Friday 5 October 2012

"Right Now"

Right now, hey
It's your tomorrow
Right now,
C'mon, it's everything
Right now,
Catch that magic moment, do it
Right here and now
It means everything
"Right Now" ~ Van Halen
The biggest lesson that I have learnt on my journey through mental illness and recovery is that right now is really all we've got. Sometimes that has felt like too much. When I was in the darkest days of my illness I wished "right now" away. It was just too much pain to bear. But when you almost lose everything that is dear to you, you realize, once well again, how precious right now really is.
One of the gifts of surviving a major depressive episode (or two) is that you gain perspective, you learn to focus on what is truly important in your life. There was a time not so long ago when I had lost my smile and things that I had previously loved doing left me empty, left me numb. That's a classic hallmark of depression - it's an illness that robs you of pleasure and joy. It leaves you living life in shades of grey.
A key part of my recovery journey was to reclaim my joy. It was a slow process of reacquainting myself with things that made me happy. One day it might be a walk around the block. Another day it might be browsing the shelves of Chapters. Quite honestly, that was often all the energy that I had. Slowly but surely I reminded myself that life is made up of a series of simple pleasures. By staying in the right now, I didn't let my mind get ahead of itself and start churning with worst case scenarios. Staying in the right now helped me heal.
Today I am fully recovered from the debilitating depressive episode of a year ago. But I am aware that the chance of recurrence is high for me so I do what I can to mitigate that risk. Here's my list of Do's and Don'ts to maintain my wellness:
- I DO surround myself with supportive, loving, positive people. I refuse to spend time with people who rob me of my energy and leave me feeling not so good about myself. Life is too short and my "right now" is too valuable.
- I DO recognize things that I am grateful for. I live in the spectacular city of Vancouver and I always acknowledge to myself how lucky I am when I walk by the ocean or catch a glimpse of the mountains.
- I DO tell people that I love them. Again, life is too short to not express how you feel and I tell people all the time that I love them. Makes me feel good!
- I DO refill my energy tank when it gets low. I need my sleep and my down-time in order to feel truly well and happy so I make sure that I take the time that I need. No late nights on a "school night" for me!
- I DO enjoy the little things. Today I sat outside in the fall sunshine at a cafe and enjoyed the world's best latte and the world's best blueberry scone. That's right - "world's best". This was after the world's best sleep.
- I DON'T take right now for granted.
So what's on your list? Do you have a list? If you don't maybe you should make one. Maybe you should do it right now.
KB xo
P.S. Here is a list from Real Simple Magazine of things that you can do to make yourself happy in the next 30 minutes:


  1. Thanks Kristen another great reminder. Dave

  2. I don't know how you do this. Your posters,your songs, the written blogs. How do you find the time! I just found the video from van Helen. I know I've heard it before but I guess I really didn't even hear the words. Thanks for listing it here. Dave

  3. Thank you for this post. It is very familiar to the way I approached my recovery (and still do as I feel recovery is a journey). What stood out for me the most about this post is taking baby steps to reclaim your joy. I think this is really important.


  4. Hi Trish! Thanks for your thoughts & comments. I think it's important to avoid the urge to rush recovery. Baby steps are managable. And I so totally agree - recovery is a journey!

    KB xo


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