Things could always be worse. At least you have your health. You have so much to be grateful for.
These are just a few of the many phrases I’ve heard spoken to me, or about others over the course of my journey these last 6+ years but as a person living with a Major Depressive Disorder like I do, I find myself especially confused as to how much worse I’m actually supposed to feel?
Hearing someone tell you that things could always be worse is belittling their feelings and experiences, it’s shaming them and will leave them exploding with guilt. Hearing these words may also leave someone second guessing their illness and therefore living silently in fear of exposing it which may also lead them to the belief that they don’t matter.
Yes I am blessed that I am both capable and able to walk and talk and breathe and feel and see and smell and hear and taste all the beauty that surrounds me, but as a person who is battling a mental illness, being told that “at least you have your health” hurts very deeply because our Mental Health is just as critical to our well being as our physical health is and those words are also a very disheartening reminder to us all as to how much work is still left to be done to help end the stigma; Mental Health is Health.
But I think what hurts me the most sometimes is when someone who is suffering with depression or anxiety is questioned as to whether or not they feel gratitude. I practice gratitude in my daily life and I am very much aware of all the things for which I am most grateful for. The feelings and behavioural changes though that are associated with a depressed or anxious mind cannot simply be cured by practicing gratitude, but it can definitely help with the process.
It’s Thanksgiving weekend (in Canada) which is the time of year we set aside to celebrate being thankful and grateful for what we have in our lives and to recognize the genorosity and kindness that has been bestowed upon us since the previous year. Well this year, more than ever before, it may be very difficult to recognize or appreciate those silver linings (no explanation necessary).
I can honestly say that this has truly been the worst year ever for me since my journey began. The Pandemic and my illness have both played a huge role in that forgone conclusion but so have several other personal issues, many of which I have never disclosed to this public forum, but still I am so grateful for so much and wanted to share some of that here with you today.
I am grateful for:
Nature walks and hiking
My weekly therapy
Arts and Crafts
Diet Coke and Ice Capps
Things that make me laugh
Romantic comedies that make me cry
My creative soul
A warm and sunny day
My weighted blanket
My Blog that allows me to share my story
Being given a voice
Kindness and empathy
Being born and raised in Canada
My undeniable support system
Strangers who have become my friends
My incredible friends who see me beyond my illness and stand by me no matter what
My large extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles whom I never get to see but who love me just the same
My big brother who I know will always protect me
My inlaws and my many beautiful nieces and nephews
My mother in law who is always there to cheer me on
Maggie, for appreciating a good cuddle and belly rub
My 3 beautiful children who have stolen my heart and taught me the true meaning of resilience and unconditional love
And to my Soulmate and best friend Rich, I am beyond grateful for your protection and for always seeing my inner beauty and who continues to make me feel desired and loved
What are you most grateful for today?
#happythanksgiving #grateful #gratitude #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #youareenough #youarenotalone #endthestigmatogether #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealthishealth #mentalillnessawarenessweek