Once, I had a happy…
By the time I split with my first husband, I had been living in a deep, dark depression for a couple of years. I had seen a couple of doctors and therapists, taken a medication here or there, but nothing worked. Consciously or not, I believed the problem was me as a person, and not simply some chemical imbalance in my brain or whatnot. I believed I was bad and that I didn’t deserve to be happy. I still struggle with my brain – with whether I do have a legitimate psychological issue or some physiological malady which brings me down or if it’s just my plain, ol’ alcoholic brain and me not putting in the work needed to keep me at that “line of contentment.” Today, I do know that I deserve happiness. I have forgiven myself for my past bad acts (even if there are those who haven’t chosen yet to forgive me), so they don’t torment me, telling me that bad girls can’t live good lives.
Though I have made peace with the fact that I can be happy, big happies still scare me. Around the time I moved out of the house I shared with my husband and children, I began taking a new medication. I was living on my own now, working more hours, meeting new people, drinking lots and not dealing with the stresses I had left at home. It is this time of my life that makes me very fearful of antidepressants. It is this time of my life I looked back on when my shrink asked if I had ever had any manic episodes. I still don’t know if what I experienced that summer was evidence that I could be categorized with the up, the down, the bipolar or if it was just a perfect storm of circumstances with me acting out against my self-imposed isolation.
Today is a big happy. There have been a few things in motion over the past couple of months which are now showing positive results, I’m getting great feedback on a few different areas of my life and am moving forward with a better sense of purpose and direction. And I got a free latte from Starbucks just because the baristas and I were all feeling good. Perhaps it’s just the caffeine, but I think a good lot of the happy is due to “suiting up and showing up.” I have a major problem with isolating. Always have. It feels like hard work; it’s uncomfortable, naked and clumsy trying to make and keep friends. I don’t understand these women who have had this close group of friends since elementary school. I rarely have the same friends I had a year prior. Still, I’m doing more to put myself out there lately and I’m seeing results. I stopped saying “No.” I’m living more in the uncomfortable and allowing myself to become more at ease there.
Just like every other child, when I was little, people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember wanting to be an anesthesiologist because they made more money than most doctors for less work – all they did was get people high (and people were surprised when I became an addict?). Aside from that, which wasn’t a very serious desire, the one thing that came to mind every single time I was asked was, “to be happy.” I’ve lived the vast majority of my life very unhappy. And I think the biggest reason for that is that I refused to allow myself to be happy. Today, I’m gonna be okay with the big happy and not let it scare me. I’m going to give a piece of it back to God and a piece of it to you and keep a piece of it all for myself to savor.