Photo by Matthew Rutledge

Photo by Matthew Rutledge

It’s okay Lisa. Just go with it.

 

These are the words of a good friend of mine who lost 5 family members during the last year, including her mother and her son. Today, we spoke quietly about anxiety and despair and sadness. She shared the pain of the loss of her son and I shared my fears about losing control; control of my mind and my faculties due to bipolar disorder. We cried a lot, standing in the afternoon sun, and I felt guilty for making her cry.

 

The whispered conversation meant so much, because she was able to share herself with me and, too, that she gave me the gift of understanding. We spoke of what it’s like to lose your identity. I am often afraid of what might happen to me some day – that bipolar might win, and I might become a mere shell of the woman I am now.

 

At the end of the conversation, we were able to smile and laugh with relief at knowing that in our pain, even though different, we are not alone.

 

Perhaps we all need to tell ourselves, “ It’s okay, just go with it” when we feel the onslaught of fear, anxiety and sadness. That we can be kind and gentle with ourselves during a difficult time is so important. And she said something very profound; she said that when she tells herself that, she is able to give herself unconditional acceptance. She is able to acknowledge that even though she hasn’t made it as far as she thinks she needs to go, she’s taken the first step.

 

And she’s grateful.

 

 

Along with reciting the Serenity Prayer and an “Our Father,” I think I will try to remember to be kinder to myself. A little more patient. A little more caring. We all need that in our lives.