Sunday, January 4, 2009

Come on, get happy

2008 kind of sucked, didn't it?

Recession, war, huge financial bailouts for everyone but those who really needed a bailout, rising food prices, obscenely high oil prices, dropping housing values, record-high job losses... It's enough to make even the blue bird of happiness reach for the Zoloft.

Not everything was bad about 2008; We elected a new president and with him comes a new sense of hope for many worldwide. On a personal level I had a baby, our second. Now our family is complete - Two parents, two kids, two dogs, one cat (we really should get her a friend, everyone deserves a friend). We bought a new home... in the middle of this country's biggest recession in decades. Probably not a great move in retrospect, but we're pleased with our decision even if our wallets are a lot lighter and our stress level is a lot heavier. Those closest to me are healthy, physically speaking, and it's been over a year since anyone close to me died. My husband is gainfully employed; we have food on our table and clothes on our backs. So in spite of everything outside my four walls, I should be happy. Right?

Yeah, not so much.

Somewhere along the line I seem to have lost my happy. I swear it was just here a minute ago, I just can't seem to find it. I've searched high and low... Okay, that's a lie. I haven't searched all that hard. 2008 is what I consider to be my "Blue Year". Not much in the way of finding happiness, more waiting for happiness to find me. Much too busy deeply sighing, staring off into space and weeping over Save the Animals commercials. Maybe I didn't lose my happy after all. Maybe it needs a better GPS.

If I'm being honest with myself - And I should, you catch more happy with truths than with lies. Or something like that - I've always had a hard time holding on to my happiness. To me true happiness is a slippery sucker. Holding onto a truly blissful moment is akin to being a one-armed man in an greased pig catching contest.

Okay, bad analogy.

What I'm trying to say is, I've had my ups and downs for some time now. Years. Possibly decades.

Should I seek help? Yeah, probably. Should I be taking antidepressants? I don’t know. Maybe. But here's the rub - I don't want to. Take the drugs, that is. It's not that I'm against pharmaceuticals. I'm usually the first person to suggest to friends or family that if they're depressed they should take some drugs, man. The legal, prescribed kind, of course. Wouldn't want to mess with the Fuzz while depressed and hopped up on heroin. That would be bad and sort of counter intuitive. I just don't want to go that route just yet.


Well, 1) I'm lazy. Just the idea of having to call the doctor, make an appointment, drive to the appointment, tell the doctor just how sad I am and have her look at me like Tell me one I haven't heard before, then drive back home to pick up my perscription... You're getting the idea right? To you, this doesn't seem all that bad. To me, it's a nightmare. And 2) I don't feel like messing around with antidepressants, finding which one works for me and at which dose. Not to mention the possible side effects, like decreased sex drive (I'd link to the recent news reports of that lovely side effect but again, Lazy.).

I. Just. Don't. Want. To. Deal.

This leads me to the purpose of this blog.


There has to be a better way, other options to try, and I'd like to try those first. When and if the time comes that I do indeed need to see my doctor and be put on Zoloft, Wellbutrin, or any of the other cast of mood altering characters I will pull myself up by the proverbial boot straps and call my doctor for a prescription. Until that day comes, however, I am going to try everything I can to get myself out of this funk. I'm going to try to change my life, my approach to everyday trials, and maybe try an all natural cure or two.

"Better living without the aid of pharmaceuticals" - That will be my motto for the next year or so.

This is not a resolution, not a New Year's one at any rate. Those are always doomed to fail. I mean, look at me. It's how many days after the New Year and I'm just posting this now? If this was a New Year's resolution it would have been over before it began.

Changing my life is not going to be easy. I'm 36 years old and I'm pretty set in my ways. This should be interesting.

Before I begin, I need to stress a few things. First and again, I don’t condemn the use of antidepressants or anyone who chooses to use them. Second, I know there are other websites out there dedicated to finding happiness. And those websites, for all the good information that is held there, leave me feeling like I’m being preached to. I don’t want to be preached to. This blog is about one person trying to find their happiness in any way she can. If you glean some inspiration from this, great. If you think it’s horseshit, that’s okay too. Que sera sera.

(See? Doris Day, she seemed happy. I don’t know if that’s true or not, if she really was happy, but she went on to create a foundation to help save animals and things like that make me happy. So there.)

And lastly… Well, actually there isn’t anything else. Let’s begin this experiment.

Let’s get happy.


just another Canadian said...

Totally anecdotal.
I have been depressed on and off most of my life.
Taken meds, not taken meds. Severe postpartum depression and all.
I took B6, as soon as there was a sunny day I plonked myself and whomever was nursing in a patch of sun (make the cat move!).
And a lot of honesty. No, I'm not fine. I'm working on it, but I'm not fine.
Simple and to the point. Things aren't great, but I'm trying.
BRAVO for the honesty.
I'm not sure about finding 'the happy'... but finding yourself content is worth the search.

Lara said...

happy, happy, joy, joy!

(does anyone remember the "ren and stimpy" song to which i'm referring?)

anyway, i love ya, and i'm here to read along. and maybe cheer you on sometimes. and other times i'll cry with you. that's what the cool kids do.

J from Ireland said...

I'm looking forward to getting a few tips. The best of luck to you.

Tania said...

Just another - I'll settle for content right now. Happy is my Everest. I hope to reach that someday without asphyxiating.

Lara - Glad to have you here and love right back atcha. And yes, I do remember Ren and Stimpy, though vaguely. It was during my college years. Lots of smoke in the way (ahem).

J - Thanks for the luck. I'll need it.

Whirlwind said...

Hum, maybe I can find my super lets not stress out all the time self along the way. Either way, I'm here for the ride.

Amy Nathan said...

I'm no therapist but I play one on TV. No, I don't but I have had so many ups and downs I should. That being said - do you know what you THINK would make you happy? Make a list, try it all on, try it all out. Is it seasonal? Maybe you need those groovy lights.

Frankly, I'll be honest, in a lot of ways my life sucks. But I'm reasonably happy. Sometimes I wonder if that's normal.

The Hotfessional said...

Just following you here. And cheering for you.

catnip said...

I'm usually a glass half full kinda girl, but lately, meh. I've been referring to it as losing my funny, but it's pretty much the same thing. I'm with you.

Anonymous said...

My "happy" has been missing for so long, I'm not even sure that I believe in it anymore. While not suicidal, I definitely am ready to die. How's that for helpful? I'm trying to exercise every so often, but really, I can't tell that it's making much difference. Mostly just adds to the guilt if I don't get around to doing it.

Chibi said...

"I don’t want to be preached to."

AMEN! (Hehe -- sorry, I had to.) I'm looking forward to watching your journey unfold and hoping to maybe pick up some tips and/or inspiration along the way.

Best of luck!

motherbumper said...

ohhh I'm along for the ride.

Cate said...

cool idea. I'll be reading along.

I hope you figure out something that works for you.

Heather said...

I'm convinced that my happy is related to light levels. I always lose the happy as the dark months drag on. I should probably see a doctor about getting one of those lights that you turn on and sit by, that might help.

Mac and Cheese said...

Only one suggestion: Don't go see Marley and Me.

Anonymous said...

Hey - great post. I've struggled with my lack of happiness in the past too and I know how you feel. It can be weird just feeling blah all the time.

I'm SO here for the ride - and looking forward to it!

Used*to*be*me said...

So much of what you've written I can relate to. I started taking DHEA because I turned 40 this year and early this year I started feeling like I lost my happy too. They've helped in a small way. I am now taking the daily vitamitavegimin route and trying to change my thinking to that of a more positive tone. Good luck to both of us!

SUEB0B said...

It might just be sleep deprivation. The most depressed I have ever been was when I was sleep deprived for about 6 months due to a cuddly, active BF who was sharing my bed - and I can't sleep unless I am NOT being touched. Once I kicked him out, my happy came right back.

Mandy said...

I'm along for the ride. I too struggle with finding my happy at times. Glad you started this blog.

flutter said...

I am so proud of you for this

margalit said...

You know, even with ADs, most people aren't all that happy. If you can find happiness without them, then bless you! I think it's great that you're even going to try. I should follow you, but I'm too lazy to even try. And that's with Effexor. Sad, but true.

The Stiletto Mom said...

Good for you...I went through something like this a few years ago and refused to take anything for it. Lots of soul searching and while I can't say the answer came to me in a glorious ray of light or anything, today I am in a pretty good spot. I wish you all the best!

PunditMom said...

I'm so in on this. I don't know where my happy is -- somewhere back in 2003, I think. There is just too much going on here that drags me down every time I think I see a glimmer of happiness. Road trip? ;)

kgirl said...

2008 was a total mindfuck for me. Here's to a happy '09.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I don't know about you, but when my kids were babies, I was unhappy a lot. I blame it on lack of sleep. Now, that they are a teeny bit older, and I'm sleeping more, 'happy' doesn't seem quite so far away.

And, given that I had a bottle of Zoloft in my cupboard for a year before I threw it out, unopened, I hear you on being reluctant to take any drugs. I already fill up my body with enough prescriptions due to asthma, I don't need anything else swimming in my blood if I can help it.

I'm hoping our getting a dog in a few years will increase my happy exponentially.

Ali said...

definitely following you here, my dear!

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Right here with you. (I chose the pills though. Celexa is my BFF.)

And I thought you were trying to be all french with the operationge thappy blog address. Heh.

Anonymous said...

I'll come along with you. Doctors and drugs aren't my cup of tea, either.

P.S. Mac and Cheese's comment to avoid "Marley and Me" reminded me that "YesMan" was kind of fun and uplifting, if you're looking for a distraction for a couple hours.

SciFi Dad said...

I think you know yourself better than any assvice offerers or doctors ever will, so if you think you can do it without meds, then you can. I'm interested to see where this ride goes (and OK, maybe the prospect of assless chaps).

Major Bedhead said...

My bluebird of happiness left a long time ago. I miss it. I want it back. So, yeah, count me in.

Anonymous said...

Wow, so, I am glad you're doing this. I've lost my happy, too. I broken down in a sobbing puddle the other day and my husband said, "Okay, it's time for you to get some help." He was talking about meds. I am NOT against them, either. I just don't want to take them.

So, I will follow you and see if I can find my happy, too. :)

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I am here on the journey with you, hon. There is are just so many components to being happy. I wish we could grab a cup of coffee together. I have the feeling we'd have a lot to say to each other. Our own weekly How's the Happiness Hunt kind of check in.

mothergoosemouse said...

I'm here. My happy is kind of elusive too.

Sandra said...

Big hugs to you my friend. Happiness has been a slippery sucker for me all my life. Here following along on your quest.

Lisa N. said...

I'm SO with you on this. It's taken me 2 years to admit to myself that I probably had PPD after my first kid, and I see it looming again as I prep for baby #2 (due in Feb). Must...find..the happy!

I hope you DON'T run screaming from this blog in 3 months, but even just these two posts have made me feel less alone. So thanks. :-)