I am writing this post after discovering a new blog I hadn’t read before which can be found here: http://myjourneywithdepression.wordpress.com/
The blog is entitled “All that I am, all that I ever was” and as I haven’t read enough of it yet, I don’t know if this is taken from one of my most favourite songs Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol. Maybe I should ask Addy the writer of the blog and who, if you click on that link, you will find recently wrote a gratitude list.
He has inspired me to do the same. At a time when I seem to be a constant emotional crying mess, I want to take a deep breath and clear some headspace and write down all the things I am grateful for. I dare say I may want to add more to this list, but for now here goes…
My Gratitude List - I am grateful for:
- My wonderful parents who have supported me tirelessly and endlessly throughout my 30 years on this planet. More than anything for their support over the past 5 very hard years life has thrown at me.
- Having a roof over my head and a flat that I moan endlessly about, but one which keeps me warm, gives me somewhere to sleep (even if it is currently a 2 seater sofa) and allows me the luxury of electricity to blog, watch TV, have clean clothes (when I remember to wash them), to have nice hot showers (when I remember to throw myself in them), etc
- My dogs. They have their moments of driving me mad when they burst into random barking at completely random things, but their unconditional love for me, their complete dependence on me, the way they just seem to sense when something is wrong and come and cuddle into me makes it all worth it. They have kept me alive on so many occasions and I never understood the love you could have for animals until I got my two monkeys.
- Being accepted onto my Uni course even when I was upfront and honest that I have mental health problems and they could so easily have used that against me. But they didn’t and they have given me tools to distract myself (though they don’t always work quite yet) and have given me hope that I will actually have a future, and not just a future but a career doing something I feel so passionate about.
- My two best friends. One who I talk about often on here, who is always there for me despite not really ‘getting it’ sometimes when it comes to my mental health and not exactly being the most sympathetic of people. However she has given me two little boys who call me Aunty E and as stressful as they can be, they never fail to put a smile on my face. I feel like a real Aunty to them and that is nice. My other friend who I still class as a best friend despite not seeing her in agessss is someone who shared a lot of crazy (in a fun way) times with me. She says the right thing at the right time, she listens when I need an ear, she is able to put a sensible head on when needed and give me supportive advice. I miss her loads but am also so proud of her; things weren’t going how she wanted them to in life and she took a big leap of faith and moved far away but it paid off. And now she has totally changed her life around for the better, she is one of the cleverest people I know and I have so many fond/funny/crazy/lovely (and a few emotional) memories of times we’ve spent together and I hope there will be many more in the future. She is just one of these people who you know will be a friend for life. I’m grateful for friendship.
- For being free of psychosis. God those episodes were some of the worst times of my life. When your thinking has been totally taken away from you and replaced with beliefs that those you love, strangers in the street, people who care for you – when you end up in a place of believing and I mean truly believing that they are out to hurt you, they are conspiring against you, that you must be vigilant and cautious of them, when you accuse them of the above…. and none of it is true apart from in your own head. I am grateful for being free of psychotic episodes and the people I threw accusations at still sticking around despite all the horrible things I said to them during those times of being so acutely ill.
- For the experiences of love within relationships with partners. Even though they have all ended and I have been single for rather a long time, I do hold some good memories of how it felt to be loved, to be wanted, to be desired and cherished, to be treated like a princess and everything just feeling so perfect at the time. There have been some good guys in my life and as this list is all about being grateful I’m only going to mention those good guys and not the ones who almost destroyed me.
- For the opportunity of being pregnant. For the experience of watching a baby growing inside me. For knowing what it feels like to have a bump and to feel a first kick. For understanding that complete and utter unconditional love you have for this little person developing inside of you that you have never met but you love them with all your heart. For getting to be a Mummy even though my angel went straight to Heaven, for having those moments with him that I did, for seeing complete perfection in front of me and knowing that I helped create it.
- For all those times where I could so easily have slipped into addictions when messing around with drugs, especially when back in January this year I did the most stupidest thing I have ever done in my life and used heroin for two weeks. For getting help at just the right time and being saved from falling into an addiction with that drug. I’m grateful that I have a completely (illicit) drug free body and am so much happier without that kind of shit screwing up my already screwed up head even more. I am grateful for sobriety from drugs and being able to control my alcohol intake to probably less than once a month.
- To the staff who work at a&e who have quite literally saved my life on a couple of occasions. Who haven’t judged me but instead pulled me out of overdoses safely and taught me that deep down I do value life. For the numerous times I have turned up there bleeding and confused, embarrassed and ashamed, and they have comforted me and patched me up to live another day. To the emergency ambulance service who did help save my life the night I took the most serious overdose I’ve ever taken when I truly thought that was it, I was going to die as I heard shouts in the a&e emergency treatment room of crashing blood pressures and “she’s losing consciousness”. I thought I was a goner. But I’m still here. I’m grateful we have such a good ambulance and a&e service for such a little town.
- To the other professionals I have worked with in the past and continue to work with into the future. To my social worker and to my GP mainly, both for being so lovely, so supportive, so understanding. For giving me time when time was what I needed, for giving me advice at the right times, for trying repeatedly to get me to believe in myself when all hope was almost lost, for making me feel for those ten minutes or that hour that I was the only person in the world who mattered and pulling me out of some really deep dark holes. I’m grateful to them.
- Music. I don’t know where I’d be without it. Lyrics are sometimes what makes a regular song turn into the most beautiful, touching, moving piece of music you have ever heard. When you listen to words being sung and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, when you feel those goose pimples down your arms, when you can cry your heart out because somebody has composed lyrics that resonate so much with how you are feeling in that moment. Music has been a distraction, a comfort, something that’s made me happy and something that’s made me sad. But I couldn’t imagine not having it in my life, so I guess what I am really grateful for here is having the ability to hear, as without it I would never have heard some of the most amazingly beautiful little masterpieces that have ever been created.
I’m sure there are many more things I could (and will) continue to add to this list over time. But for now, it may have taken me almost three hours, but I have a visual list in front of me of things that I am truly grateful for and that make life worth living for one more day in this crazy world. It has actually been really difficult to think of things to be grateful for, if it was a list of things that had hurt me, caused me pain or upset, depressed me, made me anxious over… I could have kept on writing all night long. It’s surprised me that I managed to come up with as many things as I did.
For now, this is my gratitude list. And guess what? I haven’t cried once whilst writing it, I have smiled a few times and felt touched at others. I thank Addy for the inspiration to write this and really force myself to look deep within and I hope that my list might inspire you to write one of your own. It would be lovely to see at least one other person whose blogs I follow write one too and have someone else who might not be in the best place right now be able to identify at least a couple of things that they are grateful for in their lives.