• Maz Connolly

STRENGTH in Recovery – Part 6

What have we got to be grateful for?

You may be wondering why I decided to include being grateful as one of the definable characteristics of someone who has recovered or is recovering from a mental health illness. Sure, strength, tenacity and resilience all make sense – they are what get us past the starting point and ensure that when we start to re-experience emotions and learn more about our authentic self, they are what keep us moving in the right direction. But learning to be grateful is just as important because it helps us accept where we are and where we have been. It helps us with being comfortable in our own bodies, to be natural in all we do and experience and to be at peace with the lot life has dealt us.

When caught in the grips of an illness, especially one that affects our mental health it can be difficult to see what is happening around us. The illness becomes all consuming and it can feel like nothing and no one else matters. We are completely alone, we believe nothing will ever get better and trying to see any kind of positive becomes impossible. The more ill we get the more bleak and dark the world becomes, but as we begin our journey into recovery the light slowly returns to our world and for that we begin to develop a sense of gratitude.

We are #grateful that we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.

We are #grateful that we are beginning to feel something other than pain.

We are #grateful that we are beginning to feel our own strength.

We are #grateful for the people we have around us.

And we are #grateful that we survived.

Yes we’ve been through difficult times. Life has thrown us a curve ball that we never expected and taken us on a trip we never asked for. But we navigated our way through slippery paths and up steep mountains and every step of the way we learned a new lesson.

We learned that not everything in life goes to plan, that bad things happen to good people and when they do there isn’t always an obvious reason why. We’ve survived, days, months and years when we felt weak and useless but with recovery comes clarity and from that clarity we begin to realise that we are so much stronger than we ever realised and part of that strength has come from the struggles we have already experienced.

It takes courage to claw our way back from the dark places that a mental health illness can take us but in finding our courage to fight we also find our inner strength. We develop a new sense of self-awareness that helps us become more accepting of ourselves and of others. We become more compassionate towards ourselves as we acknowledge what we survived took perseverance and we believe in ourselves because we know we can get through even our darkest times.

It may not have been obvious at the time but tough times teach us a lot about ourselves. So we are grateful for these new lessons. We are #grateful for the self compassion, self awareness, self believe and self confidence we have begun to develop. But mostly we are #grateful for life. In the famous words of Marilyn Monroe, everything happens for a reason and perhaps our struggles are what made us the strong people we are today!

“I believe everything happens for a reason. People change so you can learn to let go. You believe lies so that you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself. Things go wrong so that you appreciate when they are right. And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together”

(Marilyn Monroe)

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