There have been some hard days recently. Days on which keeping this gratitude diary becomes very important to me. Days on which it would be easy to feel miserable because it is so hard to continue. Days on which every single thing is a fight inside on a scale of The Battle of Waterloo. And the cannons sound just as loud.
These were such days. Each of them was hard.
1st August - I couldn't leave the house and hid away for much of the day. Having done so well when out for a few hours the day before I was still in recovery. Some tears. Physically shaking for quite a while. Yes. I could watch the shaking. So much I wanted to do. So little I could do.
2nd August - a really horrible time. I did manage to buy some food ingredients but couldn't do food. Yeah, I got through the electrolysis okay but it wiped me out completely.
3rd August - forcing myself out and getting overwhelmed, getting lost, getting more overwhelmed and spending quite a period walking alone outside unable to stop talking but only able to say "Carry the cat." Getting dizzy and giddy and nearly falling down a steep hill away from any paths.
4th August - buying a ticket to Crawley and everything from last year coming flooding back, the pretty total collapse I had a year ago that meant I couldn't go there, the struggles earlier in the year when I was there including the hallucinations I suffered in the nights. Heading to town to do one little job, getting there and being so overwhelmed and having sensory issues ramped up to twelve (it's one more than eleven) and having to leave, failing to do that job, getting even more overwhelmed in the street and bloody hell it was pretty damn shit!
During those days I could have given a lot more details about the things I just couldn't do. Every single day is hard. Every single day there are problems and I work extremely hard so that if I am with people outside of this house they don't know that anything is wrong. I remember during my worst ever breakdown when I was self harming multiple times every day just to get through and stay alive, people would eventually find out - because I'd say - and they wouldn't have had a clue that I wasn't a happy little bunny bouncing away in the woods to a home filled with carrots.
But I don't write a "being unhappy and finding the difficulties" diary. I write a gratitude diary.
And so the memories of all the dren fade away. But the things for which I am grateful each day remain. I can look back and smile. And I can set the screensaver to show me all the gratitude posts or all the other wonderful things that I've done and seen in the last year or so.
The last year has had so many unexpected moments and themes and directions. It's been amazing. Bloody hard. But amazing.
Here then are four days that I could choose to moan about but choose to celebrate.
Hard day. Much physical shaking. Much mental dren. And no snazzy photos taken!
But I just blogged about why keeping a gratitude diary is important to me on every day, including the hard ones. So here goes:
Grateful for words. Grateful for writing blog posts. For the memories they bring back. For the humour that can go into them at times. For the seriousness too.
Grateful for puzzles, today in particular for the killer sudoku book that kept me company.
Grateful that even on a dren day I could still read some of a book. That's progress.
Grateful that a year ago I encountered a quote by Jim Palmer. Grateful for all those who have given me some strength on my journey out of soul destroying religion. The quote wasn't the one in this picture.
The picture asks questions. All my answers used to be no.
Grateful that I have a conference and a festival to look forward to this month.
Grateful to have started to rearrange the new art room into something more comfortable to sit in and where the table is closer to natural light.
Grateful that the state of my head today is just for today. Not for yesterday. Not for tomorrow. And certainly not forever.
And then there's this. It's a biggie:
Grateful that I have a piece of paper dated three years ago today. It's my deed poll certificate from when I changed my name legally to Clare.
Some days are bloody difficult. But life is amazingly better than it was three years ago. It's better than it was one year ago. And compared to just four months ago it's pretty damn stonkingly good.
Yep. That's enough thankfulness for a "bad" day. The actual lists we could all write if we were to stand back - in good mindful manner - and step out of our own dramas are very long ones.
Some things hurt. I struggle with electrolysis. Total meltdown would be easier than getting it done.
Grateful to have got it done yesterday and that, very slowly, it has the desired result.
Grateful for soft toy friends to help me through it and for peaceful music through my headphones.
This time, from a set of very ambient music that Moby released for free.
Grateful too for the Metro and for the difference public transport makes to my life.
Yesterday I travelled in carriage 4041 which is the first to be named after someone.
Grateful to have not stayed at home even though I wanted to. Managed a walk instead although my head was such that I got lost several times and my lack of balance today would have ended very badly had there not been a tree to fall into. Yay for trees.
But the walk contained some superb sights, only some of which were photographed - hey, an excuse to return.
One of these pictures is where I ate lunch. The other seemed a good place to stop for a drink and gaze down on what Blob decided was the Lost World.
Grateful too for the shop by Wilko's in Gateshead - six packets of Snowy Road treats for a Pound.
Rough day. And I just bought a train ticket to Crawley. That would be a bad enough fate for anyone but I have extra motivation to dread being there.
Anyway. Grateful today that I just about avoided breaking down in town having already completely failed to do the one thing I had wanted to do. Avoidance was thanks to a newish charity shop. And thanks to Amanda and text messages too.
Love the art.
Love the most cuddly giraffe ever.
Love the book.