23 and Thankful

Today I’m 23 and thankful. I am thankful for every single moment in my life this far and everything that I’ve learned. I am thankful for the people that I have met along the way, the ones who are still in my life and the ones who no longer are. I am thankful for the hard times because they proved to me that I am strong and resilient. I am thankful for the good times because they remind me how beautiful life really is.

Graduation 2016
Undergraduate graduation with my parents May 2016

I am thankful for my parents. I inherited my kind heart and curly hair from my mom and my love for business and hardworking nature from my dad. Through all the good times and the bad times, I have learned so many important life lessons and skills from them. My parents have given me so many things in my life and worked tirelessly to make sure that I had everything I could ever need. I am thankful that one of the lessons that my parents taught me was that no matter what, I am good enough.

I am thankful that they were as open as they were in discussing their respective mood disorders. Their openness allowed me to do the research I needed to understand mood disorders in a more intimate sense. I learned the signs and symptoms of depressive episodes and manic episodes and was able logically understand what was happening to each of them. I also learned through this research that mood disorders–and bipolar in particular–are believed to run in families. Knowing that mood disorders run in families allowed me to create a mental inventory for myself and helped me recognize the signs and symptoms in myself which led me to seek help. I am thankful for knowledge.

A few of my friends

I am thankful for my friends. The ones who are still a part of my life and the ones who no longer are. These friends each served an important purpose in my life. Some of them showed me that sometimes I just need to take a break from work and school and enjoy life. Others taught me the importance of having someone you can fall back on and being the person others can fall back on. The ones who have remained in my life have shown me that no matter how easy it is to be friends with someone, it takes effort to make sure that you stay friends. I am thankful for random text messages of encouragement, the phone calls freaking out about something (insignificantly) huge, and for all my friends, past and present.

I am thankful for my diagnosis. At times, it is hard to be thankful for my bipolar disorder but in the grand scheme of things I am. I am thankful that I have had to learn to live with an illness that makes me work harder. One that makes me think twice before acting; one that has torn me down; one from which I built myself back up. This diagnosis has connected me to a community bigger than me and has shown me that no matter how things look on the outside, everyone is fighting their own battle. I am thankful that I do not have to fight my battle with mental health alone and that there are resources like suicide hotlines, counseling services, and pharmaceutical medication to help me regain control of my life.

Halloween 2016

I am thankful for my boyfriend. The person who confronted me about my mental health and the person who has stood by my side through the good days and the (very, very, very) bad days. The person who constantly reminds me that there isn’t anything wrong with me and encourages me to be the best version of myself. I am thankful for the love he shows me and the comfort he provides me.

My great-grandma, Mimi, at age 102. November 2015

I am thankful for those who aren’t here anymore. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my loved ones who aren’t here anymore. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss them. They were a big part of my life, helped show me so many things in this world and reminded me that no matter what is going on, you have to keep fighting. I am thankful for the love and memories.

I am thankful for so much every day but today my heart is filled with love knowing how beautiful my life truly is and all the wonderful people and things in it. I am thankful for my life.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to reflect on what you are thankful for, whether it be your dog, your family, your health, or yourself. Thank for you taking the time to read this post and for impacting this beautiful life of mine.

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