What am I thankful for today? That’s a question I try to ask myself every day, and every day I get the same answers—my relationship with Jesus, my family, my friends.
Other things I’m thankful for include my doctor. my therapist, my medication, and the fact that thousands of dedicated people are looking for new and better cures for mental illnesses.
But what are other things I’m thankful for that I don’t think about every day? Here are a few:
- I’m thankful that we live in an age where mental health is seen as a medical issue rather than strictly an emotional or spiritual issue. I remember when I was young being told ideas about mental health that were terribly misguided and wrong-headed.
- I’m thankful for the journey my life has taken. I have been suffering symptoms ever since I was in third grade, but God protected me from so much when I was young. I was in church at a young age and learned right from wrong so that I did not make bad decisions when I was a young adult, even when my disorder was whispering to me that it wouldn’t “be that big a deal”. It was that big a deal, and I’m thankful that God saved me from having to go through some of what mentally ill people suffer from.
- I’m thankful for my various career mentors who helped me along the way. I always did well in my jobs mostly because I had good, caring supervisors who took the time to train me and teach me how to do the work and how to function in the workplace as well as I could considering my issues.
- And I’m thankful for the avenues we have to reach out to others and tell our stories today. The blogosphere has hundreds of sites dedicated to helping others by telling their stories of struggles of all kinds—emotional, physical, spiritual, and others. Reading those stories often gives me the strength to carry on in bad times.
- I’m thankful for my church that has a ministry to people struggling with addiction and mental health issues—I’ve never taken part in it, but the fact that a Baptist church in a conservative town in a conservative state has taken such an initiative is almost miraculous to me.
These are just a few things that I’m thankful for in this season of my life. I pray this list aids you in remembering what you can be thankful for, no matter what life stage you are in. Thanks to all of you reading that make Defying Shadows what it is.
Julie Whitehead currently writes and blogs from Mississippi at her personal blog. She has been a university lecturer, a disability examiner, and a freelance writer. She carries a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and blogs to create awareness and help others understand the disease and its effects.