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N.A. Turner recently invited me to share ten things I’m grateful for, and I thought I would take him up on the challenge.

It’s certainly timely, as gratitude has been top-of-mind for me recently. Research shows that focusing on gratitude is good for our mental health. I’ve been a little stressed lately; back-to-school season means a flurry of doctor appointments, and fall is always a busy time of year in my family.

So, without further ado, I’m grateful for these ten things:

My husband

When I was a teenager, I dreamed up a man who was kind, responsible, generous, compassionate, and smart with money. I had a lot of expectations for this man: He wanted a family, loved cats, intelligent, wise, and more. …

Sometimes a bad day is just a bad day

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In every cycle of Living Grace, the mental health support group I run at my church, the topic of medications come up. We discuss how they help, how they work, the process of getting a prescription, understanding what we are taking, and how to have the conversation with the psychiatrist.

It’s helpful and encouraging.

Inevitably, the stigma around taking psychiatric medications comes up. To begin with, there is a stigma against these prescriptions. The perception is that only the severely-mentally-ill take these prescriptions, which is an inaccurate and unfair portrayal.

For example, I live with bipolar disorder and went undiagnosed for nearly 40 years. I was never hospitalized, never attempted suicide. Few people would categorize me as “crazy.” Yet, I still take my Lamictal daily. I consider it critical to my effective functioning as an adult, wife, and mother. …

Allowing ourselves to feel is key to moving forward

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I was chatting with a good friend recently who is going through a tough time. She told me everything that was going on and how it made her feel.

At the end, she said, “I know I need to get over myself and quit the pity party.”

I felt sad when I heard this because there are so many thoughts hiding in those 13 words.

One thing I’ve learned over the past few years of therapy is that pity parties are valuable. Too often, our culture tells us to push our emotions aside in favor of action.

Action, the message goes, is the only way to move forward in life. …

When life gets tough, there are some amazing support groups available to us

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“My husband died by suicide. I’ve had to be strong for my kids, but I’ve also had to be strong for his parents, who are struggling with this loss. I’m starting to break and I don’t know what to do. HELP PLEASE!”

I saw this message in a Christian Women’s group I belong to on Facebook and it broke my heart. This question, or some near variant, shows up nearly as often as questions on homosexuality, when divorce is acceptable, and how to handle an abusive spouse (Answer: You don’t. You leave as soon as possible.)

Additionally, the women’s ministry at my church gets approached by women pretty consistently who are wrestling with some tough issues and need some specific guidance, and want to learn a Biblical approach for walking through their challenges. …

Our bodies reflect our inner stories

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Whenever I’m facing a major project in my life — tackling finances, giving birth, writing a book — I surround myself with information on it.

I binge everything I can get my hands on: books, Facebook groups and pages, podcasts, blogs, tv shows, even music.

So it should be no surprise that when I decided to lose my excess weight, I joined several bariatric support groups on Facebook, started reading articles on Medium that cover the topic, Googled the subject extensively, and had some in-depth conversations with doctors, surgeons, and nutritionists.

I cut the cord about ten years ago, so I wasn’t familiar with TLC’s program My 600 lb Life until quite recently. I resisted watching the show for a bit. I assumed it would be primarily drama along the lines of a Real Housewives show, and I’m not in for that kind of show. …

It’s time-consuming, expensive, and painful — and I would do it all over again

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Tattoos fade with each treatment

Tattoos are amazing things. They represent our values, our sense of style, and are little time capsules of who we were and how we saw ourselves at the time we put ink-to-skin.

But what happens when those tattoos are so far removed from how we see ourselves that they become painful to see? For me, it’s meant exploring and committing myself to the tattoo removal process.

Whenever I share that I’m removing my tattoos with people, I inevitably get asked the same few questions:

- Don’t you worry you’ll regret it?
- Is it painful?
- Is it expensive? …

It was time to jettison the baggage of my past

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When I entered my mental health recovery from bipolar disorder, I had some distinct expectations.

I expected to address, resolve, and heal from hurts and traumas inflicted throughout my life.

I expected to learn new skills and tools that I can use to help me live a more productive, fulfilling, and purposeful life.

I expected to make changes, like finding ways to make sure I take my meds on time and changing my routines to reflect healthier habits.

I expected all this work to be challenging and rewarding, with setbacks and successes.

What I didn’t expect was that my recovery process would ultimately include body modification. …

I had no idea my body was a ticking a time-bomb

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As I’ve previously shared, I’m in a Year of Great Physical Transformation. Unexpectedly, I felt an urge this year to lose the excess weight I carry on my body. I’ve learned to trust my urges, and now I’m on a weight loss journey.

The challenge is that this is not my first rodeo. In fact, I’ve been on many diets. I’m an expert at dropping 20 or more pounds at a stretch.

I’m also an expert at gaining ten pounds a month.

After my last major attempt to lose my excess weight stalled out, and I gained all my lost weight back plus some, I surrendered. …

It requires more discipline than any other weight-loss method

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I am a professional dieter.

I can lose 20, 30 pounds at the drop of a hat. I follow all the rules, do all the things, and rejoice as I slip into old clothes or shop at new stores.

I’ve been on all kinds of popular diets, including WW, Nutrisystem, and Atkins. I’ve done extreme calorie restriction diets, eating 600 calories a day and getting weekly vitamin B injections, so I don’t die in the process. There are many others, too, though none of the phen-phen or grape-a-day variety.

Whoooosh — all the weight I’ve lost comes roaring back, bringing with it a few new friends.

And I’m not sparing any part of them

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Frequent readers know that I recently went through all my email accounts and conducted a deep spring cleaning. At the time, I had cleared out 16,000 emails. Now, I’ve gone through nearly 50,000.

In the process, I discovered that I’m subscribed to a shocking number of newsletters. So many, in fact, just reading them would be a full-time job for me.

That’s unsustainable. I had to find a way to separate the wheat from the chaff, and then keep just the good stuff.

It Started Innocently…

The first thing I did was to use to capture and consolidate most of the marketing newsletters I receive every day. Instead of receiving 25+ individual emails, I get a single email that combines all those into a simple-to-scan solo email. …


Teresa Colón

Mom & knitter. Passionate about mental health & helping people feel better. The names are changed; the stories are real. Learn more at

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