You aren't broken: surviving and thriving through it all

I once told my mother that she was a daisy.  She said she wasn't pleased because daisies are simple.  I disagree.  Daisies can grow in the harshest places and somehow continue to thrive and be beautiful.  They are strong and they survive, no matter what.  I explained this to my mother, and now daisies are her favorite flower.

1 in 4 people in the US are diagnosed with a mental illness.  People with mental illnesses are survivors, and so are the people who love them.  Like the daisies growing in the most difficult of places, you deserve to be honored for that strength.  Sometimes it doesn't feel that way though.  You feel hopeless and broken inside.  But this too will pass.  Experiences are like a wave - they come and they go.  Remember the good times and cherish them, because they don't last forever.  Hold on to those memories during the rough times because they will get you through and good times will come again.

A wonderful coping skill is to practice gratitude.  It might be hard to find something to be grateful for when you're deep in the clutches of depression, but there's always something.  I work with people who experience extensive trauma, poverty and homelessness.  I encourage them to find something to be grateful for every day.  For food in their stomaches, for toothpaste, for a friend, for mental health services that they have access to, for a beautiful sunset.  If you can ride the wave of pain know that it is temporary and focus on a couple of good things in your life, it can help you get through.

Remember the image of this daisy pushing up through the concrete.  If a delicate little flower can do it, so can you.  Hold on to the sunlight.