Read Write Edit Play Repeat vol. 24
Pretending to be Grateful
Pretending to be Grateful
What kind of monster pretends to be grateful? Why can’t I just be grateful for real like a normal person?
Prior to this year, I tended to be a pretty positive person. I don’t know that positivity is my natural state. I sort of trained myself to be that way out of necessity. I used gratitude as a survival technique to get through kidney failure and all the setbacks that led up to a life-saving kidney transplant.
Some days it was difficult to come up with even one thing, but every day I’d find something, even if it was a small thing, to be grateful for. I’d identify it and choose to be grateful for that today. The rest of the day might be shit, but I’d bring that one point of gratitude to mind anyway. As a mental trick, it primed me to see more things to be grateful for as the day rolled on through whatever other struggles I had to face. It also prepared me to celebrate small victories as stepping stones up to larger victories even after big setbacks. Without this mental trick of gratitude, everything was measured by what I lost. I used to be up there, but now I’m down here and I’ll never be all the way back up to there again, so everything looks bleak. That sort of thing.
I started 2022 with a heart attack. I got plenty wrong with me already, so this was just one more thing to face and overcome. No problem. But I sunk into a mental low that I couldn’t seem to pull myself out of. I was experiencing cardiac induced depression. Chemical changes had taken place in my brain due to the heart attack. I had been low before, but I’d never experienced real diagnosed depression before. I’ve had plenty of friends who have gone through it. I sympathized with them in the past, but now I could empathize with them. What I couldn’t do was “just snap out of it.”
I’m trying my trick again. I’m pretending to be grateful. Unlike in the past, my mind is not primed for this sort of thinking anymore. I may go on medication eventually, but they are doing a lot of testing on my brain for other stuff and I have to wait for that to finish. I need to survive in the meantime.
I’m not feeling it yet, the gratitude, I mean. But I’m pretending until I get there. I’m pushing past my mental state to identify things to be grateful for each day. I don’t feel grateful, but I’m making a mental note of those things anyway. Over time, I will begin to see more things worthy of gratitude. I’ll find the small victories and the stepping stones up. I’ll get there, but for now I’ll pretend.
Here are some things you might be interested in:
Out of the Pandemic, A Writing Renaissance
by Jay Wilburn via LitReactor
Stories vary widely based on the experience and circumstances of the writer at the time Covid interrupted the world. But a surprising number of these authors found success, and have come out of the pandemic in a position to capitalize on their work …
Author’s Note: This is a short story set in the world of my Lake Scatter Wood Tales young reader stories.
“Sam. Sam? Sam! Sam.”
by Jay Wilburn
Sam was not a morning person. He was only just starting to figure this out about himself …
Lake Scatter Wood Tales
The Lake Scatter Wood books include two chapterbook style stories in each book. The adventures of the kids at camp are great for elementary and middle school readers. Check them out now.
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