Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grace in Small Things

Found Grace in Small Things via Sarah's blog.

I have a scene from about 13 years ago firmly embedded in my memory.

A little backstory: I'd been suffering from a horrible period of anxious depression, during which I couldn't eat, had lost 10 lbs, couldn't sleep, had horrible IBS and could barely function. My supervisors told me not to see clients for about a week because I looked terribly fragile, which is not a condition I or they were used to seeing. I started taking anti-depressants for the first time in my life, and prayed every day for relief. I hated that I was so freaked out and I really missed the old me. My therapist told me that it would get better, and I had to believe her because otherwise I was sure I would not survive this pain. I was never one of those people who default to depression because it's easier or a known entity. Mine was never easy and I would have done anything to get rid of it.

So anyway, I was sitting in the kitchen of the old San Francisco victorian in which I was completing my pre-doc internship. I'd started seeing clients again, and was minimally functioning, but in general, getting showered, dressed and to the clinic took everything I had.

I was eating a salad with romaine and spinach, gorgonzola cheese and honey mustard dressing. Nothing unusual or gourmet, but it was good. It tasted good and I was enjoying it. To understand how momentous this was, you have to realize that I had not enjoyed anything for several months. I tried, I really did, and I wanted to so badly. But depression is like a bullet-proof vest over your heart and nothing can get in. Although I wanted to feel pleasure and happiness so much and I would be aware of situations in which I normally would have felt those things, they just couldn't get in. So to sit there and enjoy this salad was huge, worthy of a whole therapy session. I was so grateful to God for that salad and the internal space to enjoy it that I practically cried right there at the kitchen table.

Since then, I've taken care to notice little things that bring me pleasure or for which I'm grateful. I really, firmly believe that noticing these things is the key to a happy life. Once you get into the habit, you start to have this feeling that the world is basically good, and that life is a gift, and that blessings surround you. Not that I don't have my periods of bitchiness, not that I don't sometimes wish my children would just shut up, not that I don't get down. But overall, I'd have to say my life rocks because I can enjoy salads or the sunshine and I remember quite well what it was like when I couldn't.

My 5 things to be grateful for today:

1. My great-nephew will probably be released from the hospital today, and his surgery is behind him and his parents.

2. I don't have to have surgery until March, which gives me a chance to increase my fitness level and therefore have a better recovery.

3. The sun is shining.

4. The daffodils are starting to poke up.

5. It's a hot lunch day for the boys.


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