Carpe Diem

Today I finally uploaded the rest of my Year of Gratitude to my blog. Although the editing isn’t quite finished and I have a ton of images to manually insert, I am extremely grateful that it’s finally up.
Seeing only half the months listed was quite disconcerting when I knew all the material was there and how much time and effort went in to achieving that year.
When I read the final post I was overwhelmed again at how much this Year meant to me. So I’m sharing it again lol.

Day 365, Wednesday 22nd April 2015

One year ago today, I started a week of gratitude, thanks in part to inspiration provided by Jo Green The Wollstonecraft Legacy. At the end of that week I decided to challenge myself to a year of gratitude. At the time, I thought it would be fun, maybe a bit challenging and possibly a good learning curve. I was wrong.

This past year of gratitude has been amazing, it has been enormously challenging and it has been an even bigger life lesson than I ever dreamed possible.

I have spent many hours soul searching for things to write about; things that are really important to me. In doing this I have gained a deeper appreciation of all the wonderful people and events in my life and I feel I have come out of this with a greater awareness of the need to be grateful and to actively acknowledge my blessings.

There have been days when I honestly felt like saying, “Fuck this shit, I’m going to Wonderland” and just as many days when, although the mind was willing, the heart just wasn’t in it. There are many posts that reflect this, a simple meme, gratitude for Panadol or some other pain killer or posts that just didn’t have the heart in it that I know I could have given.
At first, I would get cranky with myself on these days, because a part of me felt that if I was going to do this, I had to do it to the best of my ability and therein lies the answer, I WAS doing it to the best of my ability. On those days when everything felt like it was falling apart, I did my best to find something to be grateful for, no matter how small it was and that was the whole point of doing this.

It is easy to be grateful when everything is going right, not so easy when everything is going wrong. Committing to this year of gratitude forced me to look deeper, to push beyond the depression and grief, to search out the reasons that have held me on this planet for 46 years.

And some days that has been bloody hard.
I love my kids, I love my family, I love Karen, I love my friends, I love my life and I love me, but depression has an insidious way of camouflaging everything we love, it turns our focus inwards. In some ways, I consider myself lucky. I’ve battled with depression since childhood and I have a pretty good idea of what that means for me and how best to handle it. I know my triggers and I know what I can do to help me get through those low periods, but it has been a constant struggle for longer than I can remember and when you are constantly fighting something, you get pretty damn tired.

I have known for a long time, the impact that chronic depression has on the body and mind; what I didn’t know was that all these years of fighting had taken an enormous toll on my appreciation of life. I have spent so many years fighting to stay alive that I had forgotten how to live. I had forgotten how to ‘stop and smell the roses’ and it was only on occasions that something or someone would penetrate the mists in a way that brought me out of myself that I would ‘see’ what was really going on around me.

Of course I’ve had intensely happy periods of my life, so many with my children, being in love, amazing holidays or great jobs and often during those periods my depression would lift for weeks or months at a time.

Eventually though, the darkness would start to overshadow everything and I’d be back to fighting again.

But this year something changed.

I stopped fighting.

And I started being grateful, really grateful, and it has changed my life.

The depression is still with me, I am constantly aware of it sitting on my shoulder and whispering in my ear but something else has joined it. Alongside the whispers that tell me my life is shit, is the voice of gratitude reminding me how extraordinarily good my life is and it’s loud, so much louder than the voice of depression.

Today, on the last day of my Year of Gratitude, I am grateful that I committed to this and I will be eternally grateful for the lessons I have learnt.

Namaste

A.L.A.S

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