Archive for June 2013

The Pursuit of Happiness

I think my new meds are working.  Maybe it’s part placebo.  I don’t care.  As long as I feel better.

I haven’t cried in a long time, even if that means a little over a week.  When you’re crying several times a day every day, a little over a week without crying is a long time.

I know that part of my depression is biological – and I can feel it when I’m in a deep, dark depression.  And there’s nothing I can do about it.  But once I come out of the worst of it, and I can at least function, I’m better able to see that things can possibly get better.
So now that I’m in a much better place than I was a few weeks ago, I’m trying to hold on to it.  I’m starting to read a lot of positive psychology books and have a better outlook.  While I know I can’t “snap out of it” when I’m in an awful depression, I know I can work on myself when I’m not in the throes of the darkest days.

One of the things I’ve been trying to do is weed all of the negativity out of my life…I want to surround myself with positive people, not people who are always bringing me down or focusing on the negative.  While I can attempt to do that as much as possible, I know it’s not realistic to not encounter negativity…so I’m working on how I react to it.  I’m trying to build a positivity force field around myself and let all the negativity I encounter just bounce off it.

There are certain things about my life that I can’t change…at least right now.  I’m not exactly thrilled with where I live…I keep telling myself it’s temporary; even if we don’t move to a different town, at least a different house.  And in the meantime I’m trying to focus on all the good things I have, not what I don’t have.

I’m also trying to stay busy, which keeps me more positive and gives me less time to think negatively.  I’ve been going on bike rides every day, playing with the kids outside or inside, going to the library.  (We will not be getting a membership to the pool, as public pools are simply giant toilets with band-aids floating in them – I’m thinking of getting a small pool for the yard, though.)  While this area doesn’t have much to offer, I’m trying to take advantage of everything it does have.  It’s not easy!

I’m starting to see that, at least for me, being happy is as big of a challenge as staying married.  It’s something I have to work at diligently…before I got married, I was so naïve and thought it was just about hanging out with the person you love every day.  HA!  At the same time, I thought happy people were just naturally happy, and I wasn’t one of them.  While maybe I do have a darker side, I’m starting to think I can work on my level of happiness the same way I can work on my marriage.  Instead of focusing on the little things he does that annoy me, I try to focus on the bigger picture and how wonderful he really is…and realize I do things to annoy him, too…and it would be this way with any couple.  So in an effort to become happier, I’m trying to focus on little things, and big things, that make me happy…and trying to forget about the things that annoy or upset me.

I’m focusing on the tree in our yard that I like…on the taste of popsicles…on the funny things my kids say and do…on the fact that Andy kisses me every morning before he leaves for work…on music…on the way bike rides make me feel…on how fun it is to hang out with good friends…on the fact that we’re all healthy (well, mostly…mentally I’m not sure that I’ll ever be considered “healthy”)…

It just depends on how you look at…everything.
It’ll be a lifelong process, but I know if I keep working at it, I can become and continue to be a happy person.  Of course, there will be setbacks – I’m still a realist – but just like with marriage, the setbacks make you stronger.


I’ve been on vacation this week.  I never want to go home.  We’re staying in Alabama along the Gulf of Mexico, and every day I wake up, put on one of my various bathing suits, and sit on the deck of the beach house, watching the waves roll in while I drink my coffee and smoke my-cig.  Today I am blogging next to the Gulf.  Not too bad.  It’s a much better view than I have a home – one reason I don’t want to go back.  

Time just goes slower here.  I stay up late, but I wake up much earlier than I do at home.  I guess I’m not always thrilled or even barely motivated to start my day at home.  Here I am.

My whole family is here, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, kids…there are a lot of people with a lot of different personalities, but we’ve all managed to refrain from killing each other.  I think mostly because there are always some adults floating around in the pool at the beach house with the kids.  Andy and I spend a lot of time in the gulf, smashing into the giant waves that roll in, splashing each other.  Taking long, handheld walks along the beach.  This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time.  I think Andy and I needed this.  I feel we both have let go a lot since getting here…I can feel our connection growing stronger, reviving.  We definitely needed some alone time in paradise.

I’ve really been able to let go here…I don’t really think about the worries I think about on a daily basis at home…no thoughts of bills…depression…problems with the kids or my marriage.  I can relax here and not think about anything.  It’s so nice to get away from it all and walk along the sand…look for seashells…watch for sharks and dolphins and crabs.  I’ve consumed a lot of snow-cones on this trip, too.  My favorite.

We’ve been going out to eat a little bit, but mostly all cooking at the house.  We’ve had a lot of fresh seafood…a few of the guys with us went deep-sea fishing one day and we ate what they caught that night.  I was skeptical but it was delicious. 

We’ve gone out to a few of the local places, and it’s fun to people watch and listen to the live, local music.  You can never be bored then, because there are endless people to make fun of.  It’s one of my pastimes.

I also haven’t really been thinking here about how I’m not drinking.  Practically everyone else here is, but there’s so much to do that I don’t dwell on it.  I have a lot of non-alcoholic options so I feel like I kind of fit in.

I think the biggest struggle for me at home is that I have too much time on my hands.  I like being home with the kids for the most part, but I’m someone who needs to stay busy or I think too much.  And my thinking tends to not be positive.  I’m working on that…it’s definitely a challenge for me.  I’ve been looking for a job outside the house just to keep me busy and prevent me from over-thinking everything, thinking everything’s doomed, I’m doomed…thinking I’m not good enough.  I know a big component of my bipolar disorder is biological, but I’m definitely better when I’m out of the house and away from the everyday, mundane, predictable routine of taking care of the kids (as I listen to them fight, ignore me, defy my orders, etc.)

Please don’t make me go home.

Something else that’s been awesome this week is that two of my cousins are here – the one who lives here in Alabama, and my other cousin who lives in Vegas.  We see Beth much more often than we see Lisa, the one from Vegas.  I love when I get to see her.  She’s the best.  She’s currently living in the Zen Center of Las Vegas.  When she’s not there, she works as a medical massage therapist.  She massages people like Bette Midler, NFL players, famous band members like Motley Crue, Lady Gaga’s crew, etc.  I love talking to her.  She’s so interesting, hilarious, and open-minded.  She’s also had an array of health problems fairly recently, but she has the most upbeat attitude about it all.  I really wish I could see her more.  I love her so much.

I’ve had baby fever recently, and my cousin Russ and his wife Nicole brought their 6-week-old baby.  She’s pretty much the most amazing thing ever.  I’ve loved holding her.  I can’t say that it’s really quenching my fever…well, maybe when she cries.

I’ve been trying to think of ways I can carry this relaxed, vacation feeling home with me when we leave.  I’ve been so much happier this week…part of it could be the new medication I was recently put on, but I think it’s a combination of factors.

My cousin Beth’s boyfriend, John, is a pilot, so he took us all up in his plane today.  It was awesome.  It was so exhilarating to see the Gulf, all the buildings, all the tiny people who looked like ants under their tiny umbrellas.  It was really cool.  I didn’t want to come down.  This has been so much fun; I just don’t want it to end…but it will.  But I guess that’s why they call it “vacation.”  It’s not meant to last forever.  If it did, I suppose I’d get restless and sick of it and want something new…like the way I feel at home now.  And soon it’s back to reality.

Maybe there will be a Gulf of Ft. Jennings when I get home.

About Me

I have an MA in literature from Eastern Michigan University and I write a couple of regular columns for The Delphos Herald. I am the mother of two young girls, and the wife of a firefighter. I am also bipolar (with generalized anxiety disorder) which somewhat accounts for my occupied mind. I rely on sarcasm the way others rely on oxygen.
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