I am big on gratitude. The only thing I wanted to say to my friend before she died was "Thank you." Sometimes we only think to say it in the moment when a favor is done, a door is opened or a "bless you" is prayed. Sometimes, those words are more obligatory than heartfelt. What about in those moments when you are alone or are enjoying life without a care in the world? Who do you thank? God for life? A friend for love? A stranger for inspiration?
For me, the first one I thank is always God. Unless you are an atheist, this is pretty self-explanatory. As I have gone through trials (I don't mean to make it seem so dramatic or severe) in recent years, I have really thought a lot about what and who it has taken to get to each successful point along the way. My husband is an amazing man who is tremendously supportive of me in EVERYTHING that I do..regardless of how dumb or ill thought out. But, someone who has literally helped me with each step is my psychiatrist...or "therapist" if you are more comfortable with that term. I try to thank her regularly without being gushy, but I just don't feel that I am adequately conveying how I feel. For this reason, I should have titled this "An open letter of gratitude to Dr. X."
Dear Dr. X.,
How do I begin a letter that is responsible for saying so much but has only words to use? I know that many times I have expressed my gratitude for all you have done for me however, it remains inadequate. In the past 6 years, a lot has happened to both of us. Death (too much death), injury, love, hate, good fortune and not. As I am about to embark on another chapter in my life, I am acutely aware that I could not have gotten here without you. I am not the same person that I was six years ago, I have grown in many ways. You have led me. I am able to enjoy like unlike I have ever done before. I came to you heavily medicated without a hope in the world of "being clean" and carrying the hope for so much that was not possible because of it. I prayed for an end to my misery and God sent you. I have cried so many tears in the last six years and laughed so many laughs. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of how much more I LIVE than I used to. You have helped me peel away the painful layers of abuse and anxiety and for that I thank you. You have helped me to drop the belief that I am a horrible and insignificant person. You have challenged me to become all that I dreamed but more than I believed possible. You have helped me become an adult, long after I should have. You have shown me how to be a good wife to my husband and how not let the tragedy of my childhood mar that of my future child. You have demonstrated how to reach beyond oneself to accomplish what was so far away. You have given me the courage and the support to step outside of my comfort zone and take risks. Big, big risks. I have had many therapists in my lifetime and never has one made such a difference in my life. Perhaps you look at it as just a job or even a calling. Thank you for doing it well.
Sincerely, Dr. Underdog