Grateful for…

T’is the season for gratitude, yes? I’ve written these lists a few years, and you can see the ups and downs in my life through them.

This has been a massive year for me. I started the year on a big vacation (great on the outside, but I was still suffering deeply inside) but fell even deeper into depression and checked in to a mental health facility for six weeks.

Back to New York for six weeks, and then I moved to California. I got a dog.

So, here’s what I’m grateful for:

The ability to access the mental health treatment I needed this year. From inpatient to ketamine, I know how lucky I’ve been to be able to get that level of care, and I know how fucking unfair it is that not everyone can.

But I am so grateful for my mental health. It is certainly something I need to work on all the time, but I’m grateful for inpatient giving me more tools to manage it, and for the effectiveness of ketamine for giving me the relief to put those tools in place.

As long as I’m on this mental health tangent, I’m very grateful for my therapist. I was looking for a new therapist even before inpatient, and my doctor recommended her. “Erica is bicoastal, and I’m sure you’ll need that at some point.” I see her when I’m in NYC, when she’s in CA (we sit on the beach sometimes, how is that real life?), and the rest of the time we FaceTime. She’s helped me work through a lot of big emotions—and learn how to actually feel those emotions, rather than stuffing them down—in the most supportive way. But she’s also very direct, and she sometimes makes me so uncomfortable that I am squirming, wanting out of my body and mind. She’s amazing at her job.

California. I moved to my happy place. In a place that’s a little slower (though *I* am still learning to slow down), I’m finding the continued healing I was craving through daily walks on the beach and all the hippie dippie shit I love LA for. The new start is also giving me space to come into my own and really get to know myself without old ties holding me back. I’m grateful for my apartment with an ocean view, I love my car, and I love Santa Monica.

MY DOG. When my doctor recommended ketamine, she also said she thought I should get a dog. “So, club drugs and puppies, huh?” I’d already been on the hunt for a dog and had serious dog fever, and I continued my search. I found Lhasa Happy Homes, a small dog rescue in Southern California, and after applying for one dog and not getting her, I found my furry little best friend. She is the calmest, most well-behaved little girl, and I could not love her more. As I write this, she’s curled up next to me. I forgot how amazing dogs can be for your mental health.

Oh, you wanted another picture of her? Excellent. Here she is in her winter coat for the east coast.

Friends. For both the old friends (MVP award to Morgan) and the new ones I’m making. I know I’m lucky in that I make friends pretty easily.

Family. I definitely took them for granted when my mom was alive, but I’ve become much closer and more grateful for my family since my mom died. I contemplated not coming home for Thanksgiving, but I thought I’d miss my family too much. I’m also excited for Thanksgiving dinner today WITH FOUR DOGS!!! Lucy can’t wait to meet her cousins.

My mom. She’s not here physically any more, but her presence and memory is everywhere, and I know I am so lucky for the 34 years I did have with her, even if they weren’t enough.

I know firsthand how hard the holidays can be, so I’m sending love to everyone reading this, but especially those who might be having a difficult day today.

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