This holiday season, I have a lot to be thankful for. My son, Joe, is doing well. He’s learned to manage his depression and the child I once thought would never make it out of the 9th grade is now looking at careers and colleges. I pinch myself every day to be certain that this is real. I’m no longer suffering from constant severe anxiety and depression. We’ve made it through the better part of recovery and we both can now look forward to a future. Trust me it’s not without the occasional relapse, but at least Joe’s learned how to manage the depression and negative feelings on the right path. There really is hope after all. At one time, neither of us could grasp the elusive hope. But, with the help of so many others who have lifted us up, we’ve both beat depression and are survivors. It doesn’t mean the demons won’t ever haunt us again – but it helps to know we have the power to stomp down the enemy and be healthy.
We did not go this alone. There are so many, many people in our lives that have stood by us and lifted us up when we were at our lowest. I can’t name them all, but I will highlight a few key people. I’m grateful for the Vice Principal of Joe’s school, who came to our house a few times to help try and get Joe out of bed and go to school; his guidance counselor whose been with us the whole way through high school, advocating for Joe and being his touch point; our entire JPT team especially our family support partner, case manager, and most importantly his therapist, who went above and beyond and was a support and lifeline for me as well. Finally, I can’t forget his Glade Run therapist, my family, friends and so many others who have touched our lives in so many ways.
I’m grateful for, for, for me, yes ME. Imagine that…
I’m about to say what I am most grateful for. This should be the easiest, but it’s actually the hardest. So here goes… I’m grateful for, for, for me, yes ME. Imagine that… I said it. I can’t believe it. Pressing each key on my keyboard to write this was like pushing a wheel barrel full of boulders uphill to reach the top and forcing the thousand pound wheel barrel over and watching as the boulders bounce and roll down the hill having no control over where they land! Whew, wipe the sweat off my brow! It’s said. It’s out there. Yes, I am thankful for me. I am thankful, that I did not give up.
This is a HUGE milestone. For me, it represents growth and overcoming a lifetime of self-doubt. A couple of years ago, I could never fathom believing in myself. People would tell me, things like I’m the strongest person they know or they can’t imagine how I’ve overcome situations in life. I’d just look back, kind of blank eyed, thinking, “What the hell are you talking about, because I sure don’t feel very strong.”
For most people – dealing with a difficult situation or not – recognizing strengths and being thankful for ourselves is not second nature. We’re trained by society to give thanks for others first or external factors. How many dinner tables have you sat around during the holidays and heard someone say, this year, I’m thankful for me? Not too many. Usually we’re thankful for our kids, the new job, the food we’re about to break, but never for the person who made those things happen.
This Christmas, I am thankful for internal strength and inborn desire to fight through the odds and win. Finally, thanks, Grandma, for being my role model and showing me the way to live by never giving up. Thank you to my higher power and to the many, many people in my life, who have been with me all the way.
This holiday season, I encourage each of you to be the first person on your thankful list.
About the Author
Cheryl Kelly is the mother of two and a member of the Glade Run Family Advisory committee. She came to Glade Run 2 years ago seeking help for her 17 year old son, who had been diagnosed with clinical depression and severe anxiety since the age of 12. The family spent 3 1/2 years navigating the system, advocating for help, and went through every service imaginable to assist with her son’s medical care. During this time, she was also attempting to manage her own depression while keeping her family intact. Once she found Glade Run, it was a lifesaver for not only her son, but for her entire family. Cheryl would like to use her passion for writing to share her experiences as a form of hope and encouragement to other families as they move along their journey.