Occupational Hazard (Gratitude Challenge, Day 5)

Today was day two of Job Search 3: The Search for Employment (nerds will get that). It gave me the chance to fill out a few more applications, which was time well spent. There was some interesting time spent on the phone with my mother, which, while anxiety-inducing, I think helped to solve some communication problems. There were other issues that came up today, issues involving my treatment here at the step-down, but they still need some hashing out before I’ll feel up to talking about them here, if at all.

I think the big thing today was the chance to get out and help some friends here in Houston. I’ve been going to a Tuesday DBSA meeting with one for the last few weeks, and today I went to help her move some furniture into her sister’s house, along with another gal formerly in the step-down. I think this was a big step, because it tends to be important when someone chooses to expose their family to other people from the program. It requires a degree of trust that is slow to come by, and so I was not only happy to help but felt honored to be trusted that much. I know how hard it can be to come to trust others – I have pretty big issues with trust and friendship myself. I hope I can prove myself worthy of that trust.

That trust being placed in me is, in fact, the first thing I am grateful for today. With what many of us in the program have been through, trust is a rare commodity. It is hard for people outside of the mental health community often to understand what those of us with mental illnesses and disorders have gone through, and that separation can make it difficult on us. It makes it hard to get to know people when you don’t know who will understand you, and when you don’t know who will understand, you don’t know who to trust. Mix in a fair amount of issues like abuse, anxiety, and other social problems and trust can be as rare as gold. So for the trust that has placed in me, both today and by others here, I am grateful.

I hate to say it, but I am also grateful for a little privacy. After my previous roommate left, he was replaced with another guy yesterday, barely giving me time to clean up the room. In an odd twist, he decided to take up residence in one of the step-down program’s other apartments, leaving me alone in my room again. While I liked my first roommate here, it is nice to be able to read in bed before going to sleep, and I don’t have to rush myself in the shower so that two people can get washed up before heading to groups in the morning. There are definitely perks from being alone in a room, though I do still prefer to have an apartment-mate, something I am still working on for my apartment once I leave the step-down program.

Third, and this one is ridiculously shallow, I am grateful for pizza. After some intense furniture-moving in ridiculously hot temperatures, and eating a small breakfast and a healthy lunch, my stomach was crying out for something worse for me, and pizza (pardon the pun) delivered.I tried out a new place for delivery, and it is good, even trying out mushrooms on my pizza (something I’ve never done before – I didn’t like them before coming to Menninger). Pizza is one of my favorite foods, even though it is bad for me – which is a subject I an go on about for a while, believe me – and I’ve been trying to ferret out the good pizza places in the area. Other places too, but more pizza places deliver than any other cuisine.

As for a positive experience, I again have to go with earlier today when I got to help my friend move furniture. I got to spend time with friends, which is always nice, especially when they’re such cool people. I got free lunch, as the mother of the furniture-needing sister (and my friend) insisted on picking up the tab in return for the help moving furniture. I got the chance to exercise in a setting where I didn’t have to worry about keeping myself occupied, which is always something I have problems with – keeping my mind occupied while my body is busy exercising is always rough. All in all, it was a good time with good people, and I’d be happy to do it again.

As far as exercise, the aforementioned furniture-moving handled that; in the heat here in Houston, it was like running a marathon carrying heavy things. Meditation was a little more difficult today, because I was pretty busy for most of the day, but I managed to fit in a few minutes here and there. And I did manage to send off a note to a friend – two, actually, one who left the program today and the one who trusted me enough to help her with moving.

There were some appointments that got rescheduled today, but both were rescheduled for tomorrow. Both promise to be interesting, at the very least. So tomorrow will indeed be another day. I imagine I’ll have some more issues to bring up tomorrow, so I will need to be looking hard for reasons to be grateful. Wish me luck.

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4 comments on “Occupational Hazard (Gratitude Challenge, Day 5)

  1. neenslewy says:

    It is impossible I believe for people who have never experienced mental health issues to truly understand. I am fortunate – I have a mother who worked in the field and a partner who is understanding of it – for the 1st 6 months they were the only people I saw, my friends hadn’t been told. I pushed the outside away.
    I feel that I would be in a better place now if I had bowed out of work for longer and did myself no favours re-entering an immensely intense and high pressured environment. I wish I had had the strength to recognise the need for time out – I just kept pushing myself along the high functioning path. Now – I can feel how low I still am. I work everyday to get better but this illness (can’t believe our government has renamed it wellness!! Think the W needs to be subbed for a H!) has a hold on you and you cannot drive or force that’s the debilitating part!

    Loved reading your gratitude – especially the Pizza.
    It is funny that we are both posting gratitude on our blog daily at the moment. What prompted yours?

    Sounds like you are doing well and recognising your needs and how to seek out the comfort and the light. Keep moving forward and surround yourself with people who understand – which by the sounds of it – you are.

    • I don’t know that it is impossible for people without mental illness to understand it, but it is very hard and requires that someone be willing to work on understanding. I have been lucky to find some very understanding friends before Menninger, and I don’t know where I would have been without them.

      As for the gratitude challenge, it was something suggested by a staff member here at the step-down, and I thought it might be a welcome change. Thanks for reading!

      • neenslewy says:

        True people can understand it – but I think it takes someone who has experienced it to have a fuller understanding of how we feel because of it.
        It probably was impossible for some people I know – rather than all people.
        It is good that you have people who do understand and I am sure the gratitude journal will help focus your mind on good positive parts of life.

  2. Alicia says:

    I agree it makes it easier to understand depression if you have had family members or you, yourself have gone through it, but at the same time if you really care about someone even without that previous experience you try really hard and while you may get frustrated at times cause we are all only human I believe we can all be there for each other, even without depression all friends need a shoulder to lean on at times…always here for you Jamie whenever you need to talk! 🙂

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