Counting Blessings

Counting Blessings

A couple days ago, one of my dearest friends in San Francisco sent me a sort-of alarming message regarding a previous article I had written about my struggles overcoming PTSD, depression, and anxiety in 2017. She was upset that I had discounted our friendship and time together as a source of healing, and to be honest she was absolutely right. In the article, I mention plenty of things that seem kind of like cheap attempts to spike people's interest now that I re-read it. But I'd like to only put out content I'm proud of, and up until this point I hadn't really figured it out why that piece never felt like it was really jiving.

After carefully considering how I should re-write it, I decided instead to post this as a follow-up, because this is both the beauty and flaw of communication — particularly in writing. Words are powerful, but infinitely imprecise; not only am I trying to choose the right intentions to communicate, but the intentions aren't always received favorably. Particularly on the topic of depression and other mental issues, there's plenty of external aid I've received (and continue to receive), but have left without mention.

I've found when sharing personal woes, there's a tendency to build a story that's fueled by the desire to gain attention (maybe subconciously?). I suspect that's not uncommon in other people as well, but something to recognize and reflect on. I've learned those things can become part of the same viral disease that empowers negativity and doubt. Yet, it's also interesting to me how that same day I was also writing about my discovery of Nichiren Buddhism (these two articles are completely juxtaposed).

So allow me to shift focus with regards to the depression article. There's probably no way to count everything I'm thankful for, but I'm certain it's never an invalid pursuit; this is really a way to grow and gain appreciation for myself, not to please others. Please don't think I'm not counting you (parents for example), but just this small subset as they come to mind in no particular order, is a good reminder of what I want to be - a compassionate human being. One might think this should just be kept in a private journal for myself, but I like to put things out there. Because so much goes un-told; even without a list that encompases everyone in my life, I'll continue to count my blessings when I chant every day.


  • Jess, you're wonderful for being one of the closest friends I have. You've more-or-less always been there for me since we met, and hopefully vice-versa (marriage vows not included ha). Thank you for pulling me up when I'm down, thinking so highly of me, and all the little interactions inbetween because they all matter.

  • Justin and David you did the same. Couldn't be happier to have such amazing people in my life who I look up to, and for believing in me as well; giving me advice when I was troubled and helping me explore what really matters to me, in my work. Your spirits and cohesive partnership in business together is something to admire.

  • Margot - because you're Margot! That's just how it's always been.

  • Ismail for your inspiration, guidance, and faith in my talent/ abilities. I look up to you and realize I can do the same. It's always been great to hang with you when you have the time and are awake.

  • Phil and Mike - as contradicting as it is to put your names here, I did appreciate you when we knew each other. All of us made mistakes, but I admired you both before I hated you. Getting rid of that hate has been a journey that very few are forced through. I've learned how important clarity, positivity, and courage are in my professional persuits. I'll never make the same mistakes again.

  • Han, I've loved you the most and I wish you only happiness. Thank you for showing me the farthest depths of love that I've ever experienced. I've missed you more than you can imagine. Similar to above, I've learned how important clarity, courage, and tolerance are in my romantic persuits. I won't make the same mistakes next time.

  • Joey for being the best damn roommate I've ever had, you are just all around an excellent human!

  • Donya & Nick for giving birth to my beautiful nephew and being my family. I'm homesick and miss you right now, but I'll just call you again in a bit.

  • Nik for being a really close friend in life. We've shared a lot of great times and convo for figuring out life itself. Hopefully you're doing well, it's been a minute.

  • Kevin, Derek, Ryan, Anant, Jeff and other Birst coworkers - even if the work wasn't meaningful for me, I enjoyed and appreciated getting to know you all. That was the best job I've had, technically. Thanks for helping me figure out my next steps in life, even if you didn't know that's what you were doing.

  • Anahita I require the most tolerance with you, but you can't do anything to make me love you less. That's a blessing to recognize. I hope you're doing fabulous too!

  • Mazen for introducing me to Nichiren Buddhism and discovering faith that resonates with me. Also your slick bald head is highly admirable.

  • Brittany Ng I regret what I said to you as a result of my poor emotions, and I wish I could have been a better friend. But you helped me refine myself, and I'm glad to have known you!

(...etc. My sense of ingenuity wants to see if I can get some kind of infinte scrollbox in here when I have the time to build a feature like that. Would be cool to keep adding to this as time goes by!)


What I've noticed that's beautiful here is there are two sides of the blessed fence. Those relationships that cracked my soul and are left in turmoil stand to provoke growth, while those relationships which flourish out of love stand to accelerate healing. That's not to say the former is justified (it takes a hell of a lot to come to terms with them), it's simply a positive outlook chosen for the sake of attaining a more fruitful outcome, for myself. I can truly feel the benefits of striving to attain a bodhisattvas perspective.

The title of this article came from a text conversation with my sister one night when I felt like I was suffocating in those precious memories of Han (my ex - again, who cares that you know it). But after expressing a chain of despairing words, my sis simply replied, "Count your blessings, Omid". It was nowhere near helpful (in fact a bit frustrating) in my state of emotional misery at the time, but somehow it stuck. Bless her soul for that too!