A Year Long Challenge – We asked seven people who manage a mental health issue to take a photo each week, about something they are grateful for. Being In Gratitude starts to change how we perceive things. Read our Original Blog here. In my November catch up, I gave those on the challenge the option of leaving at this point, asking them to reflect on the challenge and how they would like to celebrate their ending. Saturday South has decided to carry on with the challenge and updates us with her progress so far.
After reading my original description of myself, a small smile began to appear across my face. The sentence “I realise it’s time for me to get back my inner fire and start living my life” really stood out to me.
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.
Since I wrote that description, I have certainly made some drastic changes in my life to find my inner fire again and to start my own journey, not someone else’s.
I left my job as a carer, which I realised I was only doing as I felt it was all I could do. I reached a breaking point on a 12 hour shift. I left and never went back.
At this point I also cut off all contact with my dysfunctional family members. I broke away from my mother and abusive family and I didn’t speak to them for 7 months.
It was the scariest decision I have ever made, but to cut a long story short it has actually turned out to be the best decision I have ever made! I realised I have choices and I am free to do whatever I like.
I recently applied, and was offered, a job as a veterinary care assistant which will develop into a trainee vet nurse position. I rehashed my hidden away childhood dream and I feel excited.
It’s interesting, and scary, to feel excited. This is all new for me. I would absolutely change my original description:
“I have found my fire and I am tending to it slowly and carefully. I don’t want to burn myself, or overload this fire. But I will let it burn. I am stronger now. This is my life.”
Has being in gratitude has helped with my life at all?
After starting from scratch, with no job and no more toxic family, I had to look for the little things to keep me going. My animals. The sunshine. My dad. My step mum. The way they work so hard and continue to smile through adversity. I realised I have absolutely everything I need within myself.
Have I really managed to embrace the concept of gratitude or still find my mind leans towards negativity?
I certainly have a long way to go and I fight my negative thoughts every single day. My step mum lent me a book by Louise Hay called “The power is within you”. This book focuses on combating negative thoughts with positive, self-loving mantras. This has certainly helped me with my negative bias towards life as I seem to expect things to go wrong for me, as they have before.
Am I still willing to continue to complete the year or would I like to leave the challenge at the six month point?
In all honesty I don’t feel as though I have completed this first half of the challenge as thoroughly / committed as I would like to have. I would like to continue with the challenge and send my “grateful for” photo every Saturday, especially as I am starting my new job and I feel as though it will help me to find something to be grateful for each week if things become slightly challenging.
I would like to prove to myself that I can actually keep up with a task I am set and look back on it in six months’ time, as I don’t have many pictures to look back on from the last six months.
I would like to say I am a grateful person, but I just kept forgetting to submit the photographs. It will be meditative and a confidence boost for me to know I have actually stuck with a challenge properly!
LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING THIS JOURNEY WITH YOU ALL 🙂