One of the things that I’ve been trying to accomplish in order to help my anxiety is mindfulness. Thus, like many of you (probably), I talk to myself a lot. Most of the time in my head, sometimes out loud. Depends on the situation and whether I’m going to embarrass myself or not.
One of the things my therapist and I talked about was hope and faith. She wanted to know if I had those in my life. Not faith as in any particular religion, but faith as in will things get better. Hope and faith as they work in tandem.
It was a hard question for me because I don’t feel hopeless, but I’m not sure whether or not I really feel hope and faith right now. In my quest to learn the answer–one among many quests and answer-seeking that have come out of my therapy sessions–I have begun something new for me.
I know it’s something we focus on during Thanksgiving. We give thanks for all kinds of things, great and small, in public and in private. But what about the other days of the year? Do we stop to give thanks for the things that happen every day? For the people we see and love every day?
At night, when I am ready to go to sleep, in the dark bedroom, I put my badger balm sleep balm on my hands. I cup my hands against my face and inhale deeply as I think of all the things I’m thankful for:
- My husband
- My parents
- My brothers and their families
- My aunts and uncles
- My cousins and their families
- My dog (and my parents’ dog)–the joy and happiness and love they bring me
- The above’s health
- The people who loved me–and whom I loved–who are no longer with us
- The love and happiness and lessons those people taught me
- The love and companionship that the dogs who have left us brought me
- The people who help care for me, physically and mentally and spiritually
- The ability to have a roof over our heads
- The ability to have food in our refrigerator (and our tummies!)
- The ability of my husband to have a job and provide for us, monetarily and health insurance
- The opportunity to seek hope and faith
- The ability to try to meet the challenges that are set before me
- The opportunity to pursue my health–physically and mentally
- The opportunity to love and be loved
Other things come and go each night, but I try to maintain the major ones. Thankfulness definitely falls under the category of mindfulness, but it helps me remember that are good things in my life. When I was sick from the Prilosec, I don’t think I was able to really focus on anything positive…I was really too far gone. Shortly after, when I needed to get my ass going and try to be in motion–even when I didn’t feel it–I started writing down everything I was doing. Even if it was only “let the dog out,” to remind myself that I was doing things and that I could do things. Because letting the dog out required that I got out of bed, put clothes on, walked down the hall, walked down the stairs, walked from the stairs to the back door, opened the door to release the dog. And all those things in reverse. For some people that might not seem like much, but when you spent three weeks in bed hardly even getting up to go to the bathroom, everything was monumental movement. Being able to look at the notebook with my daily doings at the end of the day made a difference to me.
My moments of thankfulness at the end of the day is like that notebook. Sometimes remembering the things I am thankful for is a big deal, because being here and being able to be thankful is monumental.