Everyone always says: be grateful for what you have now, enjoy the present and don’t look back. However, for the last year or so, that’s all I have been wishing for. Moving back to Lithuania, wishing my health was the way it was before my diagnosis, being able to spend time with my family whenever I want to, travel more and just be happier. These things were and still are on my mind a lot. So, what to do when you are haunted by everything from the past, your present is hidden in the mist of confusion and your future feels bleak. How to be grateful for everything you have and for life in general?!
Ever since my mental health started changing, my happiness levels started decreasing too. I guess it’s a normal chain reaction. The less endorphins you have, the less happy you feel. With my depression and anxiety, my daily life started drastically changing and it took me a while to notice it.
First sign was my miserable mood on my trip to Rome last May. Then, my breakdown and a decision to leave my job. After these events, I had a summer off, which frankly didn’t solve anything. It was just a temporary bandage that came off in November last year when my headaches started. In addition, me losing a friendship of seven years back in October, also added to my inner stress, grief and anxieties. I guess end of last year when demons of my past and future met, my body couldn’t handle it anymore.
By Christmas, I had millions of reasons to feel unhappy, sad, sorry for myself and just done with it all. Yes, I wanted to die, I wanted to be gone and just not feel empty the way I felt. When you feel like this, it’s so hard to see the beautiful things that still surround you, the people that love you, the things that you loved before these dark clouds.
I remember the times when my husband used to call me Smiley, because I would smile all of the time. If I would get a compliment from someone, it would almost always be for my smile and happy personality. I used to have so much energy, positivity, be fearless! I fucking moved to another country alone. I started as a cashier in a retail store and worked my way up to working for one of the biggest payment processing companies in the UK. What makes it even more sweet, is that I managed to achieve things in one of the toughest industries for women – finance management in IT. I used to rent a converted garage and now I live in my own house, with a garage and a garden. I must admit, I used to downplay what I achieved, almost every time someone asked me what I do for a living. Well, not anymore. I am proud of myself for where my hard work brought me.
My personal achievements and my strong, happy personality, are only few things from my past that I miss. Ability to get excited over smallest things (like buying new pair of shoes), being optimistic about the future and just enjoying company of people I love, is also something that I feel I’ve lost.
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
So, what does it mean to be grateful and be more present? Do we have to forget our past and ignore the future? I don’t agree. The more I go to therapy, meditate, work with myself and dig deeper in my feelings, the more I realize few things.
Firstly, the past is something you can always go back to when you need to remind yourself of your childhood self. You can go back in time when you want to remember loved ones you lost. You can search for the past experience that brought you pain and lessons at the same time.
Secondly, if I try and put my present in color, it currently looks like light grey. I am not going to lie; I still don’t feel great. However, I am working towards a happier self, a clearer mind, a stronger body. This time away from the World, is giving me an opportunity to start healing and find tools that can help me in my day to day life. Everyone knows that healing journey is a long, windy process. However, I am starting to become more hopeful and my days are not always dark anymore. Present is as good as we make it to be. Today, I might be in physical pain but find comfort in a blanket and a hot drink.
Thirdly, our future is out of our control. This is the hardest part for me to understand and accept. I am a control freak, I can be quite obsessed with planning out my whole life and this way, I am giving power to the unknown. I am learning to accept the experiences of present and take them with me to the future. I am learning to stop worrying, what’s going to happen next year or next month. It’s difficult and I don’t know how long it will take me to let go more often. One day at a time, is all I can try and live out more.
I am trying to heal my mind and body. I am learning to love myself more and be grateful for everything that was, is and will be. Respect your past, accept your present and don’t rush your future.