It’s kinda hard to be thankful for something that so very often won’t stay where I put it. My mind that is. I try to put it in good places and think good and positive thoughts. But it won’t stay there. It seems my default settings are set to feel apathy, despair, hopelessness and out right suicidal ideation. It’s hard to be thankful when you feel like you’d rather be dead much of the time. When you feel so awful and crazy it’s work just to breathe. When you have Depression or Bipolar disorder, or any number of other similar conditions. You really have to work at it.
There have been a lot of posts written about thankfulness on here in the last few weeks and I’m sure there will be many more. But I think there’s a great challenge to be overcome to be grateful and thankful when you suffer from illness, especially mental illness, when the tool you use for that thinking is so deranged and out of commission so much of the time. When your primary decision making mechanism is faulty and broken. When it betrays you and you’d really rather just shut down and shut out the world. You have to find the things that work to help you do it. And for me it’s my mind that does it for me.
I use my mind to trick myself with little things. Sometimes it’s just being able to get out of bed in the mornings and get over the pain of moving. Yay! I made it out of bed! There’s something to be said for this. Or when I make it outside my house when I’m so agoraphobic that I fear that the world will come crashing in on me the moment I step outside my sanctuary that it takes all my courage just to do it. That’s something to be thankful for. It may seem petty and small but it’s a Huge big deal to me. And it’s cumulative. One trick leads to another and together they add up to a grateful life. Thanks to my mind.
I’ve developed these tricks to help me do this practice of thankfulness every day to try to keep the despair away and stay in a mode of gratitude for all the good things in my life. And there are so many good things. First of all I remind myself that I have a home to live in. And I have good food to eat and clothes to wear. These are things most people take for granted, but I give thanks every time I eat food, or get dressed, for the beings that have contributed with their lives that I might live. Little things maybe, but they make a difference in my mind. And they keep me connected with the web of life around me. This will help me.
I give thanks for my partner, even when he bugs me, because without him I’d be alone and I’ve been alone for too much of my life and it sucks. So I trick myself into letting him joke me out of my state of mind. It’s work. Sometimes I wanna tell him to just shut up and leave me alone. But I never do that. I may not be able to take it all in, but I try to. I try to let it shift my consciousness and it will when I can do that. Not everyone has someone to help them like I do. I’m so grateful for him. Love from another person is such a gift it overwhelms me sometimes with its power. I give thanks for all those people who love me in my life whenever I can I think of them, and it’s my mind that does this for me.
I also keep a picture of my parents’ wedding up on my bookshelf where I can see it every day and I remember that I was brought up in a home where I was loved and cared for. Where I was Wanted. I lost them both several years ago but I still remember them and what they gave me and how they taught me to respect all people and ways of being, to be grateful always for what I had in my life. I’m lucky to have known them and had them to raise me this way. Too many people don’t have that. My mind knew to put that picture where I could see it like this and remember them.
So even if I use these little tricks to help me, it works. And it works because of my amazing mind, that has taught itself to do these things and to recognize what I have and how lucky I am to have them. It reminds me of them. I’ve got a whole toolbox of these tricks I use to stay thankful and it’s my crazy mind that actually does it for me. So even tho it often betrays me with its doubts and delusions, I give thanks the most for my mind and how it allows me to live in gratitude and be thankful as much of the time as I can. It’s enough.
With thanks for all our minds that can do such amazing things when we allow them to,
Note: This post was inspired in part by one on Gratitude in tiemthief’s blog “This Time- This Space”. I’m sorry but I don’t know how to link to it but if you go to my last post and click on her profile and then look at it you’ll see the link to her site. Cumbersome I know but I really wanted her to be found. It’s really worthwhile and I thank her sincerely. Credit where credit’s due…