I am trying to stay focused on gratitude because having an air of gratitude is shown to help when recovering from depression. I know that it is not the size of the gratitude that matters as there is empirical evidence that even gratitude for the smallest things in life is known to greatly aid recovery. I struggle with gratitude because I feel that it encourages us to be grateful for things while simultaneously discouraging us from demanding better. Yesterday I had this discussion with my therapist and he clarified that having gratitude and wanting betterment are not mutually exclusive. I told him that I do not feel gratitude because it seems a lot like bootlicking of the wealthy in return for meager resource scraps. This is my internal struggle but I know I need to begin somewhere.
So I shall begin my journey towards gratitude for the things that really matter in my life like my brother and my mother. I am grateful for the unconditional love and support from my mother. My mother is truly the only human being I know that does not put a condition on her love, care, and concern for me. Without her support, I know I would be in an infinitely worse condition. It is the realization of her love and how she would feel if she were to outlive me that keeps me from committing suicide right now. When I think of how devastated my mother would be, it pulls me back from the brink. I am grateful for my mother giving me a reason to live when life seems devoid of hope. I am grateful for the support of my brother and his help with providing affordable housing. I wish I did not need to learn on him like so but he assures me that having me as a tenant in one of his units is one less thing he has to worry about.
While writing the above paragraph, I just remembered how Ms. Tangie from the partial hospitalization program talked about the quintessential simplicity and beauty of water. As I drink my coffee, sip my water, and write this, I realize I am grateful for the lifegiving properties of water. I am grateful for its simple taste and thirst quenching. When I take a shower, the hot, cleansing water does a lot to improve my mood. They say that the feeling of water running over the body triggers our natural biochemistry and relaxes us. Now I know why that nary a day went by that she failed to remind us that water is life-giving and restorative. I know I feel better when I am properly hydrated so there is something to this.
I am grateful for having a computer that allows me to write this blog and share my struggles with mental illness with everybody out there on the great and vast internet. Furthermore, I am grateful to be able to share my life’s story in the hope that, through one word at a time, I slowly destigmatize mental illness. I have gratitude for my audience whom made Latuda possible and for wishing me well and giving me virtual hugs when I have a day in which I am struggling more than others. Without my Twitter followers, I know I would be worse off as we share in each other’s struggles and we do what we are able to for each other. I am finding it much easier to adopt gratitude after sitting down to think and write about it.