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One of my most favorite Silly Songs from VeggieTales is called The Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps. It’s about a veterinarian that thinks he can solve all problems with animals by yodeling to them, while his dedicated nurse does all the work to heal the animals. After a while, the nurse asks for a raise, and the vet says no, so the nurse stops helping him and he discovers that he is in trouble without the nurse’s help. The moral of the story is “If you go a little loopy, better keep your nurse well paid”. I love this song so much, partly because it is stinking hilarious, partly because it is a barbershop quartet of vegetables (does it get any better?!) and partly because it has been speaking directly to my heart lately. I wouldn’t say that I’ve gone a little loopy, but my mental illness definitely impacts my ability to be independent and take care of myself. There are a lot of times recently that I require a lot of help to maintain my life at my house without having to be in a hospital or a group home. Recently, my psychiatrist has been squeezing me in to extra appointments because I can’t make it a month without seeing him. My PCP has been seeing me each time I get out of the hospital, drying my tears, coaching me on ways to feel better, referring me to the office social worker. The office social worker providing me resources and an ear to listen. My counselor putting up with me having to change my appointments because I’m in the hospital or sick. My health insurance providing me free meals and rides and lots of resources. My friends and family coming to visit and often bringing food. And my mom and best friend Alice who are there for me 24 hours a day and sometimes put up with 20 or more phone calls or messages in a day. Am I making sure they are all “well paid”? I can’t pay them with money – I don’t have any – so I have to think of other ways to thank them for all that they do for me. My favorite way to say thanks is in a poem. Every few months I write a thank you poem and send it out to all the people on my support team. It’s the easiest way for me to share how grateful I am. But the truth is, none of them require anything that big. I could just say thank you, and they would feel appreciated. It never feels like enough to me, though. Another way that I have found to show my gratitude is to just show interest in the other person. Ask them how they’re doing and then LISTEN! So often we are talking about me and my issues and it is such a nice change of pace for me to be able to support THEM, even just a little bit. Truly, though, the best way to share my appreciation is by sharing my successes. We get so focused on the rough times that sometimes it’s easy to forget, or not even notice, the moments of growth. For example, today I was able to do four loads of laundry and get them put away. That’s huge! I haven’t been able to do that in months. Letting my support team know about this huge victory makes them feel like it is all worth it, and I want to make sure to not feel embarrassed or downplay the good moments, I want to remember to be thankful. So if you are struggling with something right now and require some assistance (as most of us do) make sure that you are finding a way to say thank you. Don’t get stuck on all the help you need, celebrate the little steps that add up to a mountain. Your supports will be so grateful. Remember, as VeggieTales says, “So the moral of the story, it’s the point we hope we’ve made, when you go a little loopy better keep your nurse well paid”!

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