For me, the Christmas and New Year season is about taking stock and being grateful for what is in my life.

For many years this seemed a hollow task: I had my life, I had material necessities and then some: I didn’t want my life. I found it difficult to appreciate the material (such as adequate shelter, food, clothing) although I knew I was lucky in the scheme of things. Thanks to the support of Mum and Dad I have never experienced poverty or ever been without any human contact or support.

Times change. This year it is easy to be grateful. I have a healthy and happy daughter who always gets me out of bed with a purpose. My beautiful Blackie is still enjoying life despite cancer, and I cherish the time I have with him.

My beautiful Blackie is still enjoying life despite cancer, and I cherish the time I have with him.

Gracie’s father is being helpful and responsive to requests. For example, he bought her a trampoline for Christmas. (As a four-year-old, Gracie loves jumping and now it’s not on the furniture!)

Mum is, as ever, helpful and kind. Gracie has another significant other in her life. I enjoy chats with Mum, I enjoy her hugs and I love her garlicky Neapolitan pasta (hint, hint).

I’m grateful for my wider family, to enjoy the special times, and to know we care about each other and their acceptance of me. I’m also grateful that they remind me that I’m not the only one with problems and hard times, and each of us has unique experiences.

I’m grateful for my friends, some of whom read my blog and are neither shocked nor judgemental. Because of my self-destructive and isolating behaviour in the past, for many years I lost friends and made sure I didn’t meet any new ones. I do have a very dear friend from the early days, who for some reason stuck with me.

Slowly, as I slowly began to feel comfortable in my own skin and comfortable on my own life’s journey, I began to allow others in and to reach out without feeling ashamed.

But as my psychologist said, don’t feel just grateful – enjoy those positive aspects of your life. I feel I am heading there.

I believe I am on a healing journey, which isn’t necessarily simply an upward trajectory. It dips and dives. One step up, two steps down. But I believe I’m on the right path for me. I’m finding the right people and tools along the way.

Thank you for the blessings, Universe.