I asked for writing prompts on twitter.
Now I have to fess up about facing my greatest fear.
Not an easy assignment.
Let me start with the happiest moment in my life. And I don’t mean the kind of happy that comes with holding your child for the first time. Or the kind that follows being pronounced Mr. and Mrs. and dancing the first night of the rest of your life away with family and friends. Those kinds of happy come because of what has been given…life, new beginnings, promises for the future.
The Happy I am referring to is the kind that just is. There’s no reason, no cause. The kind that has you smiling at your neighbors and helping kind old ladies cross the street just because you are in that good of a mood. Forget tomorrow…the sun is shining today and it’s downright blinding in its glory in this very moment. You are happy to be alive, to be who you are. You are happy to just fucking be.
I had one of those moments when I was 21. I was sitting on my mother’s front porch, trying to make sense of a strange sensation. It’s hard to describe that moment, even for me. I just remember sitting there, enjoying the soft breeze, as I sat and pondered what exactly it was that was going on inside of me.
I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t anxious. I wasn’t obsessing over calories or the last food binge and how many times I would have to throw up to make up for what I had stuffed down. I was past that. And?
I was just happy. Simply, inexplicably, and beautifully happy with me and my life.
It wasn’t a normal thing for me to feel. After waking many a morning as a small child in tears and no way of expressing the overwhelming sadness that was covering me, after 6 years of fighting bulimia and finally also being diagnosed as clinically depressed and anxious, after 2 years of adjusting Prozac levels and taking my pill like a good little trooper, I was finally able to feel what I had never been able to feel spontaneously.
I’m remembering that moment because I haven’t felt that way since. Or maybe I have. Maybe I will. Yesterday, Last week. Tomorrow. It’s easy to forget the happy from five minutes ago when depression comes in and steals your thunder.
Sure, I’ve had many reasons to be happy. My loving Husband. My beautiful daughter. Friends who get me. Puppies. Sunsets. New shoes. Good hair days. Leftovers that taste better the next day. Hugs. Date nights. Sleeping in. Posting a new blog that I know will make people laugh. Kisses from Buttercup. I love you’s from The Husband.
But very bit of happiness has come as a result of what preceded it. Not because I am. Which really? Makes for a sad irony as it generates more sadness for understanding that I’m missing out on The Happy that should be there, be here, inside my head.
I stopped taking Prozac years ago. I was in a good place. I thought I had it all together. I figured if I had overcome the eating disorder I was golden on the depression front, too. And with encouragement from well meaning family members who believed I didn’t need a pill to create happy because happy was already present, I weaned myself off and never looked back. Not out loud, anyway.
My therapist from my teens told me I was the most highly functioning depressed person she had ever counseled. As long as I am busy, as long as I don’t have time to think about the missing bits in my head, I can pull off a pretty good Happiness Front. You see smiles. You hear laughter. You read snark. And sometimes I can believe it myself.
But like all things left to fester, it builds into something that begins to blemish the very image you created. I’ve hit my breaking point and it’s time to admit what I have been trying to avoid.
My greatest fear? That I am not enough for myself. That I am not enough for my daughter or husband. That I am not whole without happiness manufactured through a pill.
How did I face that fear?
I made a call.
I asked for help.