It’s been awhile since I did some celebrating, and, since yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the States, I figured it would be a good time to think about the things I can be grateful for, including some of the small, and not so small victories I’ve experienced recently.
- Meds. Not only have I stayed on my bupropion, but I spoke up last month when I felt I needed more help getting back to a more stable state, symptom-wise. I also felt confident enough to speak up when I was experiencing side effects from the first new prescription my doctor prescribed, and was able to ask for something that I know has worked well for me in the past. A month in, and I’m finding that some of my symptoms are starting to subside, slowly. I’ve been getting some bursts of energy the past few days that I haven’t had in awhile, which has led to taking a couple of hours to clean out our pantry on Wednesday, and then getting up early enough the next morning to make bread, 2 batches of cranberries, and a cake for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Speaking of symptoms – sleep. I’ve been getting more of it the past few days. According to my health app, my average sleep this week has been just under 8 hours, and I’ve gotten to bed before midnight most days for about a week as well. It’s not huge, it’s not where I’d like to be, but it’s way better than it has been lately. Sleep is definitely one of the basic 3 self-care categories that can make or break my progress in my battles with depression. Having enough sleep over a regular basis makes it far easier to focus on my body’s nutritional needs, and to find the energy to get regular physical activity.
- Feelings & moods. When my therapist was checking in on my symptoms, and asked how my mood was, I said, “well, up, and down, which is a good thing.” We talked about how, for me, depression manifests in my mood as apathy and emotional numbness, so feeling even negative emotions or moods is a positive sign, and I joked, “I have moods!”
- The kiddo’s birthday party. Yes, I had a lot of stress and even anxiety leading up to the party, including anxiety dreams, where major things went wrong, but I took it one thing at a time, and we organized as best we could ahead of time. The morning felt stressful and behind schedule, but, all in all, it was a success. We were able to get just about everything set up before the guests arrived, we had more than enough food, everyone seemed to have fun, and I was even able to look around partway through the party and realize that I could relax and enjoy myself, because everyone was having a good time, and everything seemed to be running smoothly. I was also able to realize, that evening, that some quiet movie time as a family was exactly what this introvert needed to recharge after a day of socializing.
- Gratitude. I’ve spent a lot of my down time this week thinking about Thanksgiving, what it means to be thankful, and what I have to be grateful for, and there’s a lot:
- I’m grateful for life, for making it through the rough days, and I’ve been through a lot of rough days. Every morning I’m able to open my eyes is another gift, and, on the days when things seem really dark, I try to remember that I can get through, because I know I’ve been through worse.
- I’m grateful to have a supporting, loving husband. While we’ve had some rough times recently, he hasn’t given up on me, and I haven’t given up on him, and we haven’t given up on our relationship. He’s willing to listen when I need to talk about something that’s triggering some bad memories, and willing to support me when I need some time for self care. Not only that, he loves me, even when I feel like I’m falling apart.
- I’m grateful that I have a wonderful, kind, amazing son who is growing up so well, and so lovingly. He’s a good kid, and I’m trying to do the best I can to raise him well.
- I’m glad I’m able to see the therapist I see, and as regularly as I see her. I realize that, unfortunately, having a good therapist is a luxury that not everyone can afford, as there isn’t great support for public mental health resources in a lot of the world.
- I’m grateful for my family and friends, and for the mental health community online. Even though I haven’t been as active online as I’d like to be, I do enjoy reading others’ journeys and musings, as well as the other suggestions of how to keep going when the going’s rough, or new ways of looking at self care.
- Finally, I’m grateful for all the little things that annoy me. I’m grateful that I have a job that sometimes stresses me out. I’m grateful for the noisiness of the freeway outside our apartment, because it means we have a home. I’m grateful that I’m able to get annoyed, because it means I’m not numb, and that I’m not just surviving anymore.
What victories can you celebrate? What are you grateful for, no matter how small?