Grabbing Gratitude

By: Devin Riggs, Regular Contributor

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. It’s a time to spend with loved ones, a time to celebrate the little things, and a time to be grateful for what you have.


2014 has been a hard year. I’ve battled depression and anxiety for a long time, but this spring was the worst it’s been. I struggled to get through the day. I broke down over small, seemingly meaningless mistakes. I was terrified of letting people down, of not being the person they thought I was: strong, upbeat, optimistic, in control.

In May, after several consecutive major breakdowns it became clear that something needed to change. I needed help.

I made a choice to make myself a priority for the first time in a long time, maybe ever.

This meant that I did not return to work at camp as originally planned. Instead I took the summer off to focus on getting better. I made a promise to start learning how to love myself.

In June I started seeing a therapist.

It was terrifying walking into that office, knowing I was going to face all my fears, all my insecurities, and all my weaknesses. In hindsight I’m not sure if that first step was the hardest, but it sure felt like it at the time. Now, six months later, it’s not so scary. It’s getting easier to talk about hard subjects. It’s getting easier to get through each day. My depression is manageable. I don’t follow my anxiety down the rabbit hole as often.

I’ve made a lot of progress, knowing I still have a long way to go. I am learning to focus on the small victories instead of worrying about the difficulties to come.

So with this lesson, and in honor of my favorite holiday, I wanted to share some of the things I am thankful for. Some of them are small. Some of them are big, but each of them has saved me in some way.


  • My supportive parents who raised me in a kind, loving, and encouraging environment and currently provide a roof over my head. Seriously, thank you. You’re the reason I’m not homeless.
  • My incredibly awesome sisters who I look up to every day. You taught me how to take chances and love life to the fullest.
  • Having a job, even though it’s not my dream job.
  • Drinking water.
  • Camp—one of the most wonderful places I’ve ever had the good fortune of working for. I hope I’m lucky enough to come back some day.
  • My decision to give up Dr. Pepper—2 ½ months caffeine free!
  • The guys in my book club who don’t completely hate me even though I still haven’t finished the book.
  • Trivia nights
  • Hugs. They are the best. Whoever came up with them—I’d like to give that person a hug.
  • The first snowfall
  • A bouquet of flours (If you’re confused watch Stranger Than Fiction)
  • Blues dancing. I missed you these past several months.
  • Pie
  • The difficult climb
  • Puppies!
  • Weekly game nights
  • Clean laundry right out of the dryer (so warm and cozy)
  • 30-second dance parties
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Scarf weather
  • My Netflix queue
  • Doctor Who
  • The Internet—for making it possible for me to talk to friends and family around the world
  • Cupcakes
  • Kelly Clarkson—you taught me how to be strong
  • Indoor plumbing
  • Late night conversations
  • Planners and Calendars
  • Opposable thumbs
  • Cuddle Puddles
  • My weekly therapy sessions
  • Learning how to love myself one day at a time
  • Concerts at Red Rocks
  • Rainy afternoons
  • Old friends reentering my life
  • Funfetti Chocolate Chip Bacon Pancakes
  • Penguins
  • Peaking mountains with you
  • My guitar and ukuleles
  • Silly hats
  • My best friend. She’s magical.
  • All my friends are magical. True Story.
  • Hand sewn quilts
  • I AM THAT GIRL—For letting me share my stories, and hear others share theirs.

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About Devin

Authorphoto.jpgDevin has a degree in education with a focus in English. She is working to publish her first collection of poetry while also learning the art of patience. Her passions include Doctor Who, penguins, hats and scarves, potatoes, dancing, photography, and making people happy. She believes in the healing powers of music, spending time in the great outdoors, and a good night sleep.



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