If I sat down right now and wrote out the details of my life, good vs. bad, I am still heavily indebted to the negative side. Far more has gone wrong than has gone right and to some extent this still continues. My life is not filled with horrible days every day but there are still enough horrible days to remind me that I am on a very precarious cliff and I need to watch my every step.
There are those therapy days where I try to chip away at the concrete that was laid firmly in my chest all those decades ago.
My birth family that has let me down so horribly from the day I was born and still do, right up to today.
My young adult children (18 – 21 – 22) see my progress and ability to care for myself as selfish rather than being happy to see me happy.
My husband is very ill with a chronic disease yet chooses to do nothing to stop its progression. I’ve already lost 2 loved ones to this disease and now I am watching it happen again like a bad dream.
I’ve lost my best friend to cancer at only 29 years old, my first love to drugs, I’ve held the dead body of a baby… my baby. I’ve had to bury them all.
I have nightmares every single night, flashbacks every single day and feel chronic physical pain that was caused by damage created long ago.
I worry about being shot every single minute of my days and fear for my safety constantly. This is the hyper arousal – hyper vigilant side of Complex PTSD. It is highly unlikely anyone will shoot me but my brain will not allow me to believe it.
What a rotten life right?
Well, in some ways it is. I dealt with more crap in one year than many people need to deal with in a lifetime. It sucks. It’s been hard. I’ve been depressed, suicidal, self-harming, shame filled and constantly afraid.
So why on earth did I title this blog “Choosing to be happy”?
I make the choice to be happy. Despite everything that I’ve dealt with and still deal with, I make a daily choice to be happy. Anyone who knows me personally can confirm that I never allow myself to get down in the dumps for long. To find me upset for a whole day would be pushing it for me. It is usually a matter of hours.
I hope your next question will be “How on earth do you do it?” because that is the question I am going to try to answer. 😉
If I guessed the wrong question, you can ask me in a comment. 🙂
I had to teach myself to look at happiness as though it was a choice. I now truly feel that it is. When you wake up in the morning or have something horrible happen to you during your day, there is a very clear choice to be made. How am I going to deal with this?
I can curl up in a ball, withdraw from the world, cry and cry and cry some more. I can whine to my friends and to my husband and then come whine in here as well if I wanted to.
I can have my cry if it is possible for me to cry about it. I can reach out to a friend who knows how to really hold a space for me to express myself and then I can make the decision to move past it and refuse AGAIN not to allow it to take me down.
Usually some proactive choice needs to be made followed by a proactive action.
I may need to grieve but then I need to find a positive way to end that grief.
A really good example of that lately is the split between my children and I.
I was devastated by their choice to stop speaking to me. I’ve looked back at their lives and I have seen mistakes I made but I am also able to see that I gave them a really good life filled with all they needed to grow up to be good, socially responsible young adults. 2 have completed post-secondary education and the 3rd begins university next week. None of them are hooked on drugs or alcohol, none were ever beaten or sold. They were shown kindness and respect every step of the way. As devastated as I am, I also realize that there is every good chance that they will grow up and mature in time. They will start to see what was done for them rather than only what was not. Having their own children one day might be a HUGE wake-up call on that one.
So how do I get past that feeling of devastation and move on?
I’ve had my cry (it lasted hours). So has my husband. That was a crappy night. 😦
We took a good long look at how we parented them and realized that we did the very best we could do for them. That is going to have to be enough.
I spoke to my friends, my therapist and a sister-in-law.
Then I took a deep breath and chose to move on. To look at the good in my life and help it to overshadow the negative.
It truly is a choice you make each day. You need to choose what will get your attention.
Each day I CHOOSE to focus on my friends that I’ve cultivated good relationships with. Making good friends requires being one so I really try hard to give back what I get and this creates a very supportive friendship that I honestly do not know what I would do without. They read my blog faithfully so thank you to you!!! Mary, Wendy, Karen, Diana and Polly, ❤
I choose to appreciate my husband and my husband’s family more than I focus on my own. My husband and my in-laws are incredible people. I still feel very alone at times having no family of my own but this group of people deserve every second of my attention. They have earned it and shown me what a family SHOULD be. Marrying in to a good family is also a choice. If a family is mean or uncaring, beware. That is a gigantic red flag.
I choose to focus on this blog and the people who comment, like or share my posts. This blog allows me to feel that somehow all the crap I’ve been through has a purpose. This is a place where I can share what I have learned and try to make someone else feel just a little less alone. It gives me a purpose so thank you for reading it, for the awards, the comments, and the encouragement.
I choose to keep creating my art. It is actually beginning to sell now and people find it very unique. This gives me a real sense of accomplishment.
I choose to be grateful for the therapy I have now. I went through a sea filled with duds before finding the therapist that I have now. I do not allow myself to focus on the ones who’ve actually hurt me even more. I choose to pay attention to what I have finally found now.
I choose to be happy.