It’s been a while since I did one of these! That’s because… well, because I haven’t been going to the gym. My poor body. The stress and despair of this time of life has finally taken its toll and my body kind of collapsed in on itself a few weeks ago. I took two weeks off from working out and it has been so, so good. Let’s do this…
So Thanksgiving is coming up. I’m supposed to be all up and practicing gratitude in this bish. But OOF, what a downer this year has been. Putting on gratitude sounds kind of exhausting.
I listened to a podcasts the other day about depression and addiction. The guest speaker said that research has consistently shown that the opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety — it’s connection. I think that’s really beautiful, and such a significant reflection of our social nature and interdependence with others.
Then he touched on depression. Depression is chemical, yes, but that doesn’t mean the only solution is to control the chemicals through drug intervention. Sometimes, absolutely. Drugs are a marvel of modern medicine and can be essential or even just convenient helpmates for our well-being.
The speaker also said that some non-pharmaceutical things have been shown to have a remarkable effect on our well-being: having a sense of purpose, feeling connected to others, and feeling a robust sense of internal motivation to do what you do, have all been shown to enhance someone’s well-being and mental health.
In other words, we need to be seen by others and to be able to do something we feel passionate about.
I know what it’s like to have neither. I know what it’s like to feel slighted, ignored, rejected, despised. How do we find people who see us? Who will value us as we value them? And how do we find the ability to be thankful in the midst of those trials?
I don’t know. I don’t feel grateful for much at the moment. I definitely don’t feel connected. But my life is not a total disaster, and I do believe it’s important to recognize the good things and not let myself get carried down and down by hopelessness. So here I go, taking a look at my life and practicing gratitude.
One thing I’m thankful for is the opportunity to express myself here. To get everything out. To write when that feels like the only way I can make sense of what’s swirling around in my head space.
I’m very, very grateful for insurance that covers expensive, life-saving therapy.
I am grateful to know in a deep, visceral way how important it is to see and celebrate people, to make sure they know they are seen, that their strengths are appreciated, that their weaknesses are covered by love and grace.
I am grateful that all things change. Change is not always for the good, but I do think some things struggle inexorably and perhaps grudgingly towards justice and the good. I’m grateful for the slow, non-linear momentum of progress.
I am grateful for my husband. My intimate, the man in whom the sun rises and sets for me. I am grateful for our partnership, affection, and intellectual compatibility. I got pretty dang lucky.
I am grateful for knowledge. For the thrill of discovery. For pushing through discomfort to find and know something beautiful.
I am sincerely grateful for the ready availability of an abundance of food. It may be stupidly expensive, but what I have access to, on this hunk of rock in the middle of the Pacific, is pretty amazing.
Ok, so my cranky side did not enjoy being forced out of her negative space, but that did help. Because I have some pretty fabulous things about my life, and I do very much want to enjoy them while I can, while I have them.