I recently started seeing a therapist. I say recently because it hasn't seemed like long at all but now that I think about it, it's been several months since I made my first appointment. That's not really what this post is about though I mentioned it because therapy is what plays a role in me sitting here typing into this screen.
I love writing. I used to write often. I was even working on a book of short stories at some point last year. The worse the state of my mental health got, the less I wrote until I had stopped completely. Only a few people knew about the short stories I was writing and anyone ever asking how my writing was going once I had stopped was painful. I didn't want to admit that I'd lost my desire to do one of my favorite things. That my head was in such a dark place, all I could think to write was things I didn't want other people reading because it seemed so telling to me. So, I'd put on that fake smile I was so used to and oddly very comfortable wearing and would say it was going fine, that I just needed to make more time to write. Or some such nonsense to hide the fact that I'd stopped.
In seeing a therapist, we got around to discussing why I wasn't writing. She suggested I try blogging again since I'd previously mentioned that before. She thought it would help, for a number of reasons. I sat down and tried more times than I can remember only to walk away sad and frustrated and angry at myself for not being able to put anything to paper. Once, she mentioned I could try blogging about mental health. I automatically rejected that because I hadn't even told anyone I was seeing a therapist. She mentioned it again a couple months later. I tried. Instead, I took to my Twitter account and started tweeting about mental health there more often, joining the #EndTheStigma crowd. 140 characters or less was pretty much all I could manage in terms about speaking about mental health but I was happy because I was making progress. My thoughts were coming together again and I was able to actually connect with several new people who were looking for people that understood what they were struggling with.
So here I am today, writing this and feeling like a champ because this far exceeds a handful of 140 characters or less tweets. Though if you follow me on Twitter, don't think the mental health tweets will be going away because it's something I feel strongly about and I've found a little community on there where it's never discouraged to speak openly about mental health. I hope one day that's something that happens on a much larger scale and I think talking about it is a good way to break down stigma and encourage people to talk about it so it's not seen as something embarrassing or something to be ashamed of. I digress.
I decided that at least once a month, I'm going to post a list of things that make me happy because that gives me a goal to reach for in terms of getting some writing done. That's an easy subject because I've no shortage of good things in my life and oddly I haven't really lost sight of that. Which has made the struggle for mental health harder for a few reasons but that's another post for another day. Maybe.
Anyway.... 20 things seemed like a bit of a challenge but not too difficult of a goal to reach so there's where I'll start. If you've ever done a list like this, you know it's never as easy as it sounds.
20 Things To Be Happy About
1.) The rain finally stopping so I can get in some pool time.
2.) I don't hate my job. So many people I know go to work every day dreading it so I'm thankful that the few days I do go in dreading it, it's just because I know the day ahead will be a particularly trying one or because I'm in a mood that has nothing to do with work itself.
3.) Short hair for the summer.
4.) My birthday is June 15th and the boyfriend's is two weeks later. So we're having a joint birthday party on one of the weekends between the two. I'm looking forward to all the tasty food I'll get to make for that because I love cooking for others.
5.) Orange juice with a half a teaspoon of honey mixed in.
6.) Books, always and forever.
7.) An upcoming trip to Las Vegas.
8.) Our boyfriend and I just celebrated our 9th anniversary at the end of May.
9.) The smell of cinnamon rolls filling the apartment in the morning.
10.) How quiet the gym is at 6 AM.
11.) A friend is getting married next weekend and his pure excitement and happiness rises the closer the day gets and that's one of the sweetest things ever.
12.) My volunteer group. They're a bunch of weirdos but they make all the Saturday mornings I spend with them so much more enjoyable.
13.) S'more Oreos because I love almost all of the things that are S'mores.
14.) Supportive family.
15.) Having a handful of great people in my life that can always make me laugh.
16.) Vegetable and herb garden. Which is something I didn't ever think I'd enjoy but there's something awesome about being able to grow your own peppers and herbs.
17.) Board games and card games and all the games you can sit around a table playing. I grew up playing games with my family and thankfully I have a partner and a couple friends who enjoy playing games, too.
18.) The days on the weekend where I actually manage to sleep in passed 6:30 AM.
19.) New running shoes that are actually comfortable from the start.
20.) Being comfortable in my own skin.