We are now on week 3 of the Gratitude Challenge. Let me say I am grateful to have just one more week of this fun, fun game.
Day 15: Take time to focus on yourself. Appreciate and give thanks for for your unique personality, skills and talents.
I’m pretty sure I’ve got focusing on myself down pretty well. It’s called a blog, peeps. I have been told I have a unique personality (nice way of saying good golly, Alice, you’re weird), and mad skillz (I wroted this here post all by myself!), and talents, so many talents. Once the Things and I put a smurf through the scientific method – a plastic one, not a real one. Anyway, we now know that smurfs can’t be destroyed by running them over by a car, freezing them in water, or boiling them in water. If that’s not sciency talent, I don’t know what is.
Day 16: Stand in front of the mirror for five minutes and focus on at least five things that you love about yourself. Write them down in your journal.
They’re kidding right? Since I’m in front of a mirror, I guess I’m supposed to talk about physical stuff. Okay, five things.
1. I was going to say I was too sexy for my cat, but I think the outdoor kitty Hazel has me beat. She can slink around and twist into all sorts of shapes I can’t, just like real models. I can say I’m too sexy for your party, cause no way am I disco dancing.
2. I do not have a hunchback like Quasi. I can stand upright. Most of the time. Sometimes you have to lean me against a wall.
3. I have fair skin. People have told me I am the whitest person they know. Talk about a compliment!
4. The lines on my forehead and the faint mustache are probably not visible to people who aren’t looking at me from a few inches away.
5. I am grateful that my head faces forward instead of backward. I’m not keen on looking at my behind all day.
Day 17: Write about something you feel grateful for in your life today
I am grateful that someone out there is probably reading this. Thanks, spambot and sexy cat!
Okay only 4 more to go! Woot.
I’ve been doing this 21 days of Gratitude thing as a hoot, but I just considered that I got this as a part of therapy. In other words, if you are depressed, being grateful for what you have is supposed to make you feel better. But does it? If you’ve never had clinical mental illness, you probably think it should make everything better. You probably apply logic to situations. But that’s just the thing. Depressed people can SEE logic, they just can’t act on it very well. Here’s one example. A dirty house makes you feel bad, yes? Cleaning it would make you feel better. Therefore (x + cow = red) you should get up and clean your house.
As you can see, Mr. Sad Face wasn’t too impressed with Snow White’s chipper attitude toward cleanliness, though blowing her up with a magic wand did bring a smile to his face. That’s always nice. More on that in a bit.
Gratitude journals are supposed to work the same way. But here’s the thing. There are different stages of Depression. It’s never “cured” but you can have times of mostly remission, as long as you take your meds and / or go to therapy or whatever it is you do to cope. But if you are in the really down stage, someone telling you to be grateful is only going to make it worse. For example:
It goes a little differently with the depressed brain.
So you see the difference? It’s not that the depressed person is trying to be obstinate, that’s just how our brains work. We already KNOW we have good things in our lives, and sometimes that us feel even more down. Just because you have depression doesn’t mean you don’t have gratitude. It means you have a chemical imbalance, and possibly some other sucky events have happened in your life. Your brain sees through a different lens when suffering depression. Like the drug commercial we know so well – this is your brain on depression. This is your brain without it. There’s a difference – it’s even visible on brain scans, so it’s not made up stuff to let depressed people lie on their duffs and take no responsibility. No matter how much it seems that way – even to the one who is depressed.
Now gratitude is a good thing, and when you’re out of your darkest days, it’s fine. But please don’t push people to be grateful when that is just one of the many things they wish they can do but can’t. It causes guilt, not happiness. Coming out of depression takes time, and hard work, and the right kind of therapy and meds. It’s not a quick fix. But there is one thing that is – even if the fix only lasts a few minutes. Humor. Humor helps. I’ve been in the hospital, and I’ve seen it work with other “mentals”. It is possible to laugh in the midst of suffering. And that’s part of why I blog. I love humor, and I hope my somewhat bizarre form of it helps people, whether they are sick or not. Remember that rainbows don’t appear during the worst of the thunderstorm. They come after. But during you can always use an umbrella. Until that blows away and you just hide under a taller person. Or – I lost track of my metaphors. Anyway, this is Alice signing out, hoping your brain has a good day.
P.S. I hope you found humor in how Snow White has kind of a Joker grin (not really intended). Why so serious?