouraging me and others to accept our mental illnesses and to fight back. Even in your pain, you are strong enough to share and encourage others to fight the good fight. You are a warrior. Continue to be brave and fight, Jayne.

  2. You are so much stronger than you realize. I’m so proud of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. You are not alone. This is a new you…a you who is honest with yourself and is becoming someone growing stronger every single day. I have no doubt that this journey will be your greatest challenge to date, but I have a feeling it will also be your greatest victory. May God fill you with such love, hope, and strength that you walk with your head higher, your heart fuller, and a desire for the future as you’ve never experienced. Bless you for being such a light for so many who feel the darkness…a darkness you’ve known for many years…and for giving real hope–maybe for the first time–to those who see themselves in your words. I think you are a true hero!

    1. Thank you for the words of encouragement, Donna. I am touched and hope my story does encourage others to fight and hold on, too. That is why I share, so others do not feel alone.

  3. Love this so much. Beautifully put, and the reality for many of us. Keep on keepin on, and keep sharing both your strength and your pain.

  4. Anna, such courage. It’s a hard thing to say outloud, isn’t it?
    But you will go on and you will have a whole, beautiful life. You’re just getting started.

  5. Anna,
    Your words spoke to me. There may be no healing. We must deal with what we have. Acceptance is so hard. Thank you for writing this and sharing. It helps ease the guilt of feeling like it’s our fault for not trying hard enough. Keep going one breath at a time! We CAN live with it. Hugs to you!

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