learning to be more grateful

Life has been a little odd recently, pretty unpredictable and a little uncertain I have been finding my Mental health spiralling a little as I struggle grasping late nights of work, early mornings and the general hardships of life while my partner is away overseas. As Christmas fast approached I juggled far too much work (completely my fault) and it had an impact. Seemingly little things before that I wouldn’t of cared less about were getting me down and more and more recently the impact of social media and the picture perfect life has had a negative impact on how I see myself. 

My Christmas Day was a rough one of being sick due to gastric flu or food poising god knows and my Boxing Day was spent alone doing my tax return, I never once ate a roast potato or even defrosted the nut roast that sits all lonely and unloved in my freezer. It sucked and if people have asked me out right how great my Christmas was I remarked it was shit, but then again I watched some great Tv and my younger brother made the wonderful effort of finding me the Lightbox I had been after on Amazon for the longest time, so it was alright I guess.

I’ve never really been given that much in the way of gifts, never sort wanting much but for some god knows reason I forget this at Christmas, everyones Instagram stories filled with laughing hoards of families, endless presents stacked high and boundless positive tweets about being truly spoilt. Its never beens something I have experienced in my life and does it get to me? am I jealous? I am a little I guess and often I forget to realise these are the wonderfully edited parts of peoples lives, the parts they wish for you to ogle at, the parts they push to the forefront. We all do it, we don’t share the fact your parents probably argued about the lack of spare chairs they’ve been meaning all year to hunt out for the in laws or the fact that the annoying uncle is pissed again by 11 am. 

It is often hard to take this approach of seeing these moments as peoples polished versions of their lives and as I said there is nothing wrong with that, but as someone who has been on social media for a decade I am a little bored of how it affects my self worth and I wanted to let other people know they aren’t alone. I think I cried about 8 times Boxing Day, not the sort thats a slight tear or sniffle, they were more Kim kardasian ugly cries. I was 4 cries deep by mid day, and whilst sorting through receipts for the tax return I came across the speech I had written for my mothers funeral, and bam! ugly cry number 5 hit me. I was hit with a wave of emotions and god knows why I re read it, (safe to say it was still as shit as I’d remembered ha!) since my mothers death I have learnt the bitterness that can be felt from one mourning person to a seemingly unscathed other human being, this emotion is what hit me most. Why was I the 20 something daughter left without a mother to celebrate Christmas with. When I look about me all I see is happy mother/daughters on Boxing Day walks, getting pissed on prosseco together and endless images of them sale shopping hand in hand (might of made that part up ha!). Those selfish uncaring bastards how dare they flaunt their aliveness while I didn’t have mine. This thought was a fleeting few seconds but it was hard to cope with as I squirrelled away the heartfelt note and pushed that ugly cry down and cracked on with my expenses for July 2016. I’m very good at ugly crying for 30 seconds and then picking myself up and getting on with life its probably not the healthiest but its got me through some pretty rough experiences.

I am often ashamed of how much hate I can find my heart harbouring when all you see and hear people say is you SHOULD root for and support others, I do fully but also at the same time that shits exhausting and I just want to wallow in my own emotions for at leat 10 minutes a day. I selfishly spent most of my day texting my boyfriend who is 4,000 miles away with genuinely how I felt and as someone who doesn’t grasp mental health or the death of a mother very well you can imagine we clashed rather a lot, he tries his hardest but I’m a mixed bag of emotions ha! 

I guess I thought in my younger years as I approach my 30th year that I would have Christmas locked down with a couple of kids and a house of my own with a husband and all that guff and I knock myself endlessly for not meeting my partner sooner but what good do those thoughts ultimately do? what good are thoughts that really I have zero control over. My boyfriend is always right about stuff like this but its never the easiest to hear when you’re having a hard time when all around you people have bought their first house and you’re still shacked up saving for a deposit at a parents house working your butt off doing freelance work. Its hard to remain positive. After my 8th and hardest ugliest cry of my boxing day I turned to my trusty friend google. I type the first thing that came into my head. How to be more grateful for what I already have in life. God knows why I did, never thought about it before and as I started to read I realised that maybe I had been looking at things completely wrong.

It wasn’t really an enlightening moment but if I stopped being just 10% less negative about myself maybe I could work towards the things I really want and enjoying what I have right now. So I was already sorting new stock in my notebook and I started to jot down what I had been grateful for on that day. If I fleetingly thought about it, I would of just gone eff all, shit day lets look forward to tomorrow. But I started writing and a few things flowed out that I was grateful for my seemingly saint like boyfriend no matter how hard I am on myself always sees the best in me. I was grateful that I had stopped throwing up, that I got to play in puddles with my nephew that morning. That I had a bed and a roof over my head and I had many sales in my shop that day. It wasn’t an eureka moment as such just a little shift in how I thought about things. I suppose ultimately thats the most important thing, when you’re in the self loathing hole of hatred towards yourself, bitterness towards others just realising that by god others have it a million times worst then you is really important. Others do have have it a million times better then you but hey but we have to make the best of what we have been handed and I am going to work with what I have so I can be more grateful, less self absorbed, more positive and thankful and ultimately that realisation to me is more important than any real gift I could of unwrapped on Christmas morning. 

As a new year approaches we often can get a little overwhelmed with the “new year new me” thing and we are cynical but why the hell not, just try to do a few little things not to be a new person but to try and be a better person then you were the year before. I’m going to do my best to stop putting myself down that I’m not 100% there with a deposit on a house. I’m going to try and be less bitter over the death of my beloved mother, I had 27 years of wonderful memories with her. I’m going to try and panic less that my ovaries aren’t going to dry up and shrivel in my 30th year. I’m going to try and be far more grateful for the things in life and really take the time to realise how hard I work and how much thats down to the fact I am good at what I do and I have so many wonderful supporters and lovers of my work but also I guess I probably should spend some of my 2018 in therapy! 

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4 Comments

  1. December 28, 2017 / 9:12 am

    it's completely okay to feel as you've been feeling, although it's the worst. i had similar feelings, to a lesser extent, this christmas, and frankly am looking forward to all of this being over and starting a new year. similarly, i've been thinking about gratitude and how i should express it more often instead of focusing on all the negatives when after all my life is not bad at all. hope 2018 will be a better one for you and that it'll bring wonderful things your way! xxx

  2. December 28, 2017 / 9:54 am

    If it's any consolation Ella you're not on you're own with some of the things you've mentioned. As someone also approaching 30 I feel the same about houses, fertility, meeting my partner in my late 20s and not being where I thought (or where society made me think) i should be. I'm with on being more grateful for what we have but it's also important to recognise that at this particular moment its hard to feel grateful and actually realising that its ok to be upset and still grieving or angry because that's the emotion your mind and body need to feel at the moment. Be kind to your self, as someone that is an Art Psychotherapist that works with children and adolescemts I try as much a possible to practise self care whether that be a nice bath, good food, coffee with a friend etc. Received my lovely black and white portraits the other week they're amazing! Hope you 2018 brings you amazing things.

  3. December 28, 2017 / 2:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing this post <3 I appreciate your honesty, and can relate to those bitter feelings of seeing all the things people have in their lives and feeling like I have nothing. I am also trying to enter the new year being more grateful. This christmas was the first year where I feel like I could truly appreciate every gift I got, despite not getting much and despite my default being to feel unfulfilled and disappointed. Realizing all the good I have in my life, like my supportive girlfriend, meds that help me feel better, and my genuinely more positive outlook on life has all helped me appreciate things more. I'm trying to tell my loved ones that I love them more often. I'm being kind to others and to myself. I'm working through my mental illness, which has been a long road coming. Allowing yourself to be grateful and live in love is one of the greatest feelings, and I wish you success in the new year. <3

  4. December 29, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    Oh my goodness, I spent my Christmas in your boat too! I had some sort of stomach flu and ended up having to go to hospital Christmas weekend to be checked over again, I dragged my sorry ass into my studio to continue packing orders and doing receipts because the tax return is fast approaching and I spent Christmas just with my husband because it was our first year in our new home and it actually sucked because he didn't enjoy being away from his family one bit. I don't understand Christmas if I'm completely honest, it's something I'm still trying to work out :/ I hope you're feeling a little better and that you'll be able to see your partner soon x x
    Ellis // http://www.elliswoolley.co.uk

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