Thoughts on the Value of Gratitude

Gratitude. I must admit that this is something that hasn’t always come easily to me. In the past, I was somewhat of a blind optimist, excited for everything in my life. More recently, some of the struggles in my life have gotten to me, and I went through a time where I really had to look harder in order to feel a sense of gratitude for anything that I had.

When I got diagnosed with bipolar I felt trapped and frustrated. My medicine was making my thought processes a lot slower than I was accustomed to, and in some ways this made me feel trapped inside my own head. I knew I would have to adjust to this “new normal”, and the permanence of this adjustment was daunting. It’s terrifying when something that you’re used to and that you take for granted – such as your mind – fails you in a way that you never anticipated.

During this time, the idea of gratitude felt completely foreign to me. It’s true that I still had a lot to be grateful for, but it didn’t feel that way at first. I was so focused on the things that I had lost that it was hard to remind myself of the good things that were still in my life.

At the time my mind was fixed on the friends I had lost, the way that certain people had treated me, how confused I was about my diagnosis, and the fact that I hated my medication. In retrospect, I don’t really blame myself for being frustrated about those things – they were all terrible things to experience and I don’t wish them on anyone. I had to mourn them, but I also had to get to a place where I could recognize what I had to be grateful for.

As mentioned in a previous post, one of the best things that came into my life this year is my boyfriend. God brought him into my life at a time when I was feeling very abandoned, and this relationship really helped me to remember that I was still worthy of love. I’m also incredibly thankful for my job. I have a great marketing position that allows for remote work, which is an incredible blessing during a time where many people are on furlough or filing for unemployment. What’s more is that I have great friends who DID stand by me through everything, and I’m so thankful for them.

Gratitude can sometimes require that we shift focus. Whatever we focus on gets magnified, so if you’re struggling with gratitude it’s important to spend time meditating on the things you have to be grateful for. Practicing gratitude does not mean that we won’t have struggles, and it doesn’t invalidate the trials that we go through. But what it has the power to do is to keep us reminded of the fact that no matter what struggle we are experiencing, there is always something else in our lives that is worth living for.

Things I Didn’t Know About Motherhood

Motherhood is an experience that is both challenging and rewarding. Despite having many friends who became mothers before me, and despite listening to them tell me about their experiences, there was absolutely nothing that could have prepared me for the reality of motherhood. There were parts that were way more difficult than I anticipated, but there are also parts that are so much better than I could ever have imagined.

On Weight Gain and Body Acceptance

Over the past few years, I’ve put on a lot of weight. It actually started with a medication that I had to take for bipolar disorder. One of the side effects was that I put on a few pounds. But it wasn’t until recently, when I got pregnant with my first child, that the weight really started to pile on. During my pregnancy, I was a bit overwhelmed at the rate at which I was gaining weight, and it was hard to prevent it from happening. I was constantly hungry, and as my pregnancy progressed, I replaced going to the gym with more leisurely walks because I was constantly winded and tired from my workouts.