“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” -Steve Maraboll.
If you’re a first time reader, welcome and thank you for being here to share in my story. I want to preface this post, as I always do – this is NOT a sob story and this is NOT me crying about an awful life or looking for sympathy. I have an amazing life and I have so much to be thankful for! I thank God every single day for how blessed I am. God is my savior, my lifeline and the one who keeps me above water. That being said, there is a hole in my heart that needs to be filled. This blog is therapeutic for me and I hope that it shows people that it’s ok to be vulnerable. Telling my story shows that there is more behind a smile; and what you see on the outside is not always what’s going on inside. Behind my smile, I am ashamed to say, is depression and anxiety which has recently taken over my life. I have not wanted to officially share this diagnosis with anybody, until now. I feel like it’s finally time. I have nothing to be ashamed of, but really something to be proud of. I am a fighter and I don’t give up. Never have, never will. I have had an incredible amount of loss lately and I am dealing with it the best I know how. We can’t really know what is right or wrong when trying to handle these things, but just trust in God and pray you’re hearing the right voice! God has been nudging me to just come out with it and I haven’t been brave enough to do it. I find that when you follow the nudge, something amazing can happen, so here we go!
I’ve shared in earlier blogs a little bit about my history, where I come from and that my heart has been broken over and over throughout my life and this time I don’t know how to fix it. We all go through heartache, but my story is a little different right now. This is more than just a little loss. I have lost 5 people in 4 months (2 family, 3 friends) and the relationship I thought I would be in for the rest of my life. The man that became my best friend through some unusual circumstances and who I now consider the love of my life. Gone. All while working an incredibly stressful job, going through a buy-out (merger), not being sure from day to day what I would walk into at work or if I would be laid off at any time. That’s a lot to handle for anyone, even experienced stress handler like me! I have always been the person that just handled things that came my way and went on. I’ve been strong, sometimes called cold because I was so strong it appeared as though I didn’t care. The truth is, if I slowed down long enough to feel, I would hurt too badly and I never allowed that. I didn’t necessarily “deal” with any of it, I just accepted it and moved on. Now, I am having a very hard time dealing with the things that I should have been dealing with my entire life. I think most of us have the best of intentions, and I believe that we make the best of the hand we are dealt. Lately, I find this to be only partially true; and we have the ability to alter our path. We have a choice to be happy or not be happy and this comes out in the decisions we make. I wish I had known this earlier in life and understood the opportunities that truly laid before me! I wish I had believed in myself enough to know just how strong and capable I was, and still AM! I have spent so much of my life trying to make others happy that I never stopped to realize how unhappy I was. As a young girl, my happiness wasn’t on anyone’s priority list, so I guess it never really made it high on my list either. Until now!
How do you define happiness? I’ll bet each of us has a different definition. My definition of happy is living a life of abundance, giving back to those in need, donating my time where it is needed most and sharing that with my best friend and partner in life. Are you happy? Is there a hole there that you try to fill? I’ve spent a lot of time going over these thoughts lately. The amount of loss lately is too much and because I lost that best friend that should have been there with me to comfort me through the losses, the changes, etc. I haven’t had great capacity to do it on my own. My happiness, unfortunately just as when I was younger, wasn’t on his priority list either. Yet I was more apt to endure that than to change it. I didn’t want to lose him and what we had, even though to a lot of people it wasn’t ideal. It took me 40 years to find what I thought I wanted in a man and the last 5 years have not been easy, but I didn’t want to let go. As a young girl, we have our “ideal” man…what he will look like, what he will act like, what kind of a father and man he will be. This man met all of that and then some. Tall, dark and handsome, a great father, more passion than I’ve ever experienced. He allowed me take down a lot of walls, I trusted him. I’ve never been much of a girly girl, but somehow he made me one. I’m different than I used to be. He made me feel more beautiful and special than anyone else ever has, but ultimately I wasn’t his priority. Period. I tried to make him happy with acts of kindness, taking care packages when he was sick, buying him gifts, buying his children gifts, asking about the family…nothing worked. He didn’t recognize it for what it was, he felt I was trying to control him when all I really wanted was to be a part of his life. We all know that our perception is our reality. So that was his reality and I cannot change what he felt. I’ll never feel love like that again, he was IT for me and beyond all the recent loss, that one has nearly broken me.
This is just another example of the pattern that I followed of trying to get somebody who said they loved me to show me they loved me. I have been chasing love my entire life. The only person that loves me unconditionally on this earth is my daughter. My beautiful, smart mouth brat – Lexie. Haha, all joking aside, I have watched her heart break at what I am going through and I have not always been the kindest to her when she is trying to help me. For that I have regrets. I have allowed people and feelings get in between us and yet she loves me the way I have always wanted to be loved. It makes me feel good, yet guilty at the same time because I don’t feel like the last few years have been ideal for her. I’ve put her through a lot while I dealt with my own issues. I am so thankful and grateful for her. SHE gives me purpose, love and caring. I love her with all of my heart and I could never make it without her. Whether she knows it or not, she is my best friend and the one I count on in this world.
I have been thinking about all the “problems” in my life and placing a lot of blame (on myself and others), trying to figure out what to do, how to help myself feel better and be happy. I think this is my million dollar question – what is it going to take to make me happy again? Since I am currently on disability from work, I have been filling my days helping people, donating time to charities and spending time with amazing people that have hearts I admire and learn from. That is amazing and I am so fulfilled while I am there, and even for a while after I am riding high! But ultimately, there is still a hole and something is wrong. My heart has been broken by so many people throughout my life and recently it has been compounded and so many old wounds have surfaced, I have had a very hard time even putting the thoughts into words to create my blog posts. Things from the past have surfaced that have created even more emotional issues for me. Some days the pain is overwhelming and some days I don’t want to get out of bed. Physically I am feeling quite a bit better, although the nerve pain I deal with has been directly correlated with the anxiety and stress. On high anxiety days, I am more likely to hurt worse. The migraines have become unbearable. I get shots all over my head every 3 weeks to keep them at bay. People don’t understand the truth behind anxiety and/or depression and when you have them together with physical pain, some days it’s easier to stay in bed even though that’s the worst thing for you. If you read this and you are also struggling with these types of problems, I implore you to get out there, surround yourself with people that lift you up. You know the saying – ‘fake it til you make it’? Well, it’s right! People reading my blog had no idea that I am struggling with these problems. I will find a way to beat this, I will conquer it. I will get my happiness back and it will be on my own terms, not somebody else’s. I was told that I am not the same person and they were right…and I miss the old me. I need the old me to return! THAT is what is going to make me happy. I want to be the happy go lucky woman that went with the flow and had fun – whatever we were doing! Structure is important, don’t get me wrong, but there is nothing wrong with flying by the seat of your pants and having fun once in a while!
One thing I can assure you, my happiness will not be defined by anybody but me. I have lost my way a bit right now, I have temporarily lost my ability to be the usual problem solver, a fixer and an unconditional lover. There are so many factors that play into my situation currently. None of us will ever be without problems in our lives. It’s how we choose to react to them that will lead us. I will be placing these issues on the chopping block one at a time and giving them over to God. It’s easier said than done, but I know whole heartedly that when I need help and guidance, I know where to turn. My good friend reminded me the other day, God’s got my back. I know he does. This is not an easy fight that I am fighting right now but it is one that I will win – that I can assure you!!
Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more…and remember, happiness is an inside job!!