When you don’t have depression…

When you don’t have depression…

I often feel down, yet I am happy. I often feel alone, yet I am surrounded. I often feel tired, yet I don’t want to sleep. I often feel empty, and yet I am full. I often feel broken, yet I am whole. I often want silence, yetI love noise. I want more, yet I also want less. I am full of sickness, yet I have so much health. I am not depressed, yet I do feel compressed.

I often notice that on many days I feel down, yet I know in my heart that I am not depressed. I have often thought to myself, how could this be? I don’t have trouble getting out of bed, or going to sleep. I don’t feel unbearable sadness, or lack of interest in things. All the typical symptoms of depression I don’t have, yet I still feel down sometimes. It took me a while to sort it all out, but I have come up with a self-diagnostic for myself, and maybe it could ring true for you too. I call it: my Compression Days.

The definition of compression is:

~The reduction in volume causing an increase in pressure~

What I have realized is that I start every single morning with a new lease on life. My pots syndrome resets itself every morning. So in the morning I start at 100% (kind of). As many chronic warriors know , for every activity we do, or stress we encounter, or ache we feel, we lose a percentage of that 100%. The goal is to manage our day, thus managing our symptoms, so we can get through the day somewhat whole. The same applies to those outside of the chronic illness world too. I like to picture a big pink balloon. Every morning I fill that balloon up, and place it in a vice. As I go about my day, each event either loosens the vice, or tightens it. If i feel a symptom of my illness, the vice tightens. If i feel stress from work, or school, the vice tightens. Financial worries, kids worries, pandemic worries, family worries, tighten, tighten, tighten, tighten. I feel it tighten all day long, to the point that there is no room for a calm, happy state of mind. The compression keeps building and building until I can’t take it anymore, and I burst.

I am sure many of you can relate. Maybe we yell at the kids or spouse more when it was completely uncalled for. Maybe, you end up crying in the shower, afraid to let others know how you are feeling. Maybe you walk around in a bad mood all day, or just feel angry. May you feel off, but you can’t quite figure it out. I have had many days like that. I felt like I was in a constant vice being squeezed, and I had trouble articulating that until just now. If I don’t manage the vice, then the vice manages me

How do we manage it then? We slow down. We surround ourselves with the right people. We do things every day that makes us happy. We workout, we take time for ourselves, we create an environment that eliminates stress, we meditate, we get outside into nature, we watch positive tv, or read positive books and avoid the barrage of negative social media. We do things for others, expecting nothing in return. We enjoy solitude. We enjoy company. We appreciate family. We appreciate what we have been blessed with. We work hard towards a goal that makes us happy. We give ourselves a reasons to live. We give others a reason to live. We make an impact. We are the impact. We create change, for happiness.

The less compressed I feel, the happier I am. I see that now. I decrease my stress, the lighter I feel. The lighter I feel, the more my mood increases towards happiness. The happier I am, the better I am for my kids and husband. Not being chained down to compression, allows me to get outside, read my books, meditate, and write. My happy places get utilized. I am allowing myself to dust off my happy place, and use it.

~It is not death that man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live~

Marcus Aurelius

Compression allows us to live in anger and sadness. Loosen that vice, and live. Lose the anger, and sadness, and anxiety, and fear, one crank at a time. Go find your happy place, and just soak it in.

Finding happiness, right where you are

Finding happiness, right where you are

I must admit, I had a little help with being inspired for this next blog. I have to give a shout out to my girl Moana, from Disney’s amazing animated movie of the same name, ‘Moana’. Now I won’t confirm or deny that it is quite possible that I am able to recite every single line from the movie, or that I often sing all the songs in shower, and that I usually persuade my daughters to watch that movie over the other ones they may opt for instead. However, it was while we were watching it again, ahem, on repeat, that I was inspired to write. A line In the song “Where you are”, hit me in the gut. It was something I had heard over and over, but it never stuck. Today, it stuck. In the song, her father Chief Tui says:

“There comes a day, when you’re gonna look around, and realize that happiness is where you are, cause every path leads you back to where you are”.

~Where you are Lin-Manual Miranda~

Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com

So many of us are caught in this hamster wheel, spinning and spinning, chasing the elusive dream of what other great pleasures we can pin down. When is enough, enough? Well, twelve pairs of jeans aren’t enough, we need that new pair, the ones made from silk that has been spun on sleeping beauties very spindle! Our houses aren’t big enough, we need the one in the country , where we can watch the deer stroll by, while drinking our espresso’s from our super expensive barista machine. We chase more money, we chase better jobs, we chase the perfect body, we chase the perfect children, we are chasing our way through a life that is barren. We are caught up in this web of wistful feelings that we get when we stroll through social media. We assume everyone is happy, and living a better life that we are. We want, and want and want. Yet the more we get, it never seems to be enough does it? But what if you one day you woke up, and realized that you are exactly where you need to be, and what you had is enough?

That is what happened to me

I think it is easy to forget how lucky we are. Every night, I say a prayer with my girls that starts with ” thank for the food in our bellies, and the roof over our head”, because I want them to always remember that it is a privilege to have these things, and to never take it for granted. There is a line in the song ‘Sit down’, by James, that also serves as a reminder:

“If I hadn’t seen such riches, I could live with being poor”

~Sit Down, By James~

Photo by Malte Luk on Pexels.com

Think about the truth behind that lyric. If you never had to compare your own self, to that of another’s, would you have this need for all these things? Would you be more satisfied with where you are? Growing up in the 80’s or 90’s, all of our photo’s of our vacations, and new outfits, and houses were private. You didn’t have the world to contend with, you had what you had. I have spent years chasing the dream of a better job, more money, more clothes, more property, bigger house, more and more and more. Who hasn’t? It is human nature. There is nothing wrong with dreaming and wanting more for yourself. It is admirable. The problem is, when it starts to take away from your own happiness. When jealousy, or negative emotions take over and it causes depression, or despair, or feelings of inadequacy. If you open up your eyes and look around. Really open them up. Like open up your soul. Sit down and take stock of what you have. Do you have your health? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food in your bellies? Do you have loved ones that you can rely on and who are there for you? Do you have a paycheque? Do you have clothes on your back, and shoes on your feet? If you answered yes to all of these, guess what? You are lucky. You are rich. You are blessed. That is all we need. The rest, is just fluff.

Let’s not spend another day blinded by what we don’t have, and instead appreciate what we do have. Every path that you take, has led you to where you are. It is where you need to be, and you are here now. You are breathing, loving, and living. Your life is yours alone to live. Don’t live someone else’s life that you perceive as perfect on social media. That’s their life, this is yours. If you change your perspective, you might just realize how lucky and envious your life really is to someone else out there, that couldn’t answer ‘yes’ to all those questions.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Instead of trying to live a life that isn’t yours, why not take the time to help someone change their life, so that they can answer ‘yes’ one day too. Someone out there is looking at your life, and thinking about how perfect it is. See it though their eyes. Chances are, you will realize, like I did, that I have all I need, and that I have the power to give someone the help they need. Helping others, is way more fulfilling than the fluff we think we need. The world needs more people that want to help. So, take off your shoes and help put someone else into your shoes. Give them a pair of shoes. Help get a roof over their head, or food in their bellies. Even small changes, are meaningful to those that receive them. Will you help change the life of someone out there?