Saturday, April 28, 2007


At Living Room yesterday we talked about stigma and how it affects our lives with mood disorders. The discussion time was good. Many of the people around the table had thoughts to contribute. But when I tried to find something hopeful to bring out of the discussion, something upbeat for people to take away with them, I was at a loss for words. I could not express myself in any which way. It was a bit embarrassing.

Gearing up for this Living Room session had been different from the usual as well. Normally I have things I very much want to share, thoughts and feelings that just plunk themselves down in my head about a week before the meeting. Then I can hardly wait for Friday when I have an opportunity to share.

This week was different. And, looking back, I can see that this was an issue I wanted to force into focus. The topic was not God-given. Our pastor has been talking about the Holy Spirit. The spirit was not with me yesterday.

I wish now that I had spent more time focusing on good stuff - positive stuff - the many things we have to be thankful for.

Syd put up a list of 15 things she has to be grateful for. Just reading her list elevated my mood. I found it healing. Susan, on her blog, always talks about the importance of focusing on our wellness rather than our illness. That, too, is far more helpful than focusing on negative issues - especially at a place like Living Room. I want people to go home, having experienced a degree of healing.

Syd's list has inspired me to put up my own list of things I am thankful for. I challenge everyone who reads this to do likewise. It is good medicine.

I am thankful for:
  1. My Living Room support group. I'm so happy with its success and the fact that participants are finding it an important part of their wellness plan. Facilitating it is fulfilling and gives me great joy.
  2. My husband who has stuck with me through thick and thin, from the beginning of my illness over forty years ago. We love each other dearly and are best friends.
  3. The freedom to live without the need to work, something that would be difficult for me.
  4. The freedom to be creative - to play at my heart's content.
  5. The ability, time, and strength to look after the needs of my mother and mother-in-law, both in their nineties.
  6. My physical health. I'm 61 years old and, as far as I know, there is nothing wrong with me physically. (knock on wood)
  7. The love of my friends. (This should probably have gone at the top of the list, but it's early in the morning and I'm not too organized.) I have some truly wonderful friends who I love very much. And love - as the Bible says - is the most important thing of all.
  8. I can't think of any material thing I want...right now.
  9. Although I cycle through many ups and downs, my depressions lately have been mostly mild.
  10. Medication that works most of the time.
  11. Having a book out that is helping people and that the publisher wants to keep in print. I thank God for having given me the ability to write it.
  12. Having another book finished, edited and polished, ready for publication. I thank God for inspiring me and keeping my focus strong.
  13. My life having come so far since I first became sick and spent nine months in a mental hospital. My medical records show that the staff there did not hold out much hope for me. But I showed them!!
  14. The blessings photography have been to me. Photography has given me a form of self-expression and a feeling of accomplishment, leading to good self esteem. It has given me a way to share the joy I find in children.
  15. My faith in a God who loves me immeasurably, no matter what.


Syd said...


What a wonderful post, and what a tremendous list of things you have to be grateful for. Thanks for sharing. You are right, a spirit of gratitude is a balm for the soul.

I know it must have been frustrating for you to not have found the inspiring words you wanted to leave with the participants at the Living Room session. But I'm sure they would agree that the fact that you've developed this tremendous ministry and that you make yourself available to them through it is a wonderful gift, even if you didn't say another word! :)

chalexa said...

I hope that, even though you felt the topic was not of what God would have had, that you realize that God uses us in our weakest moments to speak to others no matter what we fumble up on. God doesn't fumble up. He can turn our human-error into a precious moment or enlighten an epiphany in others no matter what we say or do. It is our job to be available as a vessel from God.

I hope that my piece of writing was a positive contribution. You mentioned that it was, and I think God would have used your topic just as you said he used mine.