A YEAR LONG CHALLENGE: I originally asked seven people who struggle with a common mental health issue such as depression or anxiety, or a sense of ‘lack’ to be in gratitude for the year ahead. Each of them will represent a day of the week and post a photo of something they are grateful on this day for a whole year. So you will hopefully see around 365 photos, which may inspire you to Join Us and start taking your own. Since my first request several other people have joined us and will join up on various days. The more the merrier as the saying goes.
TAURUS GATEWAY: Our challenge was inspired by the second gateway of the Zodiac Wheel found in John Wadsworth’s book ‘Your Zodiac Soul‘ and the Taurean medicine of ‘Gratitude‘. This challenge is a variation on writing down three things to be grateful for each day. This exercise is one I often recommend to clients struggling with common mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and those focusing on the negative.
SENSE OF LACK: We have often been bought up on a sense of lack, that there is not enough to go around and can make us hoard and become greedy. On a grander scale, this behaviour is very much linked to the extinction of many species as we take more than we need. ‘There’s not enough‘ mantra, eventually becomes the ‘I am not enough‘. This causes low self-worth and confidence, this can contribute to depression and/or anxiety. Our minds are often found over-thinking in our past or over-worrying in our future, rarely are we in the present moment. Being present, means we are beyond our mind, which gives us a break from the mind chatter. As we actively seek things to be grateful for, it helps us connect to the present which is good for our mental health and well-being. Our perception of ‘lack’ is challenged when we are in gratitude. Although our brain has a natural negative bias for survival reasons, we can help our well-being by expressing gratitude for what we have, whilst we have it.
GET YOUR WHEEL TURNING: If you feel you are stuck here, and perhaps acknowledge a ‘lack of’…something attitude then join us on this journey. Being in Gratitude will get your wheel turning again and attract more things to be grateful for.
MY PERSONAL CHALLENGE: I perceive that there is a lack of money. Even as I write, I am saying ‘well its not a perception, it’s a fact, and I am not sure how to meet bills by the end of the month‘. It can make me down, it can make me self-critical and it has damaged my self-worth. I didn’t always have this block on money, but something happened along the way to change this. I acknowledge abundance comes in many other forms, and has certainly been the reason Jac has managed to stay with me despite losing my home two years ago. My challenge is a specific block on money as an energy form and it is interlinked with lack of appreciation for myself. I’ll keep you posted on how I get on over the year.
WANT TO JOIN US? This is a year long challenge to help you be In Gratitude and change things in your life. Stay Private: take a daily photo of something you are grateful for (365 photos) or pick a day of the week like our volunteers have and do your challenge weekly (52 photos). Want to Share: write in the comment section of our daily post something you are grateful for or if you would like to post a photo send to the email below. If you would like to become part of our blog like our original seven, pick a day of the week, send us something about you and we will add you to your chosen day. Email photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing any of your ‘#grateful for’ photos and maybe in time hearing how things have begun to change for you when you are In Gratitude.
I AM THURSDAY
I’m the proud mum of three grown up children. I am a survivor of domestic abuse. I was with my ex Husband for over 10 years and during those years I wished I would die. I went into a refuge for six months after the relationship ended and was diagnosed with depression and PTSD. Dealing with depression whether it’s clinical or circumstantial is like trying to walk in concrete at times. Through the support of family and friends and two therapists (one personal centred and the other an EMDR therapist) my past feels as though its finally past. I am in the present and no longer suffer with flash backs or overly worry about the future. I’ve been with my current partner for over 4 years now and I like to call him my BFG! He allows me to be me. We have 3 fur babies who take up most of the bed on a lazy Sunday morning!
I AM ‘YIN’ FRIDAY
I am a mother of two boys, originally from Surrey and now living in Dorset. I am self-employed and enjoy being my own boss. I always enjoy telling people I was once arrested and held in a police cell for two hours. I suffer from frequent anxiety and work hard to lock it away. I have also suffered from depression very briefly last year. After agreeing to do this challenge, I noticed I have begun to already look at things differently. I am driving around looking for photographs about things I am grateful for. I noticed the sea today and how beautiful it is and I live right by it.
I AM ‘YANG’ FRIDAY
I am a father pushing 50, with two grown up sons who are more like best friend than children. I love to travel. I am self employed with my own outdoor business and have been for 27 ish years! Money always used to be a problem but the last three years things have been good on this front, fortunately. My health hasn’t been good for a year or so, somethings wrong inside the stomach area and it’s still undiagnosed. The unknown makes it hard to deal with and in the last six months it has destroyed my social life, travel plans and my relationship. Life used to be fun but I seem to now be on a downward spiral, depression has crept in, sleep is non existent, I am struggling and I can’t access resources which would normally make me feel safe in life. I am thinking about professional support, but for now I will find one picture a week of something that I’m grateful for and start my #ingratitude process.
I AM SATURDAY ‘SOUTH‘
I am 18 years old and I feel about 40. I have had a very difficult time with my mum’s ongoing struggle with mental illness and severe alcoholism. Living at home with her hasn’t been safe for me for many years. Recently I came back to find her unconscious and watched her die in A&E. Staff restarted her heart and she went into a coma for a couple of days. She continues to drink. I am on antidepressants, I work with a counsellor and have joined a Support Group for Children of Alcoholics. I am slowly trying to put my life back together as I realise its time for me to get back my inner fire and start living my life. I think finding something I am grateful for each week will be really helpful for me this year. In Gratitude Saturday Blog.
I AM SATURDAY ‘NORTH‘
I am a middle aged single mum of two teenage girls. I’m studying an MA in Psychodynamic Art Psychotherapy. As I learnt about developmental aspects of mental health, I became triggered and I failed 3 of the 4 assignments in the first year. I decided to defer the second year to allow myself the time to deal with what was happening to me and got close to ending my life. I went to the GP and I was referred to a short course of CBT which helped a bit. I began Art Psychotherapy, and discovered I was dealing with Childhood onset Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) with additional trauma from adulthood. I worked hard on my self development – psychologically, emotionally, spiritually and academically as I continued my MA. After a year of therapy I had a profound experience, it felt like coming out of a dark Forest into a clearing bathed in sunshine. I felt new. There was a new spin on everything around me. I had to learn to be this new more peaceful person. I am still learning how to do this. I now feel more confident in my own ability to achieve in life and I now feel trust in the universes’ capacity to provide me with everything I need. I so feel blessed to be in my life and for that, I am grateful. Happy to continue to stay In Gratitude this whole year and share my photos.
I AM SUNDAY SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE
I am a kiwi anglophile, an animal lover and I suffer from a severe form of PMS called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), which usually causes me to battle irrational, obsessive thoughts and depressive moods for two weeks out of every month. My GP prescribed prozac, but I would rather handle it naturally and by doing things like this. I have done a similar thing with Georgie a few years back, and it was a life saver. I was dealing with an unexpected divorce, which caused home and job loss, and I ended up sofa surfing. Here I am again, this time taking a photo each week on a Sunday for the year ahead…enjoy! In Gratitude Sunday Blog.
I AM SUNDAY NORTHERN HEMISPHERE
I am I am a 60 year old married man with 4 grown children. I served for 31 years in the military and was first diagnosed with depression in about 2002 with 4 years left to serve. If my illness had been diagnosed years earlier and I’d had treatment then, my kids might have grown up stronger and not suffered quite so badly with their own mental health issues in adult life. Then again, if I hadn’t grown up in a dysfunctional family environment with both parents being alcoholics, I might have known what ‘normal’ was and been stronger myself. I do still suffer bouts of depression and anxiety and I suspect I always will. The anxiety is fairly new to me; I have a number of physical health issues and I think they have made me feel more vulnerable, so maybe that’s normal as you get older. I have never really got on with years of CBT, perhaps I just wasn’t ready to get better. The counselling from Georgie and introduction to Transactional Analysis has been enlightening, sometimes emotional and a little scary, but definitely helpful. After three weeks of trying to get going, I finally accept the challenge and join you in June. In Gratitude Sunday Blog.
I AM MONDAY
I am a mother (dedicated to my children’s upbringing), a wife (dedicated to his career), and I am counsellor (dedicated to the well-being of others) – all of which make me feel whole. It’s not always been like this, my journey to this point in my life has been a massive roller coaster. It often would spiral out of control; from teenage trauma, to PTSD, to postpartum psychosis. I have self doubt, low self esteem and suffer with anxiety. I was lucky to have found great support through private and NHS mental health services. After a long road to recovery and support from friends and family I have become the person I am today as a result of the journey I have endured and I feel it makes me a more empathic counsellor. Mental health is important to me and I know it’s not always easy but it is something we all need to work on. One way I achieve this is to be grateful for the small things that bring us light on the darkest day. I will look forward to sharing these moments of gratitude with you over the year.
I AM TUESDAY
I am a father, a husband and cat owner. I am working with severe anxiety, panic, depression caused by childhood-onset C-PTSD on a daily basis. Jungian therapy and EMDR helps me understand where it all comes from and how to manage it so I can hold down a full time job and relationships with others. My family and friends in my life now are very supportive in understanding what I need to enable me to manage my mental well-being. One such strategy is engaging in something like this, challenge accepted. In Gratitude Tuesday blog.
I AM WEDNESDAY
I went to the university of life; living through many extremes and trying to find a balance and calm. I belong to a dysfunctional childhood family so dealt and still deal with alcoholism and psychosis. I have dealt with bereavement more recently. I have suffered with anxiety and depression. I have suffered from abuse; sexual, physical and drugs. After living with the trauma of a burst appendix, I’m so lucky to be alive, but I am now left with a life long illness which has turned my life upside-down. I need to find a ‘normal’. The only thing that keeps me sane is the animals in my life, as they are the only people who aren’t complicated. So there may be a fair few animal photos over the year! I also love being in nature and sit outside to watch sunsets so I look forward to sharing these with you too.
May – A whole year Special