Monday, November 30, 2015

The Mental Health Advocate's Gratitude List

Lists of gratitude are almost obligatory at this time of year. And naturally, I am thankful for family, friends, pets, roof over my head, my job, and all these standard things like the majority of the population. But as a mental health advocate, I have a few "gratitude items" that may be a bit unconventional, and I'm guessing a good number of chronic/invisible illness advocates can relate.

I am thankful for...

  • Supportive friends and family, who have not given up on me, even in those moments when I want to give up on myself. 
  • Grace, and Cinn, despite the fact that Cinn's no longer with me in body. Pets are some of the best (and most cuddly) form of therapy. Truly. They listen non-judgementally and love unconditionally and sometimes, that's exactly what I need. 
  • Meds. These are lifesavers, literally. They have their downsides, but man am I grateful to found ones that work for me. 
  • My therapist. She's priceless (not really she charges $175 per session, but it feels like she's priceless because she's worth every penny). 
  • The spoonie community. You rock. You are the strongest bunch of badasses I have ever met, personally or virtually, in my life. Each and every one of you. Whether it's mental health or another chronic illness, I'm inspired to know you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for wecloming me into your community. (If unfamiliar with the term spoonie...).
  • My mood disorders support group on FB: I can often talk to you when I can talk to nobody else. You show me that I am not "crazy", as I sometimes feel, that I am human, and lovable, and worth it. 
  • AFSP: Not only have I been able to participate in the Out Of Darkness Overnight Walk the past two years, but it has given me the opportunity to become involved in the local chapter, and to meet some amazing people in the region who are also dedicated AFSP and their mission of suicide prevention. It has, on my toughest days, reminded me why I persevere and keep going. 
  • Life and hope: Every 12.8 minutes someone in the U.S. dies from suicide. So many people have lost their battle with mental health, and anyone who says depression or mood cycling is not fatal could not be more wrong. No matter how awful a time I might be going through, I am alive. 
To all of you who get me through the days, weeks, months, years, who stand by me in the worst of times, and celebrate with me in the best of times, I am so thankful for you all! Keep doing what you're doing. You are truly amazing. 

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