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?