Accepting the Negative Feelings

My second session of meditation was good. It incorportated some yoga and I left feeling refreshed, like the last time.

My third meditation session however was more of a doozy. I don’t know what it was. I had had a fairly good week. I was sick at the beginning of it, but by Saturday I was able to celebrate a friend’s birthday and had loads of fun. Yet when I sat down to center myself and began to focus on my breathing, my brain would not shut up. My anxiety levels would not dip. In fact, I felt more and more irritated and upset with myself.

It was the usual montage of self doubt and self hate: why can’t I be thinner? why can’t I have / why don’t I want a boyfriend?? why can’t I have more friends??? why can’t I do something more productive after work, instead I just sit around and watch crap tv?!!!

I eventually got into a routine of breathing. in and out. in and – shut up brain – out. in and out. i have many friends and am just fine. in – stop feeling bad, let go of the emotions – and – let go of the emotions – out. LET GO OF THE EMOTIONS. in and out. in and out.

I did not have fun. my body was relaxed but my emotional landscape was a battle field. I drove home crying.

Why did I still harbor so much anger towards myself? Why was I judging myself so harshly? Why couldn’t I just let things go?

I immediately went for a walk around the block. In my yoga pants and combat boots. Thanks to my years of eating disorder recovery work, I knew that sitting in my home would be the worst possible way of dealing with these foul thoughts and negative feelings (yay for coping skills!) so I didn’t even go in the house, I just started walking.

It was on this walk that it hit me. I was mad at myself for not liking who I am. I was mad at myself for being unable to control the negative thoughts. I was mad for not being everything I wanted to be. And I was mad for not being able to let go of the anger. No wonder my head was cram full of negativity! Not only was a doubting myself, but I was also angry at myself for feeling that doubt! I was just piling on recrimination over more recrimination.

Besides, I told myself as a marched past picturesque homes and beautiful gardens, what’s so wrong with being confused, and insecure? I’m allowed to be confused and insecure.

I stopped. It felt like I had been holding my breath and had just let it out. I’m allowed to be confused and insecure. I’m allowed to be confused and insecure. I’m allowed.

Thinking it even now makes me positively giddy. I have spent so much time recovering from my eating disorder and figuring out that I have an anxiety disorder, which causes mild depression, that I forgot how to let myself feel bad.

During the recovery and self discovery process I have learned to talk back to the negative thoughts in my head. To find the positivity that has been buried in me for so long. To learn to breathe and be more zen and accepting of who I am. It turns out I forgot to learn how to accept that sometimes we will feel negative things. Sometimes we will feel bad. And we don’t always have to fix it right away. Without an eating disorder, every negative feeling will not become life threatening. I AM ALLOWED TO BE CONFUSED AND INSECURE. I am allowed to be scared.

I started to repeat that over and over with each step. I started to expand the concept: I am allowed to not like what I weigh. I am allowed to do something about it and eat less. I am allowed to do nothing about it and eat the same. I am allowed to eat more.  I am allowed to not want a boyfriend even though that means I might end up alone.  I am allowed to go on dating sites and find myself a man. I am allowed to do nothing about this and let things happen as they will. I am allowed to end up alone in life. I am allowed to be scared about that. I am allowed not to be scared. I am allowed to be angry that my grandmother died. I am allowed to fell numb. I am allowed to mourn her loss. I am allowed to bottle up the grief. I am allowed to be obnoxious. I am allowed to be kind. I am allowed to have no friends. I am allowed to have billions of friends. I am allowed. I am allowed. I am allowed.

Permission. To feel everything. Permission to do something about those feelings. Permission to do nothing about those feelings.

It was madly liberating. I’m still trying to figure out exactly why.

Now when my anxiety ramps up, I close my eyes and breathe. In, “I am allowed to feel anxious.” Out, “I am allowed to not feel anxious.” In, “I am allowed to try to deal with my anxiety.” Out “I am allowed to do nothing about it.” In, “I am allowed to hate myself.” Out “I am allowed to love myself.”

Today, do yourself a favor. Give yourself permission.

My First Meditation Session

Let me start in the middle, with the eating disorder, and work my way out.

I had an eating disorder. I didn’t know where it came from, I was just suddenly in the middle of it. As I went to therapy and got better I began to discover some of the underlying causes: a perfectionist personality, low self esteem, bullying in my past, etc. What I’ve recently discovered is that some of my childhood awkwardness, which led to the low self esteem and bullying, was based from my anxiety disorder. I was always anxious and so so nervous. I just didn’t realize what it was until recently.

I live on a higher level of anxiety at all times. I always feel as if I have to be prepared to flee at all times. To me, the world feels dangerous; living feels terrifying. I don’t always “think” it’s dangerous, although it often can be, but it “feels” that way constantly.

I had my first panic attack in college. I got a prescription for xanax and continued on my way. More recently though I’ve survived an entire weekend of being a hairs breathe from a panic attack. I barely slept, I became slightly manic, and by the third day the depression was deepening. The xanax only did so much. I just had to wait it out.

In light of this newest increase in the anxiety disorder I finally chose to learn meditation. My mind never wants to stop so I decided taking a class might not be a bad idea. A class would be somewhere I had to be at, where I would be forced to take the time to properly meditate.

Monday was my first meditation series. It was a little strange at first. The teachers are very much into polarity and chakras and it all felt a little “off.” I’m not against these concepts and beliefs, they’re just not mine and don’t work for me. However, then we got into the whole meditation piece. We were taught two different ways of breathing: deep inhaling and then what’s called “ocean breathing.” (Ocean breathing feels awesome!). Once we’d learned the breathing technique we laid back, closed our eyes, and focused on our breathing. It was a nice break, and there were brief moments where I thought of nothing but my breath.

In and out. In and out. In and out.

For about and hour we just lay and focused on breathing. By the end, I was getting antsy. To finish the session we rolled into the fetal position and then sat up. All this was done slowly as our bodies came back into reality. We then bowed, thanking ourselves and our bodies for allowing us to do this. It was a nice to feel gratitude towards my corporeal being.

At the time, it felt like a nice experience. Relaxing to be certain, but not anything too special.

It wasn’t until later, when I was trying on a dress that I noticed a change. The dress I was trying on was skin tight, something I generally would avoid because I start to critique what I see in the mirror. This time though, I liked what I saw. I thought I looked great! Genuinely was happy! I had found a little peace.

The peace has since vanished. I can’t wait until next week’s session. Hopefully, with time, I will feel an overall shift in my daily life.