I started writing a ridiculous post in my head last night about turkeys and bald eagles (don’t ask), but then I became inspired by all the status updates of thanks-giving on Facebook. In total seriousness, developing a practice of gratitude is something that pulled me through the difficulties of the past year. So, in an effort to give thanks to my friends, who I am feeling especially grateful for this year, I offer them (and you) the true story of Thanksgiving, 2010:
Last November was probably the lowest point of my post-break-up year. Yes, six months had gone by since the split, but the first holiday season without him was upon me, and I was lost. With the help of some good friends, a trip to England was planned out so that we would fly out of the country on Thanksgiving day. But the situational depression and anxiety I was suffering from got the best of me, and I had an intense panic attack as I was packing my suitcase that morning.
|Rosa Rugosa in November|
I called my therapist, and, with her guidance, chose not to go on the trip. I know: it seems insane. But I knew there would be more anxiety and panic on the tightly booked trip, and I couldn’t bear the idea of being a burden to the good friends I was travelling with. They’d carried me through so much already. And though I knew my decision would test our friendship, I also knew that they would have a better time without me balled up in the backseat of the car on the M5, crying and popping Xanax. I stayed, and prayed they’d someday forgive me.
I found refuge in the company of another friend, who was also going through a difficult time. We curled up on couches and cried together for quite a while, then did our best to look like we hadn’t. We joined some very gracious and open armed friends for a Thanksgiving meal. They didn’t ask me why my face was red and puffy, or why I cancelled my trip. They just put an extra setting on the table for me, and fed me, and made me laugh when I didn’t think it was possible to.
It’s not a day I am proud of, or happy to revisit. But it’s important to me to look back. Yes, I was a disastrous mess of tears and panic, but all around me were friends with tissues, and calming words. And food. And wine. And forgiveness. And laughter. Looking back at that day reminds me of the support I’m so fortunate to have, and the gratitude I feel about this is way beyond measure.
More Food, Less Pain,