This week I’m on a campaign of gratitude. It’s Thanksgiving week, and so I figure there’s no time like the present to do it. My goal is going to be to update at least 5 times this week and talk about something for which I am grateful. Shouldn’t be too hard.
Originally I started by making a list of what I wanted to talk about each day but a couple things happened that caused me to alter my subject for this first day. 1) I pulled out an old notebook this weekend to bring to yoga teacher training and, 2) a disturbing article I found online.
The notebook I happened to pull out was the one I used when I was in therapy with Jane my last semester at Murray. There were a couple journal entries in there. The most notable was the first entry, dated July 18th 2007. It was shocking reading the things I wrote:
“…How I feel is confused, chaotic, without control. I feel pressure from myself to get past this, pressure from others to do what they think is best and fear of letting everyone down.”
“I freak out when there are unknowns.”
“I’ve receded into a totally isolated place in my mind and I’ve kept myself from being really honest with even my closest friends and family.”
“Mood swings: I got the nickname of ‘Bipolar Jenny’ last year.”
“Now I am trying to face my demons and I intend to work past them. Now I feel vulnerable and chaotic all over again but the only way I know how to deal is unhealthy so I feel more out of control because I have no coping methods to turn to. I hate being vulnerable. I do not tolerate weakness on my part. I need to be a stonewall and a pillar of strength. I don’t want to be taken advantage of.”
I finished reading that first entry and it was weird how I could only remotely remember those feelings. It seemed to me I was reading about a third party. I was a little taken aback and simultaneously grieving for this girl. How could any single person have all of that going on in their head at one time? Such an unfair burden to carry. No one should live that way.
Then I moved to the next entry and was baffled once more.
July 19th 2007:
“You know, sometimes, I may freak out, but when the day is over there is one thing I know about myself and that is that I am strong and I will achieve the things I want. And I’m positive—I know I will get over this hurdle. Life can be a struggle but all it takes is knowing you can make it… with a little bit of work. And I am ready to work.”
Just one day later, there it was: hope and resolve. What a gift. How lucky am I that it was with me, literally, from the beginning. On July 18th I had hit the lowest point in my entire life to date. But on July 19th, I was already asserting my determination. I’m filled with so much pride for that girl. I’m actually at a loss for words. That girl was me. ME. I know when I wrote that second journal entry that I had no idea how impressive it was. I had no idea the implications. I wonder now if, as I was writing them then, I believed them. I mean, it’s clear I did on some level because I’m here now and I’m infinity times healthier and happier. One thing I know is that for as much as I yearned to recover, I certainly hadn’t really considered what life would be like once I had done so. I had no idea it could be so good and so free.
So this becomes the first subject of my gratitude this week. I know this seems like an egotistical way to start the week, but I maintain that until we find the light within, we cannot shine it out. But today, I am grateful for my strength, my resolve, my optimism. I had so much help along the way in my recovery but I also must recognize that without my own determination, I’d never be in the place where I am now. So I’m going to honor myself, give thanks to myself. I’ve done myself a huge deal of benefit in the past year and a half.
The other thing that brought this idea for day one’s gratitude is that I saw this article online: http://www.newsweek.com/id/170528.
It tears my heart out to think that anyone else is living the way that I do. It seems like it was one thing for me to have struggled but the idea of other people struggling is almost intolerable. No one should go through life that way. It’s just not fair. Something has to be done; these girls need to be reached out to. And I want to be one of those doing it. I don’t know how I’m going to do it yet and I don’t know what the community in Evansville is like, but I’ve got to do something. I have been given a great gift and it is only fitting that now, I should pass it on to someone who needs it, too.