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How to Surrender

All my life, I had been misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. I was bipolar but had no idea. It is a disability yet a superpower in itself. It can bring you down or uplift you. I would often turn to my spirituality to cope with the roller coaster, and I even dabbled in different areas to find what fits me most. When I was manic, I would meditate. When I was depressed, I would drive down the highway with loud music on just to feel alive and there I would catch it, the mania again. A manic state is many things- heightened awareness, productivity that can lead to insomnia, feelings of euphoria or feeling ontop of the world, etc. It can arise in people differently.

Until I was 25 and hospitalized for the first time in Dec 2015, I was not on medications. I had tried two different medications in high school but had bad reactions to them both so I left therapy almost altogether. Sometimes, during college, I would check in then get too busy to maintain my therapy schedule. I always knew something was different about me, but I took it as a hypersensitivity.

I often relied on spirituality to help myself cope with the depression (needing feelings of purpose) and the mania (inability to slow down or stop therefore the medication and meditation were needed while the latter I relied on first). I was unhappy with myself because I couldn’t control everything that happened to me. I was self disciplined and assertive but also weary of the world. I had gone through my own share of injustices, and I remember even finding feminism to cope in a world with corruption.

Surrendering came to me as an insight in my college years. I decided to STOP FIGHTING my feelings and SURRENDER to what they wanted to tell me. This helped me not only get through college but my life until medication was needed for the manic episodes. Note: To be clear, I needed meditation AND medication all my life. But it was amazing what meditation was able to accomplish on its own all those years before I was properly diagnosed.

In my twenties, I did hot yoga (the yoga where you sweat- power vinyasa) as a coping device. I would go at 5am, and for me it was a meditative ritual as I watched the sun come up. Sometimes, I would do it in the evenings with candles around us. I would do this daily. It was how I coped with my emotions and regained center and control over them. For me too it was like a prayer but a surrender that used my body as well in movement and form and flow.

I would give the universe an intention- I wanted an answer about such and such. At the end of yoga, I would usually have that answer or something insight that led me closer there.

I was so happy with myself and my life after these sessions. I knew that my other activities such as kayaking and hiking helped me to surrender too. But I did each thing in life as an active prayer.

If you try to see God’s hand in everything, you will see that hand. Everything is a matter of perspective, and I do not try to control my life anymore. I lift it up.

Surrender is about a pursuit of oneness with all of creation and for the spiritual, the Creator. I am someone who believes in evolution so even the science-minded can navigate and benefit from this. It needs not  be attached to any ideology but the ideology of love.

Surrender is about love of self. It is self care. It is sacred.

Here’s how you do it:

Like anything else, first of all, it takes practice.

Pick a breathing technique if you need help such as 4 7 8 Breathing.

Just Be.

Give up your worries and your will.

You may not have answers but you will gain insights from simply surrendering. Suddenly, a way opens. It’s like light through the darkness passes through you, and you can see again. It’s the love God has for you waking you up (or putting you to sleep if you are doing before bed).

When I discovered I was bipolar, professionals wondered how I lived my life before my bipolar breakdown and relapse occurred in my late twenties. How did I keep myself steady? What worked for me could work for anyone (again in some cases, alongside medication). I was living with a mental illness and truly had no idea. I had found an unconventional way to manage it all.

Surrendering doesn’t cost you money, it’s just a moment. It doesn’t ask much of you, just to give it all up. In many instances, surrendering saved my life. Rather than give into negative thoughts (which tends to be lies) or give up, I would surrender my worries and my will. Hoping for an answer to come.

Sometimes, this process is a minute, or it takes an hour or more. Keep breathing out the worries and your will and breathe in the state of surrender.

I live with bipolar disorder and a generalized anxiety disorder (mostly from ptsd), and I am able to utilize surrendering along with my medication for a more meaningful outlook on life. I stopped fighting. I stopped worrying about survival. I saw what I needed and what I had. I saw only love and light in each lesson of my life, getting closure from all.

It’s enough. It’s enough to be with the silence and slowly give yourself up to something greater. Unseen, even. Beautiful harmony of life. We carry the world on our shoulders when all we have to do is release it, like a string attached to a big balloon.

You can do this too, anytime. It only takes centering yourself, breathing deeply or following breathing techniques and readiness to be healed on the inside. What are you offer? Your full self.

It’s a promise. You are giving up your worst thoughts for peaceful insights.

It’s purpose. You are fining meaning in what you are going through.

It’s persistence. You are telling the universe you are not going down without a fight and the beauty being you never had to fight at all.

So, be still. Be true. Be you.

And surrender.

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Sarah Jeanne Browne

Sarah Jeanne Browne is a speaker, writer and activist. You can find her work here. She is currently writing a young adult fiction novel and a self help book.