“I hate my life”
“Nothing ever works out”
Ah, the mantras of my youth. Until my early-twenties, I was an angsty, self-destructive pessimist who thought things like ‘mindfulness’ and ‘gratitude lists’ were just cheesy, cliched fads.
However, there came a point in my life where I decided that even pseudo-positivity had to be better than the crippling, soul-destroying, internal agony of BPD.
So I said fuck it and, along with mindfulness, self-care routines and all the other things my edgy teenage self loathed, I wrote my first gratitude list.
Much to 14-year-old me’s disgust, it did actually help.
1. True Friends
They may be few and far between, but even just one true friend is a precious treasure.
Family teaches us so much, even if it’s how not to be.
Laughing until it hurts is a rare but marvellous medicine.
4. Kind-Hearted Strangers
The kindness of strangers can be one of the most uplifting, heart-warming things in the world.
Even when it’s painful, love is what truly makes us feel alive.
6. The Internet
So much knowledge at our fingertips. So many hours of boredom killed.
7. Your Hearing
For allowing you to hear the bird’s chirping in the morning, your favourite song, or your child’s first word.
For absorbing us in another reality when our own is just too much to bear.
9. Freedom To Choose
The world is growing more progressive and some of us are lucky to live in countries where we are free to choose our own religions, professions and partners.
Ah, sleep. One of the most beautiful ways to escape.
Sometimes even just the sun creeping through your window in the morning can start your day off right.
So simple, and yet so magical.
For having the words when we can’t find them.
14. Your Sense of Smell
Whether it’s cookies baking, scented candles or the musk of your favourite person when you’re hugging them, smells can help to heal the soul.
15. Movies/TV Shows
Whether they make us laugh out loud or cry our eyes out, movies are a great distraction from our everyday lives.
16. A Place To Call Home
It doesn’t matter how modest it is – our homes are our shelters and there really is no place like them.
17. Your Eyesight
For letting you observe the beauty in the world around you, from a beautiful sunset to your loved one’s smile.
18. Your Strength
You’ve made it through 100% of your worst days. You are so much stronger than you give yourself credit for.
Things we once thought impossible have become part of our everyday, and technology is advancing by the second. Who knows how it will revolutionize our lives in the next few years?
20. Your Mistakes
We learn just as much from our mistakes as we do from our successes.
21. Your Tastebuds
Sometimes eating your favourite meal can totally turn around a bad day
22. Good Physical Health
For letting you live freely and independently.
Pets can make even better companions than people.
24. Your Job
In these tough times, having a permanent job is precious. If it is a job that you love, you are truly winning.
25. Your Skills and Talents
Maybe you’re tech-savvy or brilliant at maths. Maybe you can play an instrument or have an awesome sense of style. Maybe you have a charming personality or can think up some witty puns. Whatever it is, be grateful for your strengths!
26. Social Media
We can keep in touch with people easily from anywhere in the world and maintain online friendships during those times where seeing people is just too difficult.
27. Your Education
Being able to read and write gives us so much access to knowledge.
28. Basic Necessities
Having access to clean water and food is definitely something we forget to be grateful for.
29. Hot Showers
Not only are they rejuvenating, but they give you that little bit of space from the outside world.
30. The Passing of Time
“Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.” – Khalil Gibran
Of course, when you suffer from depression, practicing gratitude is difficult. I’ve definitely fallen victim to feelings of guilt and shame, plagued by the (false) belief that I shouldn’t be depressed when there’s so many things to be grateful for. This negative thought process can worsen depression and even stop us from seeking help under the (again, false) belief that we don’t deserve it.
It is so, so important to remember that depression is not a choice – it is a mental illness that can affect anyone regardless of privilege.
Your emotions are 100% valid. Your privileges don’t negate your struggles. Gratitude won’t cure your depression – but hopefully it can provide you with a sparkle of comfort on the days you feel like giving up.
Any other things to be grateful for? Please leave them in the comments below.