Are You Happy?

A warning - this is a very personal post. Please don't be alarmed or offended by anything that follows:

Has anyone ever asked you if you were happy? For whatever reason, my instant response has always been, "Yes." I felt obligated to respond that way. Usually, the person or people asking the question felt directly responsible for my happiness - my parents, my husband, my friends, etc. I hate to admit it, but thinking back through my life...all the way back, as far as I can remember...I don't ever remember being 'happy.' I remember doing things that were fun and I enjoyed. I remember being around people that I enjoyed sharing time with. But, I don't look back and think, "When I was ___, I was happy," or "Back when ___, I was happy."

Wow...I couldn't get that much understanding from therapy. All I got was, "You're too normal...you should have more emotions/reactions to things." I didn't understand that at the time, but I think I'm slowly getting there now. My response to most people has usually been what I thought it should be, not necessarily how I honestly felt (or what I actually thought). I think having done that for so long, it's proving difficult to break the cycle and even more difficult for those near to me to really understand it. I tend to speak up for myself a little more. I tend to 'fight back' when I think something isn't right. It's probably odd for people close to me, knowing I rarely did either of those things in the past.

Now, as I close in on my 31st birthday, I'm starting to understand that I can be happy and I shouldn't have to live inside a cut-out image that other people have made for me. I can only be who I am...God made me this way for a reason, even if it's different than everyone else. I should feel free to be me for me, not for anyone else.

And, slowly grasping the idea that no matter how hard I try, I can't be perfect. You'd be amazed at how much effort one chick can put into trying to do the right thing for everyone else, all of the time. And, how heartbreaking all those things can be because they never turn out 'perfect.' Instead, they miss the unrealistic mark I set and I'm even more disappointed that I was before I started. God never intended for me to be perfect and I've just got to keep that in mind when I set personal expectations.

The last few weeks or months at work have seemed like a terrible drain on me. And, it had started to have an impact on my home life as well. Mike had suggested that maybe I was depressed. Me? No. I can't be depressed. Only people with ______ [insert sterotype here] are depressed. I'm not ______ [refer to previous stereotype]. I've had very close friends and relatives that have battled depression. I've always tried to be there for them and tried to encourage them, praying that God would give them the strength to overcome the depression.

Initially, I couldn't seem to understand that I could actually be depressed. Whenever Mike would point things out or suggest something, I would give some explanation or excuse and move right on to the next thing, never really giving it much thought. After feeling really bad lately (tired, run down, trouble sleeping, irritable, forgetful, uninterested), I stopped dismissing everything. I decided to make an appointment and talk to someone about it.

I actually left the doctor's office with a handwritten prescription for: 20 minues of Phyllis time each day (reading, listening to music, etc)...alone. I also left with a prescription for some medicine that she thought may help me. For some reason, after just the visit, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It was as if trying to deny what was really going on inside my head was making everything worse.

I'm thankful for a loving husband who is willing to step up and say something, even if he knows my reaction won't be positive or receptive. I'm thankful for a God who designed each of us with a purpose in mind. I'm thankful to be blessed with so many wonderful people in my life, many of whom I take for granted. I'm thankful that I CAN be happy.

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