All my life I've tried to think of myself as a glass half full kind of person. I've always tried to look on the bright side, find the silver lining - well, you get the picture. I was a basically cheerful and optimistic kind of person - so I thought.
Then life dealt me a series of pretty tough blows - all in a row. After caring for Mum for fifteen years she finally passed and I felt as though I'd lost not just a mother but my best friend, confidante, flat mate, sounding board and, to a degree, my identity - who was I if I didn't look after Mum.
Six months later my real father, with whom I'd never been close or even really had any kind of relationship, killed himself. That was a shock but it also meant that now there would never be a chance to reconcile, to even talk again.
Four months after that one of my beloved Uncle's died of lung cancer and my marriage began to fall apart. My husband was becoming very emotionally, physically and mentally abusive and began a very blatant affair with another woman in our neighbourhood.
It was a gradual thing but by this time I wasn't even a 'glass half-empty' I couldn't even see the glass. Depression. It's a nasty word for a nasty condition and one that is difficult for many people to understand. It's also an illness, which means you can't just 'pull up your socks' and get on with it.
I was diagnosed many years ago with Bi-Polar disorder so I recognized the signs, knew I needed to readjust my medication and needed to get back into therapy. My physical health was starting to slip as badly as my mental health and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.
But even though I felt like I was living in the dark, I reached out. To anyone and everyone who would listen. I sought help both medically and spiritually. Then I got hit with the biggest blow so far [all of this has happened, BTW, in the last three years] and my health collapsed to the point where they were seriously concerned that I was dying. I was even told to 'get my affairs in order'.
That was my blackest, darkest moment and that's when I started thinking about all the GOOD things I have in my life. My family, my friends, my pets, my writing, my extended family, my online community, my lovely little house when there are others who live in their cars or on the street, my precious little car that goes every time... I kept adding and adding to the list of things I had to be grateful for and suddenly I saw that my glass wasn't half full - it was actually overflowing.
I know it's hard when you are in the midst of depression to see the good things - that's why I always recommend treatment in some form or another. But for many of us we just sometimes forget how truly lucky we really are - we can't see that our cup is overflowing.
Take a minute today and write down at least three things you're grateful for - I'll bet you don't just stop at three.