I was going to publish something totally different today and then this morning this “memory” from 2014 popped into my Facebook news feed:
What I’m positive about/thankful for…Day 5 of 5…
1. I can run, as it may be the only thing that’s keeping me sane (I’m also thankful for my amazing coach, Rob McCarthy, who also has me running fast, which is keeping my self esteem at an all time high);
2. I’m thankful for my friends…all of you…and especially a few in particular (who I won’t call out here in fear that someone not included may feel slighted)…the really special ones – you know who you are – you have been there when I needed you, you knew when to make me laugh, when to just listen, when I needed a pep talk, you knew the right thing to say, or knew when it was best to say nothing at all , you’ve made the last 5 months fly by and made sure I knew I was a survivor. Thank you!
3. And finally, my dog, because when all else fails, I never doubt that at least HE loves me.
The day was Sunday, August 17, 2014. I was 2 days away from my last radiation treatment, and on the last day of a challenge to post 3 things for which I was positive or thankful. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I had been diagnosed with an invasive breast cancer in March, ran the NJ Marathon for a personal record in April, had surgery in May, my daughter graduated 8th grade and I lost my job in June. In July I told my husband I wanted to separate. This was August. I had been on a 5 month rollercoaster ride of emotions and toxic stress.
Finding something to be thankful for each morning is a positively powerful way to set the tone for the day. Even at the worst of times, there is always something to be thankful for even if it is simply to be alive. I think it’s a good litmus test for mental heath too. If you can’t find anything, anything at all to be thankful for or positive about, then you may be depressed and should seek professional help. Think about it. I have no doubt that every person reading this can at least be thankful that they have internet access, no? (first world problems; smile emoji).
I don’t mean to seem flip about that. I lived with someone for over 20 years who was very negative, but he could usually find something good about some small thing. In the end when the darkness overtook him there wasn’t anything he found positive even about life itself. There was more going on there at that point than a negative personality.
Seven weeks and one day after I posted that status, my husband died by suicide. As heartbroken as I was for how it ended, that I didn’t recognize the extent of his depression, that I didn’t push more to get him the help that he needed; I remained positive and thankful for those same things that I mentioned on August 17 (and the 4 days prior). It was those things that held me together and that I still attribute to my survival today.
This is my challenge to you: when you wake up each morning, write down one thing – just one simple thing – for which you are thankful. Then just before you go to bed each night, write down one thing – just one simple thing – that was positive about the day. Do that for a week and report back to me. What effect did that exercise have on your overall mood? On what you were able to accomplish that week? If you can’t find something to be thankful for, go to your local shelter and adopt a homeless pet. If that doesn’t work, find a therapist immediately.
Me and my boy Enzo, who with unconditional love, keeps me feeling positive, needed and loved, even on a bad day.
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