gratitude

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Life is really good. I am so grateful. I feel so blessed. I am so happy to be here and be healthy.

Three years ago today I started my healing journey by asking for help. I was at the bottom of the deepest darkest pit and I could barely see a sliver a light shining down on me and I took that as my sign to walk through the doors of a hospital and express the turmoil I was in. It wasn’t easy. It was ugly, uncomfortable, scary, traumatizing, and it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life but I am here to tell you it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I learned more about myself from that week in the hospital than I had learned in my 34 years at the time.

It was a crash course in all things mental illness for me. I learned about medication, side effects, advocating for myself, and balance. I learned that trauma is the root cause of most mental challenges. I learned that no doctor has all the answers. That medicine isn’t a perfect cure-all. That every body is different and requires different individualized care. I was reminded of my faith. I learned to fight for myself.

It was clear that I lacked the tools I needed to cope and so I began working hard to sort it all out the best I could and I wished that I had made the effort sooner. That sentiment might resonate with some of you because you are here and reading this. You may be searching for answers and hoping to find help. I am happy to be part of your journey to find healing and I hope you have found my space here to be safe,  helpful, and honest.

On that note…I have a new resource to share with you. It’s an article and PTSD self-test by Safe Harbor House. You can take the screening which is based on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It’s the standard reference used by healthcare providers to diagnose mental health and behavioral conditions. The article also offers information about signs, symptoms, risk factors, treatment, and self-care. It’s a very thorough resource and I was glad to have found it. Please share it with anyone who you feel might be suffering from PTSD!

Three years ago, I could have used this resource myself. Now I am just blessed to be able to share it with all of you.

 

Grateful

Life has been busy lately and I have been working on a few passion projects that I pray will come to fruition in 2019. And as my energy has shifted towards the birth of these projects I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude. I am so grateful to be here, to be doing well, sharing a beautiful life with my family, and for the growth and clarity I have been granted this year. God is so good!

I wanted to reflect on gratitude this week with Thanksgiving upon us for a few reasons.

The first being that we, our country and world, are facing such turmoil lately. Fires, mass shootings, terrorism, political unrest, trauma, and pain. Where many see an endless mess, I try and focus my energy on the countless opportunities we have to turn it around. I think an easy way to start this positive ball rolling in our own lives is to focus on what we are grateful for and reflect that for others. I know for me when I was sickest there were people close to me that encouraged me just by expressing how thankful they were for me, for my friendship, and love and that appreciation saw me through times when I couldn’t see my own value, worth, or purpose. Imagine how we could change the world by expressing our love and gratitude to those around us who are struggling? I see a positive domino effect of difference being made!

My second reason for my reflection on gratitude is that it’s free. With the holidays upon us I feel like many people, myself included, get wrapped up in the sales, gift buying and giving, parties, and extra expenses that aren’t really what this season is about. I know for me all these extra commitments can leave me feeling frazzled. So I am committed to investing some of this energy I have wasted before towards the gratitude I want to express and share with everyone around me. I think it’s the most beautiful gift to give and receive.

Third, did you know that expressing gratitude is scientifically proven to improve your health, well-being and relationships? In this article, published by Harvard Medical School, the process of expressing gratitude results in people connecting to something larger then themselves and ultimately leads to greater happiness, positive emotions, improves health and builds stronger relationships.

The article details some easy ways you can cultivate gratitude in your own life and here they are;

Write a thank you note — I love writing thank you notes and receiving them too!

Thank someone mentally — this takes no time and little effort but can make a difference.

Keep a gratitude journal — I personally do this and believe it to be a great practice!

Count your blessings every day — Amen!

Pray and Meditate — two of my favorite things to do!

My gratitude journal starts with these people and moments we’ve shared together recently!

Gratitude

How do you find gratitude during difficult times? As I write this I am going on my seventh night in a row of very little sleep. My heart has been racing for just as long. I am exhausted, anxious, restless, and hopeful. Hopeful that this is the last day I will spend feeling this way and grateful for God’s promise to grant me peace.  

A few months back when I was going through a similar transition with my medication and supplements I met with my hypnotherapist.  It was a powerful session. One she had to eventually shake me out of.  Not remembering it I asked her to remind me about where my subconscious mind had just taken me.  She said that she led me to a place where I met Jesus and He told me that when I am having a hard time that He will lift me up and carry me in His arms and that when I look back on my life’s path, I will see times where my footsteps are there, and others were His footsteps are only visible.  

I know that when I look back on this past year one day I will mostly see His footsteps. What I will also see are the faces of the amazing people who have given me their love, friendship, care, faith and prayers.  

As I drove home from my therapy session that day I had a moment of revelation. I suddenly felt that God is using these difficult moments on my path to lead me closer to Him and that I should be grateful for the chance to trust in His embrace.  Immediately I was flooded with a feeling of peace and understanding. 

I hope for that peace and understanding today.

On the heels of the terrorist attack in Manchester, I think it is important to remember that God is with us in those moments of terror and trauma. That He is with us while we grieve those who were lost.  He is with us while we search for understanding and closure.  He is with those of us who are re-triggered when we hear of another senseless act.  He is with us even when we can’t see him though the darkness.  He is so faithful to us through it all — and we can jump into His arms anytime we need for Him to carry us for awhile.