Life You
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Think of the three or four things you’re the most grateful for. Chances are, at least one of them is something you grew up without: Money. Peace.

Or, in my case, something smaller: Treatment for a minor mental disorder. If you grow up with all the doctors and meds you needed, feeling fine just isn’t that amazing, is it? But suffering through a single day of preschool without anybody knowing what’s wrong with you? Well, fast forward to today, and to my 43-year-old self, merely having a name for my problem seems almost like a miracle.

I’ve had anxiety disorder all my life. My nickname as a toddler? Worry Wart. As a little girl, I once ran into the house after I had been playing outside, weeping, “A leaf hit me!” My condition made me, in the words of one bully, “the weird one.”

If you grew up in the 1980s, like I did, you know that such chemical imbalances weren’t widely seen as a medical problem. They were just … phases. Quirks. Flaws that need little more than a strong talking-to. Or maybe a therapist (if you could keep it quiet).

Today, everybody knows what anxiety disorder is, of course. I’m under prescription treatment. But I am grateful for every second I suffered before I got there (at age 25, if you must know). Now I see calm — that everyday state that others take for granted — as a special blessing, something to be savored.

I cherish every second of life more, now that I can see it, and feel it, without fear.

The things we’re grateful for linger long after the turkey’s been digested. To remind ourselves that celebrating life’s little joys is really where it’s at, The Loop’s calling out the everyday things that give us heaps of pleasure. Starting October 10, we’ll publish one new story daily about a thing, moment or experience that gives us the warm and fuzzies.

You’ve probably got plenty to be thankful for, too, and we want to know about it! Share what you’re most grateful for on Facebook here or via Twitter using the hashtag #12DAYSOFTHANKS (we’re @theloopca) or join the conversation on Hubub. Happy Thanksgiving!