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Sunday, 11 November 2018

Acceptance is the key.

Life is a series of disappointments with a few glimmers of hope and joy sprinkled in. When I was younger I remember being told the story of Pandora's box; the gods left her a box and told her not to open it - she did, obviously, and out flew war, poverty, sickness, evil, and all kinds of nasty things, and then right at the bottom flew out a dove of hope.

I think it's easy in a world filled with cruelty and disappointment to want to give up. I'm no stranger to this. Twice this year I have had these episodes of wanting to just give up on life; to disappear without return. It's the worst feeling in the world, wanting to just walk away from it all. My reasons are usually tied to feelings of hopelessness and despair, and that people are better off without me.

That's the thing about those of us with mental illnesses; our illness make us feel like a liability, so we think it's better if we weren't here at all, not realising that by disposing of ourselves we'd be leaving behind so many who care about us. And then there are the other things that pile up. I stopped watching the news earlier this year because it was causing me too much emotional distress. I tried to react to horrors by shrugging my shoulders and going 'oh, another terrorist attack, another day.'

But underneath all this, is the underlying question: so what? Life is shit. Life is full of disappointment. People let you down. Nasty things happen to good people. Tsunamis and earthquakes can come along at any moment and wipe out thousands of people. But we just have to accept it. That really is all we can do. It's at the core of my AA program and it's the key message of one of the best books I've ever read: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. 

Accept that life is filled with misery and suffering. That's a major part of Buddhist philosophy. Rather than whingeing about the world and feeling down, just get on with it. It sounds tough, but I think it's the only thing we can do. There is so much outside of our control. Bad things are constantly happening and people are constantly letting us down. The person you want doesn't want you back, you're trying to watch a TV show online but it keeps buffering, that guy in the line cut in front of you, there's a tube strike that made you late for work.

A couple months ago this author sent me a copy of his book Redemption to read and review and I sent him my book Every Last Psycho in exchange. The main character of that book suffers from depression and anxiety, yet he's been thrown into a situation where he has to lead a spaceship against aliens that want to destroy earth. Challenges constantly face us each day and it feels like we're unprepared for them - something as simple as missing the bus and being late. But I think that all we can ever do is accept the things we can't change, and accept things the way they are, and then take everything one day - or one hour - at a time.

I've been trying really hard lately to live more in the moment, and not get super wound up about what's coming several months down the line. I'm not doing a great job at it, but slowly but surely I'm trying to make progress. This year has thrown a lot of difficulties and disappointments at me, as did last year, but it's also thrown a lot of good in my lap and I intend to utilise that good so I can have a better tomorrow.

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When I wrote this post I was working at Wembley stadium. I didn't intend for the job to last as shortly as it did, but it did because of my anxiety disorder. Sure, it was disappointing, but I found another job (a Christmas temp job at Waterstones). This one probably won't last long either, but it's still something for now.

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I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
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