This past summer, my entire reality was very suddenly turned upside down. My long-term partner died by suicide, and I was having difficulty coping with my new life. I was suddenly thrown headfirst into a deep and lasting depression.
I had lost my best friend, lover, and confidant. We had plans, through not only the summer but for years into the future together. He was also a father figure to my son, and together with his two sons our boys all had a strong friendship. Suddenly the pseudo-family unit we all had and were so used to were gone in the blink of an eye.
To further complicate the situation, I was also in the midst of major career changes that I had yet to communicate with anyone. Let’s just say my life was a whole lot of really stressful, permanent changes none of which I wanted. I was at the happiest I had ever been prior to all of this. It was a devastating blow.
Much of the summer I existed in a mental fog. I was there physically but not mentally. My mind was so overwhelmed by the tsunami of negative thoughts it just literally shut down so as not to deal with them. Anytime it would start to open up so I could function, it was taken over by a sense of terror and fear.
At the core of it, I was afraid of what my future would look like. My very secure relationship suddenly was gone, I was on my own, and to top it all off I was on the verge of making some very serious career decisions that would impact my sense of security even further.
I’d wake up in the morning with a sense of absolute dread. I didn’t want this new life, and I was terrified of it.
Each day would get worse than the one before it until finally, I was at a point that I worried I wouldn’t be able to care for my son if I didn’t make a change. So one morning I decided I would. It was incredibly simple.
When I woke up, I was going to replace my fearful thoughts with grateful ones.
Starting that first morning, immediately after I opened my eyes and the flood of terror started to overcome me, I stayed in bed for five minutes, looking around the room, and trying to think of five things in that exact moment I was grateful for.
It was a reach for me, but that morning I decided I was grateful for my bed is comfortable, not having to do laundry, it finally being Friday, for coffee, and for my son. Then I got out of bed and continued about my day.
Guess what? That day was slightly better than the one before it. So the following morning I tried it again, and again. Until I started waking up excited for the day instead of dreading it.
What I was grateful for shifted and changed significantly over those few months. It started on a very superficial level because it was genuinely difficult to be grateful from a place of such intense emotional pain. But the more and more I did it, the easier it was for me to see exactly how grateful I was.
The interesting thing is, in the weeks after, the majority of the things I found myself listing as being grateful for were all things that I had in my life even when I was at my most fearful. The only thing that changed surrounding them was my mindset.
The next time you find yourself in a rut where you are waking up and dreading your day, try this five grateful things in five minutes challenge. If you do it, share your experience on social using the hashtag #5X5grattitudechallenge, I’d love to follow along and see how it works for you.
Disclaimer: Corrie LoGiudice is not a medical professional and can not diagnose or treat clinical depression. The information she shares on her website is not a substitute for medical treatment. If you are depressed and have been for two weeks or longer, please see a doctor. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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