“Astonishingly Good” by Kelly White
Today is my 101st consecutive day of meditation, and I feel astonishingly good. I feel calm, alert, and super smart. Amazing, right? Most importantly, I don’t feel anxious.
The constantly looping, stomping, and crashing parade of worries and what-ifs disbanded and left my mind about a week ago. Only a few of the more reasonable concerns remain, and they’re cool. They’re sitting down and hanging out quietly until I choose to deal with them.
None of these things was true 101 days ago, and they’re all thanks to my meditation practice. But meditation did not make me more “zen.” Meditation gave me the insight to seek, and the confidence to get, help.
Therapists have told me that I ruminate. I have been a truly excellent imaginer of worst-case scenarios and a pro at not letting anything emotional go. People have told me that emotions are like ocean waves and waves always recede, so I’d be okay. I’d nod my head like I totally understood, but I didn’t. I was busy treading water in the deep end of a wave pool of emotion, trying to seem like I wasn’t tired.
The anxiety made sense to me for decades. School was often stressful, and the more I worried, the harder I worked. The harder I worked, the better grades I got. Being a litigator could be stressful, too. I eventually decided a high level of worry and anxiety about my work was not only normal but necessary. The worry and anxiety were probably part of what made me good at my job.
There seemed to be no objective reason for my anxiety. I don’t have an employer and I live comfortably with my wonderful little family in one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. The mismatch between my internal and external life was frankly embarrassing. I was sure I was doing something terribly wrong.
This January, I decided to slow way down and by February, I began developing a meditation practice according to Bliss More. I went from dreading and avoiding meditation to looking forward to it and doing it every single day. Surely all of this subdued the parade, right?
Nope. Doing less didn’t help at all. Instead, I worried about more and more mundane things in greater and greater detail. The parade stayed just as loud and looped just as fast as ever. But thanks to meditation, I started noticing how my mental state was affecting my life. I needed to change things, and I couldn’t do it myself.
While I was debating about hiring a new therapist and looking into prescription medications, I noticed a social media post from Wyatt’s pediatrician, Dr. Julia Getzelman. She wrote that she had been using genetic testing to uncover the root causes of patients’ mental and physical issues, including anxiety, ADD, and ADHD. Knowing the root causes allowed her to successfully treat those conditions without pharmaceuticals, and she was starting to work with adults. I swallowed hard and sent her a self-conscious email explaining how I was feeling and that, in my opinion, I had no right to feel this way, but maybe she could help. Her compassion was overwhelming in the very best way. She took my complaints seriously and after analyzing my 23andMe genetic test, she explained from a medical perspective why I felt so awful and trapped. More importantly, she developed a plan for me to get better. The plan involves my taking supplements (maybe forever?) and also playing with dietary changes over the next couple of months so we can determine what will work best for me over the long term.
Today, I am so much better. I feel astonishingly good, and I’m so grateful.