The therapy saga continues and I just learned that everything, every goddamned thing comes down to ACCEPTANCE. You read it here first, every damn thing in your life comes down to acceptance!! Don’t forget to thank me later for changing your life. (I take Visa, Mastercard but NOT American Express)
As I was talking to Dr. P last week, we decided to include a new addition to my therapy called ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Dr. P and I are choosing a varied approach which I think is pretty damn cool. I hate anything rigid. Mostly. Anyway, (rigid…hahaha), ACT is ridic cool because it focuses on three principles:
1. Acceptance of things as they are and being present in the moment (This one…right here. NOW!)
2. Choosing a valued direction for your life (finding out what matters most to you! Like umm…writing, or exercising or family…or collecting cats or husbands…whatever!)
3. Taking ACTION!! That’s right….action bitches. Get moving!! Make a PLAN!! (I’m talking to me, but I’m not listening cause I’m sooo lazy. I’ll get there though cause I have some threats handy that I know work well on me and there are some things I WANT out of life!)
The amazing thing about ACT is that it is based upon scientific research that says that your normal response to any psychological pain (running away, avoiding, trying to “fix” it with numerous quick or long fixes or fads) doesn’t work AT ALL. In fact the struggle we create trying to get out of our straight jacket of psychological pain (including anxiety, depression, etc) is what makes everything WORSE!! It’s like quick sand, the more you struggle, the more doomed to a nasty death of sucking sand into your lungs you will be subjected to or in my case, the more doomed I am to forever drown in the snail, leech and octopi infested waters of my anxiety. And as with quick sand, the sooner you accept it and stop struggling, the better your chances will be to ESCAPE. For me this is like…amazing. All I need to do, in so many aspects of my life is to STOP STRUGGLING and ACCEPT!! I just have to let those leeches onto my skin, let the snails slime all over me and the octopi…well…yeah.
In fact, as Dr. Phil and I talked, everything, all of my psycho babble, every single supposed “problem” could be solved with ACCEPTANCE. Every damn thing that has ever bothered me, if I just stop struggling and accept it and realize either that it doesn’t effect my life (like worrying about keeping up with the Jones’, cause how can their life possibly effect yours??), or that worrying about it won’t help (worrying is just a mental exercise that wastes energy! It will change nothing) or that I can’t change it (some things in life, you just have absolutely no control over), or that I’ll just simply be SO Much happier if I just accept how things are, everything will be…AWESOME. Like some mythical life, where nothing bothers you for long and you accept yourself and your circumstances, even your emotions (as you let them pass) and you are just happy. Who doesn’t want to be a happy freak all the time?? Smiling like a fiend on drugs? Happy drugs?!? High on life. HAA.
It’s the same thing with my job life. I’ve been struggling for YEARS. As you can read about in many of my blog posts. I’ve been drowning in the struggle and guess what? None of it has helped me get where I want to be. The same thing with soooo many other aspects of my life. I try to control everything, to make things turn out how I want and none of it works.
I know that with anxiety, this method of acceptance doesn’t sound exactly…pleasurable. When I first heard about being “present” with my anxiety, I thought my therapist (my old one) was totally insane. Why in the world would I want to be “present” during a panic attack? What am I, a sadist? Do I want to torture myself? But with ACT and with my reading of Eckhart Tolle, it’s beginning to make sense to me. I have to accept that I suffer from anxiety. It’s the only way that I will ever overcome it. I think as humans we tend to avoid any kind of physical or emotional pain. And I know this is how I’ve been with my anxiety. I’ve avoided it so well that I’ve made it into this full scale, catastrophic problem. But if I learn to accept that anxiety is a part of life, that pain is a part of life and that SUFFERING is simply the pain and anxiety I do to myself with my own thoughts (which I am fully in control of) then I can begin to relax and accept life as it is. Whatever comes. Come what may.
Now I’m going to use this book: Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life, to help me accept things as they are, stop the struggle and live a more meaningful life.
And guess what the side-effect of all this acceptance and living a valued life is? LESS ANXIETY! If you accept it and no longer fight against it…it begins to have less of a choke hold on your life.
Of course, this is all fine and good in theory, as are many of the things you can write or talk about, the proof will of course be in the pudding. (pudding??) And I believe I will aim to find out because dammit I’m tired of struggling! I want peace and happiness. I want to accept me for me and to accept circumstances and focus on what is truly important to me.
And Dammit, I’m worth it!! (Cause I’m good enough, smart enough, pretty enough….haaaa) Thank you Stewart Smalley of SNL for that daily affirmation.