I promise I will begin to be less verbose as time goes by, I have so many ideas, topics swirling though my head right now and I've decided this is where I need to let them all out. At this moment I'm thinking about happiness. I use to think of myself as a "happy" person. And what I'm thinking about now is what does happy mean anyway?
I rolled through life and generally had a smile on my face, a sunny disposition and I never even had PMS!!! And then the "big stuff" hit the fan. The big stuff did not come until my thirties. In my twenties, I had relationships end that were devastating at the time, jobs that were not a good fit, bosses that were incredibly difficult and the like. Normal flow of life and easy rebounds. After I married, I moved way up north and experienced some mild depression in that I couldn't find a job in my field and my husband worked literally all the time and I was slow to make friends. Then we moved back to my hometown and tried to start a family. That didn't go well at all. It was the first time in my life when I tried to do something and couldn't achieve it. It was totally out of my hands and out of my control. I wasn't mad at God, but prayed for whatever was his will yet I desperately wanted to be a parent. I believed my whole life that I was going to be a mother one day.
During this 2 year period of trying to attain pregnancy, I cried all the time. Basically there wasn't a day that went by that there weren't tears. I was on a constant roller coaster of emotions related to hormones, blood tests, ultrasounds, failed attempts and the wonder of how will my dreams of becoming a mother come about. I did acheive pregnancy and finally became a first time mother. Then the most difficult phase of my life began. It was a slow descent into a major depressive episode that is also called postpartum depression. I have recovered from the depression but haven't gotten over the experience and my child is six years old. I am still coming to terms with what happened to me. As I said before I had never even had PMS before. I didn't even know what a mood swing was and then I had the motherload of all mood swings. It was the darkest, deepest, most isolated pit that lacked hope of any kind. And now I understand that hope is a very powerful emotion. I never want to go back there again. There are things that I do to this day to try to avoid going back to a depression, such as always going to bed and getting my sleep. I felt so alone, so isolated and there was a time where surviving an hour seemed like an eternity. There are worse places, situations to be in, but for me this was a major event that has left scars.
After having children, I now have PMS some months. This has scared the crap out of me because it feels like the mood swings will take over my personality again. I have to stop and realize that it is just a part of the cycle. It will pass. My social worker told me that I may have post traumatic stress from my Post Partum Depression. My husband rolls his eyes at that one but that's okay. Just realizing this makes it better.
So it seems that for several years, I was not happy. I was the opposite of "happy." Lately, I've been in a book study with my pastor and the book is, A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. It is a very deep difficult read but extremely enlightening if you are open to it and the message that I have gotten out of it is, live each moment to the fullest. Enjoy the present moment. I have kids and this can go both ways, I choose to laugh at the three or six year old that is driving me bonkers and then loving those profound moments of their take on life.
Carnie Wilson was on Oprah's Monday show and spoke about happiness. And I so identified with what she said which was something like as soon as you say you're happy, then sadness was going to come right around the bend. And I add it will slap you up side the face. After I came out of the postpartum depression, and a couple of year later managed to have another baby (on our own) and no postpartum depression, then I had some family of origin issues rear their ugly head which again threw me for a big loop. I feel that there will always be difficult situations right around the bend, but what I'm learning is to embrace the positive within those negative situations. Embrace the small positives that are meaningful to me, the sun coming up, the flowers, my children, my husband, my friends, the sunrise, good food, a roof over my head, etc.,etc. Focusing on the positive and mourning the things that have caused pain and letting them go. Am I happy? I choose to ignore that question and say, I'm embracing the moments of joy and working towards having more of those however I can do that.