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I Want to be Thankful

During my bouts with depression I found it nearly impossible to feel grateful.  I made lists of things I should be grateful for but the feeling of gratitude didn’t reach my heart. It was a miserable way to live since true gratitude brings me a deep, satisfying feeling that brings peace to my sole. 

During times of “normalcy” I play games with myself to keep the “gratitude juices” going.  I think of 5 things to be grateful for when I get in my car, 5 things when I check my schedule, 5 things before meals, 5 things during my morning and evening prayers.  There are times however, when I find myself praying “I want to be thankful for the mess in the house…for the misunderstanding I am having with my son…for how overwhelmed I feel…”  

It is surprising, but I actually feel that God accepts my “want to’s” as much as the “I’m thankful for.”  I am also amazed at how much better I feel after acknowledging my weaknesses as well as my strengths.

 

Comments

As a Youth Worker in a high school setting I have and currently work with young people with Bipolar disorder. Does anyone have any suggestions to best support these such young people as they struggle to deal with their own emotions and the ability to stabilize or manage them as they would like. Also how they and others can best relate to one another?? And finally is medication an option as I am unsure whether they help stabilize moods or not... Any suggestions or comments would be much appreciated!!!!

Hey Leon, grateful your reaching out. I was undiagnosed and dealing with bipolar disorder with heavy dark depression and PTSD in middle and high school. There were only a couple things that helped me in those years. Feeling like someone truly cared for me and genuinely liked me for who I truly was, was a huge thing for me. So was any glimpse I had of God. I went to church on and off during middle and high school, but as I recall a lot of the more stable times in my life were when I was participating on Sunday's as well and Tuesdays or Wednesdays for junior/high school weekday night groups. Being around Christians, or people with a strong/er faith had two effects. 1. I felt inferior, and I felt like God loved them more because why else would they be so perfect and happy while I was so messed up and unhappy. 2. If I was around DOWN TO EARTH youth of faith that didn't have a chronic smile on their face I felt like I could have what they did too...it normalized my faith and illness for me. I also sang for a very short amount of time for the middle school church service when I was a freshman which taught me that serving boosted my faith, taught me commitment and gave me confidence when I didn't have any. I liked feeling that I was needed. So maybe choose the youth going through the most hardship to be the lead of a new comers experience. It will help in ways you will never understand. Let's see, what else. Medication. Ah. Yes. I refused medication when I was 17 and I wish my mom would have made me take it. I left home a week and a half after getting out of a mental health facility and the rest is history...I'm now 26 and have been on medication and been diagnosed for only 2 years. I went through WAY MORE THAN I EVER NEEDED TO. Once I started medication, a couple months in I felt like I was coming back from the dead. I finally knew who I was to some degree. I learned my favorite color, food, movie, etc. When I never knew before because I was that severely lost...if I could go back in time I would change my decision during that hospitalization about being on medication. It would have made my life completely different. Not that I don't like the experience I now can share with others, I just wish I would have spared myself some of the pain! Because there was a lot! I was very high risk for suicide. I was a cutter for a long while. I did drugs very early and drank very early. I was very promiscuous....all these things are common for youth dealing with mental health but I really seriously believe within my heart and soul that medicine and faith are the two strongest pillars. Having a mental health disorder means having an emotion disprder...NORMAL teens have a hard time as a teen...imagine how much harder it is for the teens dealing with these issues. They can use all the relief they can get and I firmly believe medication is a must if the case requires. I was really severe so it's obviously possible for some not to need medication. Therapy! That was huge too. Somehow I got put into therapy by one of my teachers in highschool, so I saw the school counselor as my first experience with therapy/counseling. I wish my mom would have had me see someone on a weekly basis outside of school though, someone more qualified to deal with the case I had. She took the time to do that for my brother but never for me. I have sought therapy as an adult though for years and there is a huge difference between me in therapy and me without it. Anyhow, I've rambled long enough. Can you tell I'm passionate about saving youth from what I went through? If you ever need more info, or someone for the kids to talk to, or someone to tell their story just contact me. 858-230-2234. I know it's a bit looney to put my number on here but I want you to know I'm serious! I'll help any way I can. Hope this ramble helps some though.

I loved your inventive and sort of athletic way of digging gratitude out of depression's dark hole. Kool. Great Idea. Will implement.

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