Choosing Happiness

August 31, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Wednesday night I took a walk by myself. Surviving that day had taken everything I had. I hadn’t slept the night before. I was exhausted in every possible way. As I made my way back home, I started to cry. The words from a song were playing over and over in my head: “How many times can I break till I shatter?” It felt like I had reached my absolute limit. After walking in the door, my quiet tears turned into soul-wracking sobs that didn’t die down for at least an hour.

I don’t know how or why, but that night was a turning point. Whether something shifted inside of me or something shifted somewhere else I don’t know, but something shifted. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were mostly good. I’m having some mild benzo withdrawal symptoms this afternoon, but nothing I can’t handle. Who knows what the coming week+ will bring, but I’m grateful to be spending more time staring at my husband because I’m noticing how very handsome he is rather than staring at him because I’m pleading with my eyes for him to tell me I’m going to be OK.

People often say, “Happiness is a choice.” A part of me wants to instantly reject that notion. If it was really that simple, I wouldn’t be popping an anti-depressant pill every morning and the term “mental illness” wouldn’t exist. But at the same time, a part of me recognizes that it’s true.  Happiness is a result of choices we make.

Sometimes choosing happiness isn’t choosing to be happy, but rather choosing to believe that someday you will be happy again. Sometimes choosing happiness isn’t choosing to accept your circumstances, but rather choosing to refuse to accept that your bleak circumstances are permanent. Sometimes choosing happiness isn’t choosing to feel joyful, but rather choosing to let yourself feel what you are feeling, even if it’s horrific, because somewhere deep down you know that experiencing the darkest abysses of life will make your capacity to experience true joy so much greater. Sometimes choosing happiness is simply choosing to live another day, even if that day is likely to be painful.

I haven’t been very happy for the past four months, but I have chosen happiness every day of the past four months. And that’s why I’m still here.