The Pursuit of Happy-ish

Not everything I wanted to share was going to be a soppy post about how miserable my life was or can be. This is the Happy-ish Blog, after all; it’s bound to have some positivity involved. I thought today would be a great day for sharing some happiness, inspired by my recent weeks.

Christmas of 2000, before my life changed.

As a military man, my dad could be rather emotionless and harsh, but if you met him now, you’d never imagine him in that light. Age may have softened his hard heart, or he may have come to realize through loss, his gratitude and appreciation for what he has. 

I​’ve gotten to see him two weeks in a row since Cam and I moved two hours away, and both of those goodbyes had my dad nearly in tears. I saw his blue eyes watering, but he probably doesn’t know I noticed as he hugged me and told me he misses me. It hurts my heart knowing he’d go back to the home we’ve lived in for 26 years, alone (not including the four dogs to keep him company of course). 

H​e wasn’t always able to express his emotions before; I can rarely remember hearing I was loved by my parents through my adolescent and teen years. We also weren’t the kind of family (post-divorce) to even have dinner together or sit and talk about random topics. 

And yet, now, he tells me about his weekend with his wild buddies, girlfriends, and his hobbies (my dad is over 60, rides a motorcycle, and hangs out with rocker dudes to give you a slight image of him). Don’t even get him started on Cam, I swear he loves him more than me sometimes (joking of course, because I’ll always be his little girl aka the best daughter ever). 

T​he hardships we faced have given me the opportunity to grow and create this relationship with my dad. And it’s a special one – not like your typical family-portrait style, father-daughter relationship. But one where we’ve endured pain and healed together, like a matching scar that gives us a unique bond. 

Forgiveness is powerful. 

It can bring so much more fulfillment and love into our lives than animosity. Through every tough experience life threw at me, those challenges shaped me and forced me to grow. Although growth is uncomfortable, it ultimately allowed me the opportunity to forgive and forge the relationship I now have with my dad. 

And that couldn’t make me any happier. 

A recent selfie by dad at Cam’s game, plus one friend.

Despite the amount of years that have gone by, a relationship is never too far gone to mend. A story will always have more than one side, and communicating with an open mind can bring about new understandings. I hope if you have a lost relationship with someone important, you allow yourselves the chance to repair it, or move on from it, without any grudges to weigh you down and keep you from your own happiness. 

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The Monkey on my Back

I used to get so angry with my friends sometimes. They’d treat their parents so rudely and with such disrespect. And all I could think is, “How could you treat them like that? You’re so lucky to have them in your life, even if they’re aggravating at times. Do you not realize how lucky you are?” 

Jealously raged through me.

It truly ruined my mood sometimes, as I’d get trapped in my thoughts of how good they have it compared to my broken home. God, it would be so easy to stay angry and hate the world for putting me through so much grief and hardship. I’d know because I fed into it so effortlessly and without remorse at one point, but instead of being engulfed by envy, I used it as a lesson. 

It may have taken some time, but I didn’t want to become a statistic of a vicious cycle. My experiences may have influenced how I am now, but I wouldn’t let it steal all my happiness forever. 

You never know what you have until it’s gone. Appreciation and gratitude were tough lessons to learn, however, the tribulations I faced taught me well. I wish so profoundly that we don’t have to face a loss in order to learn them; I know how traumatizing it can be. 

We can lose so much in life: family, friends, love, our innocence. Any of it can be snatched away at any moment in our life and I wish I could protect the world from it, but that’s a hugely impossible task for a single person. 

I can say to you though, remember what you have instead of wallowing in desire

Imagine your life without all the wonderful people around you; I challenge you to share with them the feelings that thought gives you. Possibly, they’re like you and me, dealing with something in their own way, and my guess would be that feeling appreciated will make all the difference to them. 

If I would have heard those words from the people I needed, then maybe I would have gone through life differently. 

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Melody Beattie

One Grande, Iced Caramel Macchiato with an Extra Shot of Hormones, Please.

T​his one goes out to all my pregnant ladies, emotional ladies, or anyone who wants to laugh at my suffering. Enjoy.

Today started early for me, not just in the sense of waking up at 7 am, but also the actual, physical pain of trying to get out of bed this morning. I could not move. Well, I could, except not without a striking sharp pain in my back and down my leg. 

Some pregnant women might know what this feels like, or even if you’re a person who suffers from sciatica pains; you’ll feel me when I say it’s a struggle like no other to get out of bed with it going on. Cameron literally pushed me up to hobble along.

I​ am walking around, slower than a sloth to meet the dog I’m watching for Rover. This path includes stairs (how could I ever be so lucky to live on the second floor). So, I’m trying to do this weird, grandma shuffle to avoid triggering any pains, but the plan fails miserably. Whenever the pains do strike, I screech from the sudden shock and pause for a second to avoid falling. Super fun, particularly for those passing by wondering what in the world I may be doing. 

I ​eventually get this overly excited pup back to the apartment, but I have to go take another dog out because I like to live a challenging lifestyle. Did I mention I also didn’t get enough sleep? 

Starbucks it will be

But it’s Thursday morning, so I have to go inside unless I want to spend the next fifty years in the drive-through. As I walk to the counter to place my order, I stumble from pain (surprise), and so the sweet lady at the counter is then concerned for my safety as I’m distinctly pregnant at this point.

A​s I try terribly hard to stand/sit comfortably without drawing any attention from my shrieks, at long last, I get my order and head back to my car, except the pains still continue. At this point, I become overwhelmed. I felt so hopeless because I couldn’t even manage to get a drink without having this pain. I manage to hold back tears while I’m outside, but as soon as I got in my car, cue the Great Flood. 

It’s always been this way, where if I feel stuck or can’t help myself, I start freaking out uncontrollably which typically ends with tears. Add in some hormones and there’s no helping me. I tried relentlessly to push through walking the second dog or moving around in general, but I felt so frustrated. The single way I’m coping is from talking to Cam and having him to lean on, figuratively and literally speaking. 

T​his is a seemingly pointless story, but it’s another opportunity for me to throw in the importance of having a support system of some sort. Not isolating yourself is beneficial, even if you want nothing to do with having any company. If I knew I didn’t have Cam to talk to, I would still be in tears. We don’t want that though, we’re seeking happiness here! Speak up and talk to someone whenever you need to (emphasis on need rather than want). 

I​f you have any tips for sciatica pain, please feel free to share! 

F​or anyone curious, the severity of my pain is due to my ever-changing mind deciding to spend two days on my feet to go from blue hair to blonde. 

I’ve Got the Blues

T​o give you more of a glimpse into what this blog will be about (in case you haven’t had enough yet), I’ll share a recent episode of living with a repressed depression that weasels its way out, and how I coped. 

T​here seems to be this repeating pattern every time my boyfriend leaves for a work trip. I find myself delving into this rather pathetic sense of insecurities that stir solely in those days. For reference, he’s never done anything remotely suspicious and is in fact a rather respectable boyfriend. 

Two words: blue hair. 

This is me, in all my blue glory.

And so, why is it I feel the need to question everything whilst he’s away? 

Who’s this new person following you? Do you still think I’m attractive although my stomach is growing larger and larger by the week (cause I’m 25 weeks pregnant by the way, hello hormones)? Would you feel guilty for flirting with someone behind my back, even unintentionally? Are you sure you still love me when I’m like this? 

Frankly, I can’t see how he could put up with it.

Why do I get into these states; who is this person? She’s not the bold, independent woman you first met, oozing with confidence and a free spirit. She is the opposite of that woman: a clingy, annoyingly insecure girl. 

T​he night he flew out two weeks ago, I had an awful dream about our relationship. Awoken in a panic, I begin overthinking at three in the morning and I didn’t stop. Not until eight that morning after I send a plethora of insecure texts. This overreaction served no purpose and had no legitimate reasoning behind it after all. 

W​hat do I do in this emotional and overly hormonal state anyway? I decide I want a change. Will I cut my hair super short? No, I can’t grow it back before the regret sets in. Perhaps I will do some new highlights, so I feel prettier. Oh, but hair stylists are never able to book you in on the same day – God forbid you have this meltdown without an advance notice. Forget the salon then, I’ll do it at home myself. I’ll make my hair as crazy as I’m feeling. 

Three lightening sessions and a mixture of blue dyes later, I turn out twenty shades of blue. Honestlythough, it gave me a weird sense of calm distracting myself for hours of the day. It allowed me the freedom to escape the never-ending thoughts of self-doubt and misery from that morning. 

Because at first, I didn’t want to eat despite feeling like I was starving (and typically I love to eat). I couldn’t drag myself out of bed even with the sun beaming outside in blue skies. The feeling was like quick sand, pulling me into myself. 

After I mustered the strength to get out of the house for supplies, I began to wonder what the root cause of this is because I know I’m not truly that insecure. W​hen my boyfriend returned, we discussed the situation deeply. We couldn’t avoid it since my hair was blue and my doubtful thoughts had no justified cause. 

Acknowledge it, accept it, and face it head-on. 

We came to the conclusion that I get this way when I feel abandoned because I grew up trusting and loving my mother, who ultimately left me brokenhearted and deceived me constantly. Even at times, I felt abandoned by friends when I needed them to comfort me or my father who never listened when I cried out for help. Every feeling or action I have now is stemmed from traumas I faced as a child growing up. But how do you fix something that’s occurred so long ago? 

I’ve agreed to speak with someone around trauma. Speaking with someone is immense and challenging sometimes because you have to admit some difficult truths, but in doing so you allow yourself the opportunity to move on properly. 

Now that we know what causes these feelings, we know how to approach the situation to make myself feel at ease. Gradually, we can change how my mind wants to react and train it to become more positive. In the future we may even laugh at how silly I was being and say, “Remember that time you dyed your hair blue? Yeah, that was crazy!” 

I hope this sheds some light on how life can be sometimes when you’re a happy person, but find fleeting moments of depression creeping in. If this isn’t you, then perhaps you are with someone or have a friend who shows signs of this behavior and I hope this gives you the resolution you’ve been seeking to better understand their feelings.

I​f you or someone you know suffers with emotional up and downs, please reach out – to them, to me, or someone you trust – because the importance of knowing you/they are not alone is invaluable. A listening ear can be the greatest first tool to finding happiness. 

A Happy Journey

I am 28 years old and as cliche as it may be to begin with that, let me continue before you turn your attention back to nothing else important.

9 years ago was the first time I saw my mom since she basically obliterated our happy, little family. 8 years before that was the last time I had any glimpse of a somewhat normal family.

F​or the mathematically challenged, that is 17 years since I first discovered what depression felt like. To further elaborate, that means I was about 11 years old when I first experienced the lack of will to continue living. My life hadn’t even begun and I wanted it to be over.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve lived the last 17 years of my life like that; I haven’t had that intense feeling this entire time. I’ve stopped, for the most part, the past couple of years when I stopped having hatred in my heart for what happened and started living for myself.

I​’ve discussed it with my mom and got the closure I needed to forgive and love her again. And I do, in the weird way where I speak to her on rare occasions, in five minute spurts. But still, I don’t resent her anymore, I’ve spent enough years doing that.

I​’ve come to understand what my dad went through and I can’t blame him at all for how he dealt with the situations he endured. I love him so much more for it and being able to raise two kids on his own. I’ve given him enough grief, so now I onlygive him love which he deserves.

And my brother, he still may not know his part in all this, but I know he was hurting too. Even though I’m not sure I can ever have the conversation with him, we have each other now regardless. And I love him more than he’d ever believe.

I​n case you were wondering what experience I have to advocate on being happy despite having depression, make yourself comfortable because I have plenty more to share. Happiness doesn’t always come easy, but it’s obtainable and I have proof. 

Fake-Happy to Happy, Happy

I’m a generally happy person…

…at least that’s what I tell myself and other people. I’m sure majority of you can understand that feeling of being fake-happy. Those kinds of feelings you put on, for example, when you’re talking to a complete stranger who is blatantly overly happy. And you’ve got to play along, or they’ll think you’re some miserable Debby-downer. We can’t have that now, can we?

A​s I mentioned, you can probably relate to those little moments of fake-happy. Some of us though, we take it to an extreme. We aren’t pretending in merely those little moments, but in major parts of our days or lives where we feel anything but happy.

W​e might wake up not feeling like ourselves because we’ve experienced happy days, so we know something is off. There’s this feeling of void where an emotion should be other than the annoying, sluggish one. But we have responsibilities, so we continue our day as usual because the stressful thought of not doing it, and not to mention the potential domino effect it would create, is worse than powering through.

G​et up, brush our teeth, shower (not guaranteed), get dressed, eat if we’re up to it, and force ourselves to work. The work place of course being where everyone is on level ten of fake-happy, or they could be anomalies who genuinely enjoy their work. But here we are, putting on a show the crowd doesn’t even realize they’re witnessing. We are not merely fake-happy, we’re going out of our way to do nice gestures and make other people happy despite how we feel.

Why do we do this though? Fabulous question!

Perhaps we know what its like to feel the most intense, empty sadness, and we would never want anyone to feel remotely like that. And so, we force ourselves to care about everyone other than ourselves. Plus side, it also helps us avoid our true feelings; we have to avoid those at all costs.

H​ow do you stop this mad cycle of fake-happy, of going into your day-to-day lives pretending to be something you’re not and draining yourself more due to the fact?

Lucky for you, or the person you know who’s so terribly like this, countless actions to help find real life happiness (crazy, I know) exist! Or in the least, steer you to discovering your happiness. That has to be better than what you’re doing now, so what can you lose? Since this isn’t a researched, informative post, I’ll share personal tips that have tremendously aided me in becoming a happier person, for the most part.

  1. Acknowledge the truth behind your behaviors and accept them. Allow yourself to feel the emotions you’re experiencing and let them be as they are so that you can move on from them instead of suppressing them. Understand that they’re there because you’ve been through tough moments in your life, but now you are stronger from it and the fact that you are still here is so hugely important.

  2. S​tart your day doing something you love and brings a smile on your face! For me, it’s singing or dancing horribly in front of the mirror to over-played pop songs. It makes me feel free and in control of how I’m feeling because there’s no way I, or anyone else, could see my reflection looking like a fool and be frowning. I dare you to try not laughing at that image.

  3. Move your body! Sort of like the above mentioned action, but slightly different because this should be longer than your morning routine (it totally doesn’t have to be though). After an emotional event in my life, I discovered I felt better from weight training. I had no idea what I was doing at first, but after the first uncomfortable weeks in a gym, it became my holy place. It made me create goals I sought after and released happy endorphins like crazy. Per the chance you don’t feel comfortable working, out don’t worry! There’s running, yoga, swimming, biking, and tons of other options for you to try!

  4. Talk to someone. And I mean seriously talk to someone. I know how detrimental it can be to bottle up feelings, but I also know how comfortable and safe it feels to keep those feelings or thoughts to yourself. So, I can see why it may not seem ideal at first, but when I tell you how much it helps, I cannot say it enough. It’s imperative to find someone you can trust to talk to and help you sort through those feelings. I was never comfortable nor did I have the desire to put my feelings onto someone else; I still struggle with sharing sometimes. If you feel the same way, then try finding a professional and invest in your happiness that way. Sometimes knowing they don’t know your personal friends or see you on a regular basis helps in creating a more comfortable position for you to share.

Some people live in this cycle of fake-happy for so long and never receive the help or attention they need to stop it. I ask you, please, pay attention to those you care about and check on how they’re feeling in more than the generic, small-talk kind of way. My content may seem lighthearted, but this is such a serious topic, and I am hoping to help in the awareness of it and, if I’m lucky, even help someone live a happier life.

The Start of Happiness

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Lao Tzu

I won’t bombard you with a life story, not yet at least. I did want to thank you though, for being here, for your curiosity, whatever brought you to the happy-ish blog. Hopefully it means something I’ve spent confused hours on, trying to build from scratch with zero idea of what I’m doing or supposed to be doing, actually sparked your interest.

I wanted to thank you in advance for supporting this journey of mine, even if it’s solely the start. It has taken a tremendous amount of courage – and painful learning – to bring myself to share such a private part of my life publicly, but I feel ready and am grateful you’re here for it.

So, thank you, truly; whether you are a complete stranger who’s wandered aimlessly here or you’re a friend that I coerced into being here. This will be a messy start, but a start nonetheless, into a place where I hope you can relate to; where you might feel like you’re not alone in your own crazy roller coaster of a journey. 

My mind is full of thoughts and ideas to share. But apologies because they’re jumbled like my writing. The point to this is I’m here to share how I’ve found happiness in a chaotic life that doesn’t stop when depression strikes. Perhaps it will help you find your happiness in those moments or perhaps it will help you notice those moments in a loved one’s life.

We are not alone in this and it takes a single moment of awareness to find the start of happiness.