A Thanks for Big & Small

I KNOW this is a week overdue. I take full responsibility. With the last few days of really nice weather here in Ohio had me majorly sidetracked.

I want to take the time, first, to say Happy Thanksgiving to all that celebrate it as well as those that have no clue what I’m talking about. I am well aware that the holiday does NOT have innocent beginning; and there is a part of me that feels that we need to put more of an emphasis on that in mainstream media. That is not the part of me writing this post today.

Thanksgiving has become a time in America that emblazons the thankfulness that we take for granted the rest of the year. I am guilty of not realizing all of those “taken for granted” things I mentioned. I’ll admit it. Even the bigger things in life we tend to overlook. Then, Thanksgiving comes along and… BAM.

This is my BAM rant for the day.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. This past spring and summer were really rough! And that’s putting it mildly. Based in anxiety, mania and OCD kicked in before going back to straight up anxiety. The full blown mania was around for near 25 days and sandwiched in between 3 weeks of anxiety before and about a month and a half of it after. A mix of bad decisions, stuttering, invasive thoughts, and lack of sleep make a disastrous recipe. I ended up leaving the job that I thought I would be at forever. One that I had waited years to have.

Good had come out of this last bout and the repercussions from it (not that they were all good- trust me), but I haven’t taken the time to think about it until now. Things like being able to see my nieces and nephews far more than I was able before because I never wanted to make a commitment. Not that I didn’t see them, but now… I get to be in their lives oh so much more. I’m less stressed which means less anxiety. I HATE not working, but this time has forced me to reevaluate priorities. My family was always top at my list, but my job consumed my life.

I am ALL about lists. I don’t generally make them anymore because of… Well, OCD isn’t fun. My top 5 things that I am thankful for this Thursday in November are:

1.) My nieces and nephews. I have 6 now. Tyler, Liam, Kelsey, Bella, Stephen, and Wyatt. They are my reasons for maintaining wellness. Each one brings their own dose of medicine. I’ve seen Tyler, Liam, and Wyatt almost once a week the past month or so. Kelsey is already making plans for us on her Christmas break (she wants to go to the Children’s Garden at Cleveland Botanical Garden, but it’s flipping cold! and the children’s garden is closed- I’ve convinced her to go skating instead). Bella is always game for a sleepover.

2.) Bedford Church of the Nazarene. The sanctuary and War Room have been exactly those. Especially this past summer. When my mind wouldn’t shut off, kept me awake, and was fueling my every waking minute with unsafe demands- when I was exhausted from the fight- I found peace. My mind shut off and I could breathe for at least the time I was in that safe haven. I was able to focus enough to make sense of the prayers I was saying and was calm enough to feel God’s presence. It was a place that held hope not only in Him, but in those there that truly cared. That maybe don’t quite understand what goes on in a manic and anxious mind, but that do know the meaning of the word empathize.

3.) Zoe and the barn. Each for their own reason.

Zoe. It’s hard to believe she will be mine 11 years next month (that date will get a Post all it’s own- Dec. 6th). Debbi has told me that Zoe knows when I’m on her back. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes not, ha ha. I DO know that she knows when I’m not at my best. Zoe weaves. She can be a typical mare at times. When I’m not doing so hot I will go in Zoe’s stall and just hang out there. Sometimes I’ll groom and others I’ll just stand against the back wall not able to do much else. Zoe is always calm those times. She stands there and let’s me brush her for as long as I need. I stop and she looks back at me, putting her nose to the brush, and letting me know she knows I need to continue (even when I don’t). I stand against the back wall and she comes and puts her head next to me and just stays there.

The barn. I know that Zoe is loved and taken care of there. Even when I can’t even take care of myself. I’m safe there. When I’m not myself and just go into Zoe’s stall, they know that I’m not feeling well. Everyone will let me be, but Debbi and the others will randomly walk by to make sure I’m okay.

4.) Bennett. My Australian Shepherd. Love him. Another one that will get his own post (in January). He knows when I need him. I’ll push him away at times when I don’t feel well and just want to not be bothered. He doesn’t listen to me then. Which is a good thing. He sticks his nose under my hand and forces me to pet him. When I go to self-harm he circles my legs, cries at my feet, and jumps on me when the first two don’t work. We are FINALLY going to be learning agility this coming January. There’s a new facility opening two miles from my house. Considering he will listen to me if no one else (proven tonight, ha ha) we should do great!

5.) AMAZING support. Diana and Debbi are at the top of the list.

Diana took me under her wing when I first became her volunteer. From there developed one of the closest friendships I have. She has believed in me even when I haven’t. I ALWAYS end up spilling my guts to her, ha ha. She tells me all she has to do is wait and I’ll do it. There are times she drives me insane (I will never get over her “we’re special” comment while I was severely manic) with some of the thing that come out of her mouth that I know is only doing so because she knows it will get to me (and I know that she knows that I know that). I will happily take being her “perfect victim” as she has described me. Don’t tell her. She has went above and beyond… going to therapy with me, picking me up when I make unfocused decisions and end up where I shouldn’t, and the list goes on.

Debbi has brought out confidence in me that I never knew was inside anywhere. I actually have people- notice that’s plural- I associate with WILLINGLY (shocking I know) on as a regular basis as I can manage. Slowly involving me in group discussions and even managing to get me to the barn parties. She managed to get me on Zoe (more about that in a minute). The first time was 4 years ago this past Labor Day. Each year getting me on at least one more than the year before. This year I actually lost count on the number of times I rode. Why? Because I actually WANTED to.

Okay… so there’s a number 6 of the big things. I guess it’s a good thing I am behind on this. I’m hoping I can get the video to upload. I posted it to a group that I belong to. It’s appropriate here too. The small things include having Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts to help feed my coffee addiction, amazing weather for this time of year, being able to listen to music and read my books… Things that might seem insignificant to many are crucial to me. These allow me to stay in routine and make the structure that I rule my life by.

Okay… If I can get it to load then I will end this post here.

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