A dear friend of mine has had a rough time of it. I don’t mean a few shitty weeks or a dark season. I mean several insanely difficult years that have wrung her out.
She definitely functioned for the public throughout the Dark Time – going to work, raising a family, putting on a brave face, but those who know her well know the toll that the Dark Time took. It took a toll on every aspect of her life.
Recently we were talking of the Dark Time, and she said that she didn’t even have room for gratitude during this period in her life. She said, “I don’t know how anyone put up with me. I had nothing to give.”
Didn’t have room for gratitude. That really struck me because – the moment she said it – I knew exactly what she meant. That is a fucking terrible place to be.
That struck me, too.
Imagine being so fogged in that you don’t have room for gratitude? That you can only remember yourself as an awesome person who doesn't exist anymore, or who exists only on the periphery?
Yeah. I can more than imagine it. I’m sure you can too. I don’t think it’s just the two of us who have gotten so low that we lost ourselves.
Then she said, “When you don’t have room for gratitude, you have NOTHING.
Right now, I’m pretty deep in the fog myself. I’m feeling dark and hurt and exhausted and unsure of why I’m feeling this way. I’m angry and irritable at absurd things, and I can’t find graciousness or gratitude today.
I don't have room for gratitude today. I can’t pick up my gratitude journal and find anything to say.
It’s scary and makes me sad.
In this moment, I feel sorry for myself. And I notice it’s a yearly cycle for me. I find winter very difficult, even when there’s no snow on the ground and the temps are reasonable. What is wrong with me?
When I’m up, I find it hard to remember these times. It really wasn’t that hard to go to work or be engaged with my child or care what my husband thinks, was it? When I’m up, I think, “I will never be that low again.” When I’m up, I think I’ve conquered it. I’m in my groove.
But inevitably, something changes and there I am again, finding it hard to get through the week, the days, the workouts, the work, and the irritating little things that come up every day. Finding it hard to be grateful for anything.
So how do I end this blog post? Well, I’m grateful for the friend who told me she loved me after I dumped some irrational anger on her. I’m grateful that my son and husband have left me alone tonight rather than try and make me feel better. I’m grateful for the woman who doesn’t know me very well but rubbed my back tonight at a party because she could see I needed it. I’m grateful I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and make another attempt to get back on track. And mostly, I’m grateful that writing this and talking about my lack of gratitude helped me find some tonight. And I’m grateful that you read it because I know I’m not alone