the reservoir right after sunset
the reservoir right after sunset

Please note, as you read this post, I don’t have medical training of any kind and depression is a very individual thing. What I’m writing below is just my own personal thoughts and experiences. If you think you are suffering from depression or anxiety, please see a doctor.

If I’ve never said this before, I’ll say it now. If you’ve never suffered from depression, I hope and pray that you never will. It’s not always obvious if someone is suffering from it. They don’t want around with a big huge D on their foreheads like in that book, The Scarlet Letter. You might think the person is being lazy, and the reality is that they can’t motivate themselves to get out of bed in the morning, or if they do, they feel like they are in a fog and just going through the motions.  You might think that they are just a negative person, when the reality is that their brain just won’t allow them to see any light in any circumstance. They might be using all of their energy just to get through the day. Or just through the next half hour.  Read more

Little Things for Which I am Thankful

I’m sure we have all made decisions in our lives that caused others pain, whether we intended it to or not. I sometimes find myself going back in time in my mind to some of those events. (The catalyst for the memories can be something as simple as sitting in the same park I found myself in a few years ago, on such a beautiful sunny day like today.  However, at the time I could only cry.)

For me, the most painful thing to remember is the day that I had to tell my then-husband at the time that I felt like I had to leave. It was in response to his question of “what do you want to do today?” which was asked very innocently. I think we both knew things were going on with me and that I was not happy but as long as we didn’t talk about it, we didn’t have to deal with it. Looking back, I just remember that look of hurt on his face, and knowing that I had put it there. It still rips me up inside sometimes if I let it. I never wanted to hurt another human being like that, ever, and I don’t ever want it to happen again. Luckily, today, there were no tears, just a bit of nostalgia or bittersweetness at what my life once was and what it is now. I acknowledged the feelings for being there and then made an active decision to keep moving forward with my day and realize it’s all in the past.

When my now-ex broke up with me last summer, it was over the phone, so at least he didn’t need to see the look on my face. At the time, parts of me felt that maybe this was happening to me to even the score for what I had done to my husband–that since I had hurt someone else, that I deserved to be hurt too. It was just a small part of me that felt that way – the healthier part of me knew that was  most likely not the case.

Around the time that I left my husband, with the help of a great therapist (she is actually a licensed social worker but she’s the best therapist I think I can and will ever have), I realized that I was clinically depressed. I derived a lot of my self worth from what others thought of me. Criticism was very hard for me to take. Someone saying or acting like they didn’t want to be friends with me really hurt. It made me feel like there was only something else wrong with me.  This was because I viewed myself as damaged goods. In my mind, everyone else had it “together” much more than I possibly ever could.   (If you’ve never felt that way, or had to suffer through depression, or some other kind of mental illness or biological/chemical imbalance, then consider yourself extremely lucky and don’t judge those who are, have, or will.)

So, where am I going with this and how does it relate to gratitude? Well, during a conversation with someone earlier this week, I realized I don’t let criticism or perceived criticism bother me as much as I used to allow it. For example, earlier this week, I told a family member of my plans to live in an RV.  I felt that the response was critical, sort of like incredulous at what I was thinking of doing and how could I possibly succeed or be happy living in a tiny home or motor home. I felt myself getting defensive, and for a day or two, I let it gnaw at me.  I even thought of calling this person or emailing them and saying “what gives? I don’t judge you, so don’t judge me. ”

And then I realized, you know what? That is my perception of what that other person thinks is what you need in life, and maybe he didn’t mean it to come out that way.  His idea of what he needs in life to be happy is so different than mine, and our lives are SO different. So, I decided to let it go.  So that’s the first thing I am grateful for – my getting better at letting criticism or perceived criticism rule my feelings and emotions, or at least not letting them do so for as long as I used to permit them.  Also, for knowing I was able to pull myself out of that dark place of depression from a few years ago. I know it’s still something to work on from time to time but I’m doing it. I’m doing it!

Second thing I’m grateful for:

My re-found love of running. I am feeling so much more like myself these days, having a plan of what to do at my workouts, or for at least part of them. Having a goal. Knowing it’s achievable. And feeling damn good (for the most part) while doing it!! I was even happy running on the treadmill today because I felt like I could keep going faster and faster and faster! And felt strong! (I even had my pace back in the 9 minute and under range, again!!! Now if only I could do that outside…)

Third thing I’m grateful for:

A friend of mine who unfortunately I’ve not spoken to in a while, but whose updates I see all the time on facebook, just posted a video yesterday of her little boy saying his first word. He was also actively using his right side of his body. Now, the first word alone is miraculous in itself. But you have to know this little boy’s medical past – he suffered a stroke basically during childbirth and then had a really big problem with seizures. He underwent surgery this past spring and it looks like what the neurosurgeons did was extremely successful, because he continues to impress and amaze us all. The first time I said to her “he’s gonna be president someday” I was half kidding. Now, I know there’s nothing this kid can’t accomplish.

Fourth thing I’m grateful for:

Except for the very gray weather we are having today, we have had a few really gorgeous days this past week. Days that remind you why the Northeast is really beautiful in the spring.  And I have my bike back from the Bike Doctor and it’s all ready to go!! Tune up done, new back tire, new light on the front. She’s looking beautiful!

I hope you all have many reasons to be grateful for today and for what’s going on in your lives right now.  Have a great weekend, and as always, if you have liked this post, please drop me a line, hit like below, or subscribe! Thank you!