Choosing your reactions just takes a little mindfulness.
Following two years of suffering debilitating seizures alongside the powerful side-effects of anti-seizure medications, I was diagnosed with a psychiatric condition known as “conversion disorder.”
The seizures were not the result of epilepsy after all but instead some, as yet undefined, source of stress or trauma coupled with sheer exhaustion. My life as a happy, confident, engaged and energetic family member, friend and university lecturer had unravelled dramatically leaving me unable to drive, to work or even to step outside alone.
Relentless anxieties engulfed me and my mind was overrun with frantic and often bleak thoughts. On the worst days I could not recognize the frightened image gazing back at me in the mirror. In this fragile state I was shocked and terrified by the new diagnosis, disbelieving at first that my symptoms could be psychological rather than physical and ashamed at the distress I had caused my loving family. Despite the optimism and reassurance of my neurologist that with psychotherapy I could expect an excellent recovery, the thought of all that might lie ahead was unbearable.
So, while waiting for that day to arrive, I desperately searched online for something, anything, that might quieten my thoughts and bring even the smallest glimmer of hope. And, among hundreds of weird and wonderful meditation websites I discovered Headspace, which, without need for embellishment or exaggeration, was the catalyst to turn my life around. Reading the evidence-based articles and watching the animations on the site gave me the confidence to just sit and give Take10 a go. Andy’s voice was reassuring and calming and, for the first time in a very long time, I experienced a tiny quiet moment in my head and a faint sense that all would be well. Most importantly, those first few days of my Headspace journey helped me find the courage to begin my treatment and to trust that I could be well again.
I spent almost a year undergoing regular psychotherapy sessions with a specialist who enthusiastically encouraged and supported my daily meditation efforts. This period was emotionally very challenging but also richly rewarding as I gradually regained my health and rediscovered a deep sense of gratitude and joy in my life. I have meditated (almost) every morning since that day and through this practice I continue to grow and flourish. My meditation sessions continue to elicit varied emotional responses including unexpected and heartfelt tears and laughter. I also thrive on the ongoing learning experiences – relating both to the processes and power of meditation and to better understanding myself – that always seem to emerge from my practice. And I love the simplicity, the calm, the clarity and the sense of quiet confidence and purpose that engulfs me while meditating and in the hours that follow. And I am, I hope, a less judgmental, kinder person as a result of regular meditation – a windfall for those around me!
I will always remember my nervous introduction to Headspace and the relief that swiftly ensued as I began to discover a different, calmer, happier mind. I believe the real power of this meditation program, however, lies in its enduring nature. Headspace offers much more than a quick fix to get things on track, or back on track, when the going gets tough. It is there to be experienced, enjoyed and appreciated through the good and not so good days, through the ever-changing ups and downs of our lives. It is meditation for life and I am forever grateful to Andy and all concerned for making this gift available through Headspace.
The author of this post is an editorial contributor to Headspace. These are their views, experiences and results and theirs alone. This contributor was not paid for their writing.