In the summer of 2012 I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression after more than a month of not being able to fall asleep. This was a huge wake-up call for me to be more honest about what my choices have been and to start taking responsibility and making a re-commitment to life.
A long held pattern of mine had been to have no regard for my body and prior to the insomnia this became particularly intense. That summer I had flown to the other side of the world, lived in harsh conditions in the desert, trekked mountains in the scorching sun and camped for days in the freezing wilderness without food.
Not only did I allow myself to go through such physical harshness, which clearly cannot be comfortable or supportive for anyone’s body, I had to numb the pain I felt of actually allowing such a level of disregard towards myself throughout the years. I did this through hardening my body and hiding within a self-constructed bubble away from people as a means of protecting myself and to not feel what I was really doing to my body.
What I felt in my body then was a deep level of conflict waiting to erupt. The disharmony was from disregarding what I knew to be true but had consistently refused to heed and live. Even when I eventually made the choice to not further perpetuate the choices I had been making, it seemed that life still made sure I did not have it easy. The resolve to start being nakedly honest with myself, taking responsibility and making a re-commitment to life was actually, in hindsight, the simple part.
The insomnia set in after I chose to commit back to life, as the tension in my body could now be clearly felt, and the reaction I had towards the insomnia made everything much more difficult. There was a lot of self-judgment and non-acceptance of how this could have happened to me, as I arrogantly thought I had life worked out. I didn’t drink alcohol, coffee or smoke anymore, was careful of what I ate, exercised daily, did not pull late nights and I lived in natural surroundings. I thought I was better off than anyone else and felt ashamed when my body alarmed me with illness. Being stuck within the emotions that arose made the insomnia worse, and my anxiety escalated.
While experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, I became someone who was not me – I felt small and helpless, desperately clingy and lost. With depression and anxiety, it felt like every bit of vital energy had been taken from me, and in return I was filled with a constant terror. Simple everyday tasks such as walking down a street that I am familiar with, or even turning on the stove to cook, became like a mountainous challenge, and I lost interest in everything that I had enjoyed.
As a consequence, I wanted to hide. Facing everything that came up and all the responsibilities that I had ignored in the past was daunting. The day I sat in a psychiatrist’s office and opened myself up in honesty and fragility was the beginning of a choice to truly return to myself. But it was impossible to face everything all at once; my body was telling me so and I could not keep lying to myself anymore. To make the changes I needed I took everything ever so slowly and tenderly, I became super gentle with myself, something that I have never done in the past. Instead of shying away from my work duties, I brought presence to my daily life – every word that was typed in a weekly magazine column as part of my job required a level of presence and commitment which felt alien to me… I allowed people to see the real me which left me feeling a vulnerability which I had previously avoided.
If I had ever thought I was different from others because of the choices of bettering myself, this woke me up to the fact that we are all equal, I am no different from anyone else. I was completely humbled.
There was a lot of self-acceptance to learn during this time. To accept and take responsibility for my ill choices in the past, yet to not indulge in the harmful emotion of feeling guilty was a constant lesson. I had also lost a lot of weight during this time and if I ever allowed myself to look in the mirror, I received my reflection with deep self-judgment, but now I began to appreciate myself in a way I had never done before. When I looked into my own eyes, beyond everything, what I saw was a resolve and strength to return to truth. With the growing acceptance of myself, my acceptance towards the world also grew. Nothing can be truly blamed on anyone, everything that did not feel true ultimately reflected a responsibility that I can go deeper with myself.
There was no magic formula in re-committing back to life. Simply a moment to moment choice to be present to life, to every detail that presented itself. The more I chose to be present, the more I felt an empowerment that my body knew to be true. With choosing to be present to life, life became present to me, so I was no longer terrified or felt that I needed to hide from the world. Hiding didn’t make me feel any safer. It was only when I realised that I can be in the world and can let people in that I truly felt supported. As with taking back responsibility for my choices, each choice lived continued to confirm the next moment as it unfolded.
The Livingness through the teachings of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine has constantly supported me in coming back to the awareness of whether or not I am taking responsibility and making a re-commitment to life.
By Adele Leung, Image director, Hong Kong