Yesterday I went out for coffee with my old school social worker, that I can call a "friend" now that I've graduated.
It was so nice to see her, laugh, and catch up on where our lives have headed.
I wanted to start with this at the beginning of my Thanksgiving post-
She had said that 5 years ago, or so, she would not have expected her life to turn out as it has now. Though she hadn't expected it, she is so happy with how it did turn out.
Now, I have not had the life experiences she has, and I have heard other adults say the same, but I too was in complete agreement.
This time last year I had not yet received my acceptance letter(s) to college, and my biggest concern then was if I was good enough to be accepted to college.
This time last year I had cried myself to sleep (or didn't sleep at all) every night.
This time last year- I was so very unhappy.
This time last year I did not believe in myself, I struggled to see a future, and fear was my most frequent emotion.
Time may not heal all wounds, but it definitely makes an impact and opens doors for positive change.
This time last year, I remember sitting at my Thanksgiving table trying to think of something to be thankful for. Not that I didn't have anything to be thankful for, I was just focusing on everything I was missing.
My Papa was not sitting at the table with us, and anxiety and depression were mixed together like cake batter with the wrong ingredients.
How can you be thankful when you feel so poorly everyday? When nothing seems to be going right? You feel like a failure? The world doesn't seem like a "happy place" anymore?
That was me.
A passage from my Thanksgiving post on last year's blog site, November 27, 2015:
[Here I am blogging now, so I’m obviously okay now. Anxiety/Panic Attacks are very scary. I remember my mom holding me earlier today and saying, “You got through both Thanksgivings. You did it.” She and everyone else knew how hard it was for me. Our first Thanksgiving was with a larger crowd, so why did it affect me today? I think I just crashed from trying so hard the past few days. I crashed hard.]
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for:
The holidays are tough. They aren't always happy and joyous, as much as we try to make them that way. They can be filled with stress, loss, worry, and difficult memories.
If anyone is in the place I was in last year, or is just having a tough time overall, I want you to know this:
I don't think life was made to be easy. In fact, I do know that.
We can get caught in the past, or have our heads too far into the future that we waste precious time worrying about what has passed, or what could come.
I am no TedTalk motivational speaker, and this may sound cheesy and dramatic, but it's true..
Last year there was a 17 year old girl who felt absolutely hopeless; believing nothing would get better for her.
Now she is 18 and you could swear she is a different person.
For her, it took 1 year to see growth; see things start to fall into place.
Life takes us through bumps, halts, and even bigger challenges.
Nobody said it'd be easy. Why do we expect it to be?
Pain doesn't last forever. Even if it feels like it..
Smile more. Reach out to someone. Be gentle, and mindful that the people you pass could be some of the best individuals the world has to offer, but are caught up in their own troubles.
Be thankful. Something may be missing for you today, but find something to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is not what we don't have, it is about acknowledging what we do have. Treat yourself with care and patience this holiday season. I wish I had known then, that it is okay not to be okay. The things that pain you the most, can make you a stronger person in the long-run. Mistakes are not the universe fighting against you; They are there to teach you a lesson.
Give things time. Time can take you to some of the most beautiful places you would have never imagined.
I am choosing to be thankful, and I am choosing to be happy today.
I wish you all the strength for a healthy, happy holiday season.
With hugs and smiles,
A Boston social work student, using writing for healing. Sharing the peaks and valleys of an empath's mental health journey.