I’m not exactly known as the most positive person in the world. I tend to be a catastrophic thinker that always assumes the worst in people. Because, you know, the world is filled with sharks who will rip you to shreds the moment they smell blood.
However, since I started trying this whole mindfulness thing this past summer in an attempt to address my perfectionism I have been trying to think more positively. I try and choose one or two things that happened in the day that I can be grateful for and write them down. It’s a method of showing myself that I’m making progress.
So, since it’s (Canadian) Thanksgiving I thought I would try and write five things that I’m grateful for right now in terms of my mental health journey.
- I have a good psychiatrist! I know, your jaws are hitting the floor right now to hear that I, of all people, have admitted to having a good psychiatrist. She’s a psychiatry resident in her fourth year and I assume she just hasn’t been beaten down by the system yet (see negative person). Regardless, I get the pleasure of being her patient.
And why, you may be asking, is she so awesome? She listens to me.I told her, “I’m very sensitive to medication and their side effects.” Her response? “Let’s carefully change your medication and when I add something we’ll always start at the lowest possible dose.” Imagine a psychiatrist actually listening to their patient? Incredible, I know!
- I’m in a program specific to bipolar disorder. I just started the program last week and don’t have much to report. However, it is the first time I will be working with psychologists who specialize in bipolar disorder. They are trained to know the intricacies of the illness and coping mechanisms that work best for this illness.
- My insurance. Whenever I’m feeling really down on myself, I try and tell myself that it could be worse. I could have no insurance coverage. I’m thankful that my insurance pays for 80% of my astronomical medication costs, 50% for my insanely expensive private therapy, and extremely grateful that I’m receiving 80% of my salary while I’m on disability.
Without my amazing insurance, my husband and I would be living in the streets and I wouldn’t even have the opportunity to try the multiplicity of medication the doctors have been trying on me.
- My family and friends. I have some pretty amazing family and friends. They have been so supportive through this journey that I know without them I wouldn’t be here writing this today. Whether it’s inviting me to grab a coffee, have lunch, or to a party (knowing full well that I might bail last minute) is pretty cool.
My family is just ridiculously supportive of all the things that I try and do. My parents even offered to pay for private treatment in the U.S. if it meant that I would get better sooner.
Finally, my husband has been a rock through this entire process. We have been together for over 10 years and he has sat through all of the various ups and downs of my illness; this period probably being the worst yet. He has held me when I cry for hours on end. He goes for long rambling walks when I’m too anxious to sit still. And he knows when to leave me alone. I am surrounded by incredible people who love me a whole boat load and that’s a pretty beautiful thing.
- Social media and this blog. Starting this blog and meeting wonderful people like the Stigma Fighters crew and all of you wonderful readers has really given me a sense of purpose and community. When I am feeling really low, I know there are people on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram who really know what I’m going through. You get me, you beautiful people. Plus, writing about my mental illness journey has given me interesting insight that I have brought back to my therapy sessions. So THANK YOU for reading.
So that’s it folks! Five things that I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving. What can you be grateful for in your mental health journey?
7 thoughts on “5 things I’m grateful for in my mental health journey”
And I am grateful for having the opportunity to getting to know you this past year.
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Very glad I came across your blog via @MondayBlogs. Love your list (esp about the pyschiatrist!) and looking forward to reading more of your posts. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you so much for reading!
I’m glad for the community I’ve found on the ‘net, including all the great blogs, including yours I’ve come across. That doesn’t look grammatically correct, but oh well.
I too am thankful for the insurance I have that makes up the difference between my disability and 70% of my former salary. We can actually live on that, including a nice house and a nice car. Plus a 20 year old truck that lately has been more reliable than the newer van! 🙂
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I’m in recovery from addiction, primarily alcohol. Its 15 years plus since I’ve had a drink, so I’m no beginner at it, and for the greater part, my problems aren’t about avoiding the 1st drink these days. However, there are days when this super-spiritual, highly empathic creature, that has been created from the wreckage of the past, gets so bogged down in selfishness and self-loathing that you’d think I was only a couple of days sober. On those days (mercifully few) one of the quickest ways out of the pit is a gratitude list. I make time to sit down and list every damned thing I can think of that I have to be grateful for in my life. Sometines, if I’ve allowed myself to get wrapped up in my own nonsense for too long, this can be a protracted process, and might begin with something as banal and meaningless as my coffee being the right combination of dark and sweet. Other days, I can get right on in there and rhyme off all the myriad blessings that are ALWAYS present in my life. What matters (to me and for the process to be effective) is that I be willing to change the way I’m feeling, and am prepared to take action to get there. The quicker I do it, the quicker I feel better. Simple, eh? Well, yes, it is, as in its not complicated to understand. But I tell you true, it can be a right bugger to get started on some days. The view from my self-pity pot can be very seductive…Anyway, just thought I’d share that with you. Keep on keeping on. You’re clearly a good person…
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Thanks for sharing your story with me & for taking the time to read and comment!
That’s a good idea, writing down two things I’m grateful for every day. I have tried it, but I mostly get distracted before I get there (see, you have company while seeking the brighter side of life). Funny you should mention your psychiatrist. My son, at the time 16, had a sort of mental breakdown, thoughts of suicide, anxiety. He was seen by psychiatrists who sent him to a fourth year resident. I, being a nurse and dealing with residents all the time, was a total snob, and got my son out of there as soon as I could because my rationale was that he needed a “real” doctor, not someone in training. Now that I have a psychiatrist who has been practicing for 40 years (I swear he’s dead, and someone stuffed him and propped him up in his chair), it has greatly humbled me, and I long for a fourth year resident psychiatrist who still has a zest for the profession and is idealistic. You’re one of my fave’s Marisa, so I’m glad you keep coming back to us.