When I first was diagnosed with major depression, one of the things I did to combat the vortex that was constantly trying to pull me down was to pause and consciously remember everything I have to be grateful for. Everyday needed to be something different. It helped. It changed my focus from everything that was hurting me mentally, and onto the things that really mattered, whether it was a beautiful sunrise or a person who made a difference in my life when I was eight years old. I started to heal by counting my blessings. It sounds so trite… but it helped.
The same things works for the physical, but it’s hard. I have so much to be grateful for, but it gets obscured because of the constant struggle. Working at a health care facility constantly puts me in the position to remember how much I have grateful for. I see couples, one pushing the other in a wheelchair, one holding onto the arm of the other. I see the love between them, the patience, the hope, and despair. I see tears and smiles, smiles through tears. I see people in chemo with scarves covering their heads, whose legs don’t walk straight, who lean against walkers, who drag themselves forward despite unwilling bodies.
It’s so easy to turn all my thoughts inward to how I feel, how tired I am, how much I hurt, to wallow in my own selfishness. Yes, I need to be self-aware, to take care of myself, to be mindful of my Self. But I can’t forget that I’m alive, upright, functioning. I have years ahead of me. There’s always someone suffering more than I am. I would rather expend my emotional energy to love and cherish them, not myself.