Acceptance

acceptanceIn one of my recent posts, a fantastic poet who reads my blog said:

I think sometimes, looking back at my own life, it is a resistance to accept something deeper or especially, depression itself. When I fully accepted depression, treatment, and sometimes the insanity of it… things began to lift from me in new ways. But that is my personal experience with it at times.

This was interesting, but perplexing. After I learned as much as I could about Bipolar Disorder, it seemed somewhat easy to accept. It was a diagnosis that made sense, it explained so much about my past behaviors and diminished my self-hatred and shame for most of those actions. Accepting depression, however, seems like failure. In my mind (this was in my response to her comment), if I accept that I am depressed then I stop fighting and give up (which equals suicide). But then she put it into perspective:

Thing about depression is, it can suck us into believing that the symptoms and situations within clinical depression is a part of ourselves somehow rather than what we are struggling with. And others will do that too, relate our symptoms to who we are or our ‘attitude’. It is just not true. So in some ways, it is accepting what it can do, what it does to our emotions or thinking sometimes. But accepting ourselves in the depression is a wonderful release of its hold.

In your post you said, that it was not fun for you or your family so you have to re-read positive posts. It just reminded me of how much I had put into trying to ‘change’ it because it was uncomfortable and discouraging and sometimes hard to feel accepted by others in it. Then I accepted it, and myself in it, and the help… what a difference it made for me.

This is a very hopeful way of thinking, but for some reason it is still perplexing to me. It’s so difficult to get past the thinking of accepting (in this case) = defeat. Honestly, I’m reading her words (maybe half a dozen times), but they’re not being absorbed in to my brain.

So I’m asking my readers who may have missed this insightful comment, what do you think of this idea of acceptance as release?

13 thoughts on “Acceptance

  1. Accepting doesn’t mean giving in. In another context, I accepted my chronic physical pain. Acceptance meant I owned my pain, it didn’t own me.
    I’m still trying to accept my mental/emotional pain. In a twisted, disturbing way, it’s my comfort zone. Even though it is an extremely uncomfortable and destructive place to be.
    I recognize the hope and despair image.
    Our paths are crossing again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hah, I’m really going backwards now! I read your other comment first. I like your way of explaining your acceptance, I find I’m learning quite a bit from my readers.

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  2. Do you find yourself wearing a mask when you’re having a depressive episode? Exerting extra energy to pretend you’re just like other people, when in reality, you’re lost in the darkness? Do you downplay your symptoms to your friends and family? Do you hide that part of yourself? That dark part you think is unattractive and believe no one wants to see?

    Acceptance is a little like coming out of the closet. It’s about no longer hiding the real you and the freedom you feel from not having to wear that heavy mask. The freedom you feel in being completely honest with yourself and everyone around you.

    No, depression isn’t pretty, but there should be no shame in feeling and showing it. Like there should be no embarrassment for those who cry, even in public. If we can laugh in public, we should be able to cry in public. Sorry, I digress…

    Depression is a part of bipolar disorder, so if you can accept one part of the diagnosis, maybe you can think about accepting all of it.

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  3. Totally know where you’re coming from, but I do try to accept my illness(es), sometimes I think I’ve managed it and other times I am fighting them so hard I know I haven’t. It’s hard, really hard, but I do think that it’s true that, if you can accept, you will feel some relief/release.

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  4. I think your correspondents are on to something here. I was thinking of the Buddhist ‘vipasana’ – which really means ‘seeing things as they are’. We spend a whole lot of energy convincing ourselves that things are other than what they are. Perhaps today being optimistic is difficult and you have little motivation. Being angry with yourself because you somehow think that it ‘ought’ to be otherwise is just another way of beating yourself up. That’s not to say you are ‘giving up’, in fact it might return a little energy to you which you could use to do something which will help restore some of that motivation. Just a suggestion 🙂

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  5. Acceptance is a victory. While it is true that we can’t ‘think’ our way to complete wellness it is also true that once we accept the illness we can use the healthy parts of our minds to build skills that help to counteract the effects of the illness. When I refused to accept the DID I was at the mercy of it. It’s not what I consider an asset….but it isn’t a complete liability either.

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  6. I agree. Acceptance is far from defeat. I think it’s quite the opposite. Depression wants to hold you in its arms, make you forget it is temporary, it is an illness, like a drug-resistant virus. When you accept it, you are telling depression “I will still be here when you are gone”. And each time it creeps into your life, you keep telling it that. I know, easier said than done, I know very well.

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