Welcome to Day 6 of “My 30 Day Intermittent Fasting Journey” which turned out to be six days actually. What happened? I failed. Yes, it didn’t go as I planned and I was very tempted to actually trash this whole post series altogether to save face.
Love the struggle. Respect the struggle.
Then, I learned something very important. I got an insight that people who have mood swings have a very hard time grasping: loving the struggle. For a long time, I hated the ups and downs that come with having bipolar. Actually, even if you don’t have a mental disorder, you still have the highs and lows in life. I loathed them and thought they were something to get rid of because they held me back. made me unstable and unreliable. And who wants that?!?
Be not a knower but a learner
The main lesson I learned from my “failed” intermittent fasting experiment was to respect the struggle. I went from a knower to learning more about myself. And though I wasn’t stable in sticking to a 30-day challenge, I was stable in my growth mindset. To make something public and seek support also means to invite criticism and cruel comments. However, I didn’t get much criticism from others because honestly, my readership is so small right now lol. The biggest critics in our lives are often the voice in my head:
“I failed again.” “I’ll never lose this weight.” “I just don’t have enough willpower to stay away from carbs.” “I’m weak and can’t do anything right.” “I’m fat.”
If you notice, many of these statements go back to our identity. We equate failing at something with who we are. It is sooooo easy to write this on a clean computer screen but to actually live it when you are brought to the ground, your face marred with dust in the area as Brene Brown calls it, it takes strength and courage.
The lessons I learned after doing a 6-day intermittent fast are:
Practice gratitude and self-love
We, the people blessed with a mental illness, are not special but are very unique. We are different because many things “normal” people can do, we have a harder time or can’t actually do. And that is ok. Really, I mean it. It’s not going to take one blog post to change that mindset. It takes years of awareness and a practice of gratitude, self-acceptance and self-love. People often say to us: “You can’t hold down a 9-5 job!” Yes, I can’t and so can’t many other people. “You are so unpredictable.” Yes, as are many people. “Don’t do that. You’ll get sick.” Yes, as will many people.
These criticism take me to my next lesson…
It’s not the critic that counts…
If you are not in the same fight as me, getting your butt kicked, then I’m not interested in your advice or opinion. Thank you Brene Brown for this life-changing lesson. I spent a good amount of the last decade trying to prove people wrong. I reached some major milestones only to realize that I never asked myself if I really wanted them. I learned that much of my motivation came from trying to show others that I have bipolar and I can do or get x, y or z.
Now, I realize, many of those people don’t give a damn. The smart and safe answer is, “Well I never did it for them anyways.” But, is that really true. I can’t know for certain. What I am sure about is that going forward, I’m going to travel on this road on my own terms and at my own pace.
Thank God for the tough
To reach a heightened level of gratitude and deeper joy, thank God for the things you don’t like. Yes, you read that right. I recently did a talk on patience and gratitude based on Shaykh Mikaeel’s Smith’s “Purification of the Heart” series. The greatest take-away from this lecture was to say thanks to Allah for the things I don’t like. And though, I’ve written an eBook titled “Blessed with Bipolar,” I still struggle with this. I am not a knower. I am a learner. Thus, I try to choose something small and difficult I hate and thank God for that. Try, it. It brings deep and sustained not happiness but contentment.
Putting these three lessons togther, I am thankful I struggled with intermittent fasting. It took a toll on my mood and sleeping. And though, others are unaffected by it and even questioned my will power, I am okay with that. Why? Because it’s not the critic that counts but the man who is actually face down in the arena or you on this website 🙂
Read my previous intermittent fasting posts here: