Last time I made a blog post it was about depression and guns. Fun! I thought I’d balance things out by writing about an effective antidote for feeling depressed.

No not drugs. Although I’ve tried that. Extensively. Especially weed. And even though I know people who smoke weed to combat issues like depression and anxiety, I can report from my own experience that smoking pot exacerbated both in my case. But it took me years to figure that out so by all means, you do you.

And not pill type drugs either. I didn’t mess around with those…nope that’s a lie. I certainly did mess around with pills and “mess around” is a good way of describing my behavior. Though I was never prescribed any anti depressants, muscle relaxers or ADD drugs, I’ve certainly abused them recreationally.

I’ll never forget the first time (No one ever does!! Wait, what was I talking about?) my friend offered me a muscle relaxer “for fun.” Um, how could that be fun? Well, you have to drink a beer or two to really make it kick in. Hello, what?!? Are you serious? But yes, she was serious. And she said mixing alcohol and pills would, “Make me feel like a God.” No joke.

Anyway, it was very stupid and I’m lucky I didn’t develop the addiction that most of this country currently suffers from. Or accidentally send myself into a “fun” coma. I also remember when I first took an Adderall with alcohol. In this case I was told that it would wake me up and allow me to keep drinking. Wonderful. Because I was already pretty drunk at the time. Great plan. And besides, coke works so much better for that.

ANYWAY…this post was supposed to be about a good habit for combating depression. Which is?

Gratitude.

I don’t mean to get all Pollyanna here (Who is Pollyanna by the way? Is she from the 50’s?) but it really is an effective method for pulling yourself up outta the murky muck of self pity and sadness. Last time I was depressed I wasn’t able to do it but I suspect it’s because I hadn’t had enough practice.

So how do you practice gratitude? Well, not by looking at a meme of an impossibly beautiful woman namaste-ing to a rose-gold sunset with the phrase “Practice Gratitude” superimposed in flowing script. I tried that. We all have. It’s very effective at inducing jealousy but not gratitude. (Thanks Instagram)

The easiest way, for me, has been writing down ten things I’m grateful for every day. As soon as I wake up I’ve been making sure to do this and you guys, it actually works. I know it sounds dumb and I know it seems too simple but I’ve had positive results. Really.

It can be silly. For example, I’ve been grateful coffee is a thing. I’ve been grateful my bed is a thing. I’ve been grateful Stranger Things is a thing.

Sometimes the things (or events or places or people or feelings) I’m grateful for seem simple at first and then I’m reminded how profound they really are. I’ve been thankful for clean water several times. Even more so after this basic human right was taken away from the citizens of Puerto Rico. I’ve been thankful for a nice apartment to live in and was reminded of it when wildfires devastated my fellow Californians.

Maybe what we take for granted is the answer to an unsaid prayer.

I’ve been extremely and repeatedly thankful for my current job, my boss and my co-workers. After spending the first half of the year unemployed, I automatically reflect on these blessings every day. And in my previous employment…well, I was miserable. I would dread every day, telling myself to grin and bear it in an environment where I was under appreciated, taken advantage of and eventually traumatized. The first time someone told me, “Good work today Amanda,” at my new job, I almost burst into (thankful) tears.

In my experience, gratitude has always led to more gratitude. And it’s quite difficult to feel sorry for yourself when you realize the many gifts life offers us every day.

So remember to be grateful. I mean, it’s November, Thanksgiving is coming up, gratitude is probably trending.

I’ll leave you with this poem I wrote in third grade:

 

November

November is a time to remember.

A time to remember the season of giving

A time to remember not to go swimming.

A time to remember flights of geese

A time to remember that land for lease.

November is a time to remember.

 

It’s brilliant, I know.

Thank you.