Posts from the ‘Thanks to Thanksgiving’ Category

Twelve Years

Today, as I do every single Thanksgiving, I would like to express my thanks for another year. Alive.  Happy.  Healthy.  Not in the hospital or in the throes of the worst depression or terrifying mania.

Twelve years ago, I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar.  I was in the mental hospital and I finally had a diagnosis.

That first year after my diagnosis, my first year out of the hospital, I went to Fellowship of the Rings with my father (yyyeeeeeeaaah, I’m awesome like that–a daddy/daughter date to all the movies was his Fathers’ Day present that year).  We came out and it was snowing.  All of sudden, it impressed upon me that I was there to see it.  I got to see the first snow of the Christmas season.  I was, by all comparisons I had at the time, well.

Of course, I had no idea what it meant to be truly well.  I’m still not sure I do.  But that moment was so REAL to me.  It still is.  It still feels like the first real memory I ever had.  Since then, I’ve had a few precious moments like that one.  And I’ve been here for them.  I am getting better each year.

Each year, as we go around the table saying thanks, this is what I mention.  I haven’t gotten tired of it.  I don’t think I ever will. It’s not that my mental health is THE most precious thing to me, but it does allow me to experience with clarity and a stunningly broad spectrum the things that are most precious to me: life, love, faith, family–these are what I cannot be without.  And it is with my health that I am able to hold onto them.

A dozen years.  I cannot believe it, even having lived through them.

I so very thankful, for–by all comparisons that I have available to me at this time–I have the best of news: I am WELL.

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You’ll be there.

About a month ago . . . two months . . . oh my goodness that is INSANE . . . any way, starting over.

About TWO months ago, I shared some very personal information with a friend.  (Yes, personal enough that I will NOT be sharing it on this blog for now.  Sorry, part of my life is still internet free.)  This was not the first or last friend I shared this with.  But, for whatever reason, this kind of felt like a watershed moment.  I think it was because he was the first person I was telling that I didn’t know how he’d react.

Thankfully, he reacted well.  I can’t say better than I expected because, well, clearly I didn’t know what to expect.

Since then, he and I have only talked about this once or twice.  It’s not that we’re avoiding the topic, it’s just that we don’t need to talk a lot about it.  But, in those two times of talking, he has been INCREDIBLE.  He has let me know of his love, support, and concern for me.  I know that this young man will advocate for me as long as we’re part of each other’s lives.

And that feels awesome.  Because, when I trusted him with this sensitive information, I didn’t know what he was going to do.  And yet, I made the choice to trust him.  I am overcome by the response.

I’ve repeated this several times with so many different aspects of my life.  Telling people I’m LDS used to be scary, because my church has a bad reputation in some circles.  Scariest thing for the longest time was to tell people I’m Bi-Polar.  Sometimes it’s still difficult because of that stupid stigma that SHOULDN’T BUT STILL DOES follow mental disease.  Oh my goodness.  But, I’m a lot less terrified than I used to be.  And, clearly, if it’s on the internet, I’m at the point where even if I’m scared of sharing it, I still will.  Seriously, no such thing as secrets on the internet.

Without exception, that choice to take the flying leap and trust BEFORE the person could prove themselves was the right, liberating, and perfect thing to do.  Even when people responded badly.  I have learned that people are standing by, ACHING to be given the chance to be amazing.  And they WILL be, because everyone aspires to be better, to be more.  People will shock and shatter you with their capacity to be accepting and supportive and wonderful.

And so, today I am grateful for flying leaps.  For faith.  For trust.  For surprises.  For the desire to improve.  For the knowledge that when I am scared, depressed, and ready to hide everything that makes me me, YOU–every single one of you–will be there.  You will be ready to be amazing.

Deviant

We live in a society that does not accept that which is different, abnormal, or unlike what we are culturally trained to perceive as the “norm.”  Sometimes, that sickens me on behalf of myself, most times it sickens me on behalf of others.

So, when I am stopped and hear the driver of the car behind me YELLING, “Hey!  Hey, perv!  Get out from behind there! You PERV!!” at a young man who is, admittedly, acting a bit awkward and standing behind a large, blocky structure, I am hurt.  I am hurt for the poor, shy kid who just needed a place to lean his bike up for a little while.  He was waving to someone nearby, so I assumed he was waiting for said someone to come meet him.  The man behind me clearly had not seen the exchange and DEFINITELY assumed the worst.  I hurt for the shaming that this boy received for being a mite different and awkward.  I hurt, just in a tiny part, for me.

Because I am not normal.

I am different.

I am abnormal.

I am the friggin’ poster girl for WEIRD.

I am deviant.  I will sing that anthem for the rest of my days and I am COMPLETELY okay with that.  I am proud of it.  I am proud to work every day to live without fear.  I am proud of wearing my disease on my sleeve.  I am proud of being Mormon.  I am proud to be an abuse survivor.  I am proud to be the ABSOLUTE WRECK that I am and to be willing to discuss it with honesty.  I am proud of being authentic, even when it casts me out of “normal,” poisonous, hateful hegemony.

Today, I am thankful for passion and fire and the will to be myself outside of any person, thing, or expectation in my purview.

But mostly, I am thankful for the immense love that my friends have for me.  I am thankful for their acceptance.  They are beautiful and wonderful.  They are inspiring for accepting me and others without condition.

Today, I am thankful for understanding.

Inch by inch, row by row.

Today, I am thankful for lists and procedures.

I have a deep and abiding love of lists.  One of the things I had to do when writing essays in classes was look for lists, because I tended to over-use them.  You’ll see it in this blog, too, as you read.  I LOVE lists.  Similarly, procedures–no matter how labyrinthine they are–are just lists of actions.  For me, this is comforting.  To have an enumerated (or at the very least physical record) list of things or actions gives me something to reference, something definitive to do.

It’s been a distressing 24 hours.  I needed a list, some procedures to get to the other side of that wall of distress.  Thankfully, with the help of my mother and of some personal experience, I managed to compile the list I needed and got things done.  After following the steps as far as I could to the part of the list that required second party participation, I felt relieved.  With that relief came relaxation.  I feel ten times better than I did this morning waking up, just because I put together and followed a simple list.

Sometimes I’m amazed at the small things that can really turn around a day.  Now, if I can just get rid of this devil headache, I’ll be set and solid.

Exhaustion

Today I am grateful for the friends who stand there and let you sob it out when you reach the edge of exhaustion.  Sometimes it helps to have someone listen to the watery, choking words that tumble out when you’re that tired and frustrated.

Thanks, Myra.

Again!

Today, I am grateful for second chances.

It was a tough afternoon, trying to help a friend design wedding invites, but we figured it out after four or five (ugly) iterations.  He was very patient with me.

And those invitations are going to be gorgeous.

*snerk*

Today I am grateful for the funny moments.

This afternoon, I went to my parents’ house to pick up some cookies that my mother had put aside for me.  It was very kind of her.  She took me down to my old room to do some last minute clean up before they have house guests tomorrow.  After accomplishing the very minimal clean up (I did all the big stuff earlier this week), I sat down on my old bed and ate a cookie.

I mentioned it was nice to see and sit on my old bed (it’s been in storage for a while) and my mother looked at me on it and said, “And you’re sitting in the EXACT SAME place.”

I was, needless to say, confused.

It was then explained to me that there is a visible dip on the edges of both sides of the mattress right in the center where, being OCD as I am, I tend to sit.  My mother directed me to sit on the end to even it out, but it felt funny.  The center was perfectly broken in after YEARS of sitting just there.  So, when Mom stepped out of the room, I slid right back.

We had a good giggle about it.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what family is about.