Radical Acceptance

In outpatient I had to pick a DBT skill and present it. I wanted to share what I put together with y’all. I chose this topic because it’s one that I have a hard time with. Unlike mindfulness where you can refer to your breath, this idea is a little more abstract with nothing physical to be able to rely on for grounding acceptance.

  • Marsha Linehan the creator of DBT had some things to say on radical acceptance.
  • Radical acceptance is – Moment by moment letting go of having to have what you wanted and accepting reality how it is.
  • “You need to radically accept that you want something you don’t have and its not a catastrophe” – ML
  • “You only have to radically accept the moment you are in, and the past.” – ML
  • “In order to change things you have to accept them otherwise what you’re trying to change is something else that you think is reality…and if you want to change it you work on changing it which is perfectly legitimate also.” – ML

Clean Pain vs Dirty Pain

-These are types of pains we have when accepting or not accepting.
-Clean pain example: “I’m sad and I’m human and this is a normal response.”
–Dirty pain example: Fighting against something that gives us clean pain to try to find relief and avoidance/nonacceptance is causing suffering.
–Letting go transforms suffering into more ordinary pain which is part of life.
–When you spend time fighting yourself you aren’t learning how to be a friend to yourself.

Letting Go

Another way to think about letting go is to think of your mind as carrying a backpack.  If you need to go from point A to point B and you get tired somewhere in-between you may be carrying too many unnecessary things in your mental backpack. Getting rid of things that no longer serve you or are not useful to carry will lighten the load and you will be able to make it to your destination quicker and easier. What can you let go of to lighten your backpack?

  • Another way to practice Radical Acceptance which I have personally used and has worked for me is to write down “I accept (reality)” (ex. “I accept that Ryan and I are no longer in a relationship together”) several times being mindful and taking breaks if I feel myself zoning out so that I am focusing on the meaning of what I am writing, writing it in different ways, (ex. “I accept Ryan is no longer my boyfriend”) and reading these aloud to myself.
  • This has benefit me in being engaged in the statements of the reality of the situation. Over three days doing this I noticed myself letting go a little more every time and coming to acceptance of reality as how it is (not to say I like it, but that’s where other DBT skills come in).

How Hard is Radical Acceptance?

It’s a process that requires a lot of energy but it CAN be done.
Some things are easier to accept than others.
As Marsha Linehan said, When we accept reality as it is, we can move forward to change things if we want to, but if we don’t accept reality as it is we’re addressing change to something that’s not real and that’s going to prolong suffering and make no changes moving forward.
Radical acceptance is hard and further you can’t measure acceptance like you can mindfulness and your breath. But trust how your body and mind transform pain as you accept and let go. When we accept we can move forward.



This is officially the first of my bipolar blog entries, and it’s in the middle of a rough patch, so here goes.

I’ve decided the format for my bipolar posts will be to refer them to informative entries. For example, this one has a link to #IntensiveBipolarEducation which I’m going to put up right before this one. 

I’ve gained about 70lbs on the most current mood stabilizer that I’ve been on, and the number one thing I want to talk to the doctor about is adjusting the drugs. I haven’t been able to see the doctor in 3 months. Thanks to insurance and her fucking idiotic receptionist that is. Today is going to be a struggle to slice through all the nasty sinew of phone calls and e-mails and contact who needs contacting so I can get things straight. Not that this is going to be my first attempt at all this bullshit.

Right now, I’m struggling. I think my liver might be overworked (toxic) and here are reasons I can tell:

1. When sad music comes on TV shows, movies or commercials I get really sad/borderline weepy.

2. I don’t sleep properly. Lately I am sleeping all day and up a couple hours at night, then going back to sleep.

3. I have 2 tests tomorrow, I haven’t been able to study for either because I can’t concentrate. I still can’t concentrate. I’m even forgiving myself for not being able to concentrate right now. This post is taking forever, and still going to be a mess.

4. I’ve been working with administration at the damn university I go to in order to get the administrative withdrawals in place for classes SEMESTERS AGO that I had needed dropped. That includes pending refunds that won’t be processed until the paperwork goes into place.

Do you know how fucking hard it is to be ill the way I am and have to deal with some bullshit that’s not getting done? I can’t even talk directly to the Dean and every single month that passes I have to follow up on all this bullshit the more I just want to crawl under the earth and be frozen because I don’t want to deal with it.

It’s paralyzing. It’s fucking paralyzing. And ESPECIALLY now that I’m so fucking frustrated it’s the middle of the semester, this should have been dealt with LAST YEAR, and now I’m upset about  tomorrow and the fear when tomorrow comes of dealing with all of it, and I’m trying very hard to be mindful but let me tell you I don’t know how to handle everything.

5. I get excited about the idea of something, like for instance, G-Dragon’s world tour, but then wonder “will he be coming to the U.S.?” I need to see! So then I look and see there’s nothing more than a handful of tour dates so far, and therefore I can’t plan anything or figure out if I can go, or scramble to pay for tickets, IF I can afford them, etc. I get overworked over stupid little things.

I’m escaping into fantasy land rather than being mindful of my surroundings, but either distraction is helpful.

It’s funny, now that I’ve raged and gotten the chance to express some of my inner demons I’m not satisfied nor do I think anyone cares, even people who are struggling with mental illness on their own. I feel like isolating even from my own blog audience, which is nearly 0 to begin with.

A day in the life.