Giving Thanks

I believe in being thankful. It is not just something we should practice once a year on “Turkey Day” but, rather, an attitude of the heart we should cultivate daily. It is so easy sometimes to get caught up in the mundane things of day to day life and to even dwell on the negative. It is especially easy to do this when you have a mental illness to deal with. My symptoms are always on my mind and it takes a lot of effort to not be caught up in thinking about that all the time. Mood swings, paranoid thinking and intrusive thoughts are the order of the day and it can be hard not to focus on that. However, I realize that I have much to be thankful for and offer my praise and thanks to God every day for all he’s given me and done in my life.

I am thankful for my family. I have wonderful parents who raised me right and have always been supportive of me in everything I applied myself to. They have always been there for me and were a wonderful example growing up. They have taken me in numerous times when I needed a place to live and now, at the age of 43, I am still living in their house. They have never turned me out or made me feel bad about my situation but, instead, offer their kindness and support on a daily basis. I also have a brother who is very supportive of me and has always been my friend. Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of kids living close by so my brothers and I were the closest of friends. I will always be thankful for the special bond I have with my brothers, a bond that God allowed me to have. They have made a tremendous difference in my life.

I am thankful for my treatment team. I have an awesome psychiatrist and a really good therapist. I go to the state-run mental health center and you kind of take whoever is assigned to you there, but God has blessed me with two very capable and caring individuals to help me in my recovery. My doctor is very knowledgeable and is also very cautious in prescribing my medication. She is reluctant to send me to the hospital except in the most dire of circumstances. My therapist is a warm and friendly person who I actually enjoy talking to, which is a big thing for me. I have had doctors and therapists over the years that I have not liked at all but these are a really good fit for me. Since I have been seeing them I have improved greatly and I am thankful to God for sending them into my life.

I am thankful for my medication. There are so many people with mental illness living out on the streets who don’t have the medication they need. I am acutely aware that this could easily be me. There is a fine line dividing those who get help from those who don’t and I am fortunate to be on the side of that line that I am on. I have seen homeless people who were out of their minds and clearly in need of help wondering the streets and that makes me even more glad I have the medication that I need. The meds are expensive but I have a pretty good insurance plan through Medicare and I get my meds at a steeply reduced cost. I really don’t have to pay much at all and I am glad because I am on a fixed income and couldn’t afford too much in the way of medical costs. This is one of the biggest things that keeps me level and sane, and I give thanks to God for providing me with what I need on a daily basis.

I am thankful for my disability income. I receive SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance. I qualified for this because I have a work history and have paid enough into the system over the years, and now that I am unable to work it has provided me with the income that I need. I would be up the creek without it, since my disorder has prevented me from working for many years now. Due to paranoia and my extreme moods, among other things, I have found it impossible to maintain a job and I have to rely on what Social Security gives me to get through the month. Some people think it’s not enough but I am thankful for it anyway. It isn’t a lot, as I’m really not getting rich, but it covers my basic necessities. Due to my low income I qualify for public housing, which I am on a waiting list for even now. So I am thankful that my needs are being taken care of.

Most of all, I am thankful for my salvation. For God so loved me that he sent his one and only son that I might not perish but have everlasting life. God wanted a relationship with me even though I had rebelled and rejected him, and he pursued me for many years of me doing my thing in the world until I ultimately came to my sense and submitted my life to him. I will be forever thankful for the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, who bore my sins on the cross and made a way for me to be reconciled to God. No matter what else I do or do not have, this is the most important thing in my life. I know that I am forgiven and right with God because of Jesus and I have been accepted and made a new creation because of this. I no longer have to fight this fight by myself and I have the promise of eternal life to look forward to. Even on the darkest of days I know that my future in Christ is bright and he gives me the hope I need to press on and overcome.

I have much to be thankful for. I do not always give thanks enough and I sometimes want more than I need. But I am always brought back to the place of humility where I realize that things could be so much worse for me. God has been especially good to me and I am thankful for that. I know that I deserve to be cut off from him and punished for my sins. I shouldn’t have the blessings upon my life that I have. And yet, here I am. In his mercy, God has seen fit to care for me and give me the things I need and many things that I want. Today, I remind myself of this and offer my sincerest thanks to the one who provides for me and takes care of all my needs. For without God, I would have nothing.



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