One Year Later

It has been a year since I wrote my first blog post about mental health, Putting the Pieces Back Together, and a lot has changed. Yes, some of the battles continue and I have to work hard to keep from sliding backwards, but I am in a much better place than I was last year at this time.
My life moves forward and I know that I have tremendous support from family and friends. The heartaches that plagued most of last year are not completely eliminated, but the pain is much more manageable as I get stronger.
Life is not easy. It has moments that will throw you down and stomp on you until you are ready to break, but there are also moments of pure joy and happiness. You have to battle through those difficult moments to keep those good ones coming. Moments that are happy and peaceful are sometimes overlooked when we struggle, but, they really are plentiful. I am so grateful that I am able to laugh again, because there was a time when I honestly felt as if I could never expect to do that again.
To name a few of the other things for which I am thankful and that make me happy:
– spending time with my kids (all 3 of them)
– talking to my two youngest children on the phone
– waking up to find all my children at my home
– theatre & being able to be on the stage again
– new friends
– beautiful days
– a healthy and loving family
– hearing about or watching various members of my family do what they enjoy
– sleeping in
– being able to get outside
– good friends
– music
– reading
– writing
– singing
We don’t get to choose what illnesses we may encounter and we don’t get to choose how they affect us, but we do get to choose how we work on recovering from them. I don’t get to choose to be in a good mood, or to not let things get to me, because mental illnesses don’t work that way – if I could choose to be happy, I would (who wouldn’t?). What I do get to choose is to work on not letting the negative thoughts and incidents drag me down the rabbit hole into which I plunged last year. That is where I am lucky.
We all live lives that can, and do, encounter troubles and trials. We all face moments in our lives that can knock us down. Some of us face these moments with a brain that takes these difficult moments and holds on tightly, bringing them up at various times to make us doubt we can accomplish something, or makes us feel extreme anxiety or makes it virtually impossible to keep our emotions in check. Some people don’t get to the point of recovering from these things, which is why I consider myself lucky. Because I am recovering.  I am able to see those moments of joy and revel in them.  I am able to smile and laugh and recognize life’s wonders.
One year has passed, and I still have my moments.  I still feel my emotions scratching the surface, clawing to get out in various situations.  I feel the upset well up when I see friends that I wasn’t sure I would see again, or what they would think of me. I still occasionally feel the need to isolate, or the need to just curl up and allow my anxiety to swallow me up.  But I do something I was only just learning one year ago – I battle through. I reach out for help. And I remind myself, that the sun is only briefly behind a cloud, and that its light is stronger and more powerful than the dark clouds.  Those clouds will dissipate, but the sun will still be there, and so will I.

So, when the clouds appear, I know that it means that the sun is just waiting to burst through.  No matter how dark it may seem, the clouds will start to part, and I can look up and remind myself of The Beatles song that helped me so much – “Here Comes the Sun”


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