This year has been full of seemingly insurmountable struggles for everyone. As we resolved one hardship, another seemed to suddenly appear, creating an endless cycle that rocked our mental stability. I include myself in this. So, it’s no wonder why most of us are eager to end this year and start fresh in 2021.
I have had my fair share of hardships this year, including a breakup, my grandfather’s passing, and news that my liver disease has worsened. However, I haven’t had to weather as many storms as others have.
I am thankful every day to have a roof over my head and plenty of food to eat during these trying times. Many others won’t be as fortunate this holiday season. Due to an economic slump that has affected many jobs, many people are scrambling to find enough money for a Christmas meal, not to mention presents under the tree.
I’ve mentioned before that it’s easy for me to see light in difficult situations. Even if it takes a little extra searching, I can usually find at least one thing to be thankful for. However, I am aware that gratitude doesn’t manifest for others the same way it does for me.
Thankfulness may be a fleeting notion for many after the events of this year. I assure you that your struggles to express appreciation aren’t something to be ashamed of.
In case you’re wondering how gratitude and struggling in life can coexist, here’s an example: I despise health insurance’s convoluted methods of operating, as well as many doctors’ lack of familiarity with my disease. But at the same time, I am thankful to live in an area that provides me with access to healthcare. So, it is possible to acknowledge one’s hardships while counting one’s blessings.
During the holiday season, there is overwhelming pressure to be jolly. Failing to be cheerful may cause you to turn your frustrations inward, as I often do. But powering through with a plastered smile to mask true emotions may only prolong the struggle and deepen the stress. Sometimes I’ll even resort to the “fake it till you make it” strategy, only to end up with an avalanche of emotions.
After this year, we must allow ourselves some grace by accepting our mental and emotional exhaustion. Don’t feel guilty if you have little mental capacity, money, or time to spare. Focus on caring for yourself and your loved ones.
Remember that your struggles now and in the last year are valid, and that your mental health should take up space on your list of priorities this holiday. As the year draws to a close, give yourself the gift of peace of mind. I know it’s easier said than done, but I will be alongside you, challenging myself to practice what I preach.
Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.
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