9 Things I'm Thankful for as Someone Struggling With Mental Illness

It’s been almost a week since Thanksgiving, but I’m still thinking about this whole idea of being thankful. I see peoples profile pictures all over Facebook plastered with “thankful” and “blessed,” and it almost makes my stomach turn.

As someone who struggles with mental illness, I often have a difficult time seeing what most people see that makes them feel thankful or blessed. Sure, I have a good life as far as people can tell. I have a house of my own, a nice car, a good job (it’s even in the field I went to school for and that was art!) and a husband who has stood by me even on my darkest days. But most of these things are material things that my husband and I have worked very hard to have and maintain.

Am I thankful for these things? I feel like that makes it sound like they were handed to me, but they were not. I am grateful for them. In my mind, I think that might be a better word.

But as I’m still here a week after Thanksgiving thinking about being thankful, there are some things that I am truly thankful for as someone with mental illness.

1. Days where is it easy to get out of bed. Some days it is not. Simple as that.

2. When my phone dies and I am forced to put it down. Social media can be a huge stressor for me and it’s nice to be able to escape it and no one can get mad that you didn’t answer.

3. Manicures and nail polish. Stay with me here. This is like the one time I can turn my brain completely off. It’s like therapy.

4. A boss, who when I say I’m running late because I had a panic attack says, “It’s OK, take your time.”

5. Medication. Screw the stigma. I am so glad to have found medication that has helped me, continues to help me and that I am able to afford this type of care.

6. Nights without dreams. Seriously, I have such vivid, lucid dreams that can not only make me feel like I did not sleep, but also screw up my whole day. Blank black nights of sleep are joyous when I get them.

7. People who don’t freak out or freeze or panic when you casually mention you have bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder (BPD). Those people who don’t really know what to say, or say something awkward, thank you for at least trying.

8. Everyone who has commented on the articles I’ve written and said, “Yes, I needed this,” “This is so me, I thought I was alone,” or just a “Thank you for sharing.” You are the reason I have the courage to keep writing.

9. And I’m thankful that I have made it so far in my battle; that I have continued to fight even when, at times, it would have been easier to give up.

So maybe I don’t have the standard “Omg I’m so blessed!” attitude, but the things that I am thankful for, I am truly lucky to have.

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