Some of my symptoms went away really fast, within just a couple of weeks. So I thought I could get over everything fast. I didn’t. The symptoms I’ve had the longest have taken the longest to recover from. Every time a symptom flared up, I’d get frustrated. Frustration, and especially my tendency to hate myself for taking so long to fully recover, is not the best response if one’s goal is to calm one’s nervous system.

What did work? Accepting that I was wherever I was and allowing that to just be. This meant that I often had to rest more often and longer than I thought I should because that’s what my nervous system needed to feel safe. It also meant accepting whatever my body was throwing at me.

If I had a flare up, I often had to just accept that meant that on that day, I was going to lay in bed and deep relax all day. If I had a flare up after a strong period of recovery, I got over the flare faster if I accepted it as it was rather than stressing out about what I had done to trigger it or trying to make it go away. I was also more likely to figure out whatever had triggered the symptom after I had reached a better state of acceptance.

Especially for those of us who are genetically prone to sensory sensitivity, we just need more time to process events and emotions, and I had to allow my body the time and space it needed to process whatever I was going through. That always meant giving myself more time than whatever society had taught me was a reasonable amount of time to process things.

Let me be clear: this is stupidly hard. For me at least. I’m still not very good about giving myself time and accepting whatever is happening. I’m better than I used to be. And I am actually pretty good about allowing myself to rest as much as I need. But I usually spend a while resisting something before I even realize I’m in a state of resistance. For me, much of my acceptance is about accepting that I still resist things a lot, and for now, that’s helping.

The biggest takeaway in this section is to give yourself the time you need to rest and recover, no matter how long that is. And learn to accept yourself wherever you are, without feeling like something needs to be fixed.