Attitude is Everything

When I created this blog I wanted it to focus on positives. I wanted to tell my story, say things that I felt like needed to be said, but to always take a positive view of the subject. I also felt that it was important to be genuine. I did not want to spout out things that didn’t resonate with me or were not coming from who I am or who I am trying to be. What I try to convey is a message of hope and gratitude, but also one of understanding. I want people who see this to learn about mental illness. I want them to come away from this possibly knowing more about what it is like to have a mental illness or that there are ways of coping. In the interest of honesty, I am not OK.

I have been struggling quite a bit over the course of the last month. Sometimes mental illness symptoms or markers come without triggers, warnings, or explanations. This current round of struggles, I can see, has a source, or many sources. I have been dealing with some physical ailments and flair ups with the health of my back. Several family members have also been dealing with ailments and illnesses. There have been pressures from outside of the home that have affected my well being and within the last six months we have had to say goodbye to two of our beloved pets.

The end of last year and the beginning of this year seem to have been challenge after challenge, back to back, with alarming regularity. Because of this I have had anxiety attacks at a level and frequency that I have not experienced in many years. My moods have also been cycling at a pace and amplitude that I haven’t had to deal with in quite some time. This has been some tough going for me, and for my family, who also have to deal with these things happening to me, all the while dealing with their own issues.

I share these things, not because I am trolling for sympathy or trying to paint a bleak picture of how my life is. I share them because, in the grand scheme of things, I am OK. Comparing what is going on in my life and how it is affecting me with similar moments in my past, things are so much better. I ma staying out of the deep shadows and my episodes are far less severe than they would have been during previous points in my life. One of the reasons for this, I firmly believe, is attitude.

I am in a better place now, with how I am viewing my illnesses and how I deal with them. A key factor in this is having an attitude or outlook that comes from a place of gratitude. While things are going wrong or are less than ideal, I do my very best to look for what is right, what is good and what is positive. This does not keep these swings and attacks from happening. It does not keep those thoughts of suicide from sneaking in, but it lessens them. The stinking thoughts or hurting myself are passing whispers. The anxiety attacks are big but short lives, by comparison, because I know, in my heart, these things will pass. I know what is triggering them and I feed them, not with more dark thoughts, but with healthy thoughts.

I am not OK, for moments, and minutes, but I am OK today, because I am working with the tools I have learned through Cognitive therapy, and talk therapy. I am using my spiritual practice, and I am keeping and attitude of remembering everything that is wonderful about my world right now.

Yes, it is an exhausting life to deal with these things all the time, but it is still a life worth living. There are so many good things in it. My life is damaged, difficult, and challenging, but it is beautiful.

There is a phrase that I have adopted, “It’s a beautiful glass”, and it comes from a man named John Halcyon Styn. Here is the video.

Love and light to you as you meet your own struggles today and every day,

Rev J

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