December 6, 2010

A Year of Grateful (or "Hey, Depression, kiss my ass!")

I have begun a new project: A year of being grateful. I always thank God for my children and the other obvious things, but somehow that wasn't enough. I read an article recently about a man who declared he could not receive anything in his life until he expressed his gratitude for the "stuff" he already had. It sparked something in me, because I was always wishing for the next thing. Not necessarily material things, but just the next step. I didn't enjoy the place I was in because I was already moving on to the next.

Then depression sat me on my ass.

And brought a deathly fear of medication.

It is possible to take medication to help with depression, except when you have a true phobia about pills. Yeah. What the hell do I take to make it okay to take the pill? See the problem? So, I've had to find other ways to keep myself off the ledge and out of the knife drawer. My answer after reading this article, was to begin a year of finding out what I am grateful for. To keep things interesting, I am also finding ways to pay it forward, so to speak.

My first task was to write a thank-you note to my principal for all the generous things she does for me. Cheap, fast, and heartfelt. Next I decided to buy breakfast for the person behind me at McDonalds. She yelled "Thank you! Have a good day!" And I did. My third endeavor was a little closer to home. Many, many years ago, there was a split in my family that caused me to lose contact with a family member. This person is going through a terrible time, so I sent him a note to tell him I was thinking of him and maybe we could have coffee sometime.

So far, so good. I enjoy being kind, because part of my happiness depends on believing in the goodness of humanity. I have to believe that not every person is looking to rape, kill, or rob me. I have to believe that every person who doesn't look like me doesn't want to hate me. It is important to me that people know they are loved by someone, somewhere.

Depression is hanging out less and less in the corners of my mind. That's a good thing. In the process, I'm hopefully making someone else smile....while flipping the bird to depression!