Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fighting for that "Gratitude Attitude"

As you may or may not know, many years ago I created a website to reach out and offer peer support to other mothers who understood what it's like to experience PostPartum Mood Disorders (the main web page is at if you would like to visit, but I've not been great about updating it). I sometimes journal there, and the following is the body of my most recent entry. I thought it might be worth sharing here.

Hmm, shall I try to remember all the "disasters" that have befallen me since my last journal entry? In no particular order, my dishwasher died, my laptop had SMOKE coming out of it when in use and is now in pieces waiting for a part that my DH ordered from China or something so it won't be fixed for a while, and I guess the "big" one is that I rolled and totalled my car (which, by the way, was just paid off earlier this year) a mere four days before my 39th birthday. There were a few other smaller "oh crap!" things, but I think those are the highlights.

I'm still doing physical therapy for my foot/ankle injury and still having to deal with nerve damage issues. I do have some more feeling in the foot, but the feeling that has come back is all pretty much just pain. For example, the simple act of a light touch on portions of my foot (which would normally feel soothing or ticklish) HURT like crazy. Putting on a sock is sort of like ripping a reeeeeally sticky bandage off.
It's also prime time for me to have my big fibromyalgia flare-ups, which happens whenever the weather changes fairly drastically (so let's just say the change of seasons is more than just watching the trees do their thing for me). I've sometimes described fibromyalgia as being a bit like arthritis for the muscles, tendons and tissues of the body. I've also sometimes described the pain as feeling like someone's beaten parts of me with a bag of hammers. In other words, ouch!
DH still doesn't have a job, and I obviously am not suitable for the work force, so money is...well, let's just say I'm pretty much constantly on edge about all things money.
This week is a hard one because Friday would've been Daddy's birthday, and Sunday would've been my parents' anniversary (their 57th, I believe, if Daddy were still around). So that's on my mind.
Now, given alllllll this crapola, you'd think I'd be depressed as hell. Well, you'd be a point. But today I changed the title of my journal to "Fighting for that 'Gratitude Attitude'" for a reason. I changed the title to reflect the way I want to approach the challenges I face.
I've got a lot to be thankful for, even in the face of all that's gone wrong in my life.
Yes, I totaled my car that we'd finally paid off. But when that wreck happened I was going with the flow of heavy traffic on the interstate at about 65mph. I hit something on the road, had a blow-out of my front right tire, went up an embankment, hit tree branches at the top, turned at some point, and rolled back down. My car landed on it's wheels, my right foot's toe wedged UNDER the brake pedal and the heel wedged on TOP of the gas pedal. The motor was still running and revved up, and I was now FACING thick oncoming 65mph interstate traffic. But I'd landed against a guardrail which prevented me from driving full throttle into oncoming traffic. My car was totaled, but aside from a bit of bruising from the seatbelt, bruising on my legs from the dash and steering wheel, bruising on my shoulder from slamming against the door, and general trouble from mid-back up...I was okay. I didn't hurt anyone else outside of my car, and I was alone inside of my car.
IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH WORSE. I could have left my children without a mother that night. When I'd told my DH goodbye that evening, it could have been the last time.
Sometimes I know my friends get a bit annoyed with me, because when I speak about anything that's gone wrong in my life, I almost always preface it by saying "it could always be worse". But if I ONLY thought about the bad things, I'd be miserable all the time (in spite of the fact that I'm a Prozac-for-life woman). Now, don't get me wrong - it's not always easy (and sometimes, on my bad days, not even doable). It can be REALLY hard work to shut down the "stinkin' thinkin'" that often circles around in my head. It can be REALLY hard to challenge the negative talk I sometimes give myself.
Some things are WORTH the hard work, and retraining my brain to challenge the negative, to strive to find the positive, is WORTH it.
Yes, my foot is painful...but I still have a left foot, and pain means I'm getting back some of the nerve activity that I thought might be gone forever. Yes, my dishwasher is broken...but I have two hands. Yes, my computer is broken...but I can get a little time on a computer elsewhere. Yes, I totaled my car...but no one was seriously injured or worse, including me. Yes, my house is messy...but I have a roof over my head. Yes, sometimes I feel lonely...but I can find a way to reach out to a friend or a family member or a neighbor or even a stranger at the grocery store, and if I can help someone else or brighten someone else's day it makes me feel better and a little less lonely.
I'm not always successful at it, but I'm fighting for it - fighting for that "Gratitude Attitude".
I hope you'll fight for that, too.

1 comment:

  1. My dishwasher and garbage disposal are broken. Hands or not, I can't do dishes. So it really could be worse. Hope everything gets better. Keep fighting.


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