I am Happy, Dammit!

I read an article this week that mentioned how it’s only in America that people casually say, “Hi, how are you?” And we expect a response like, “Fine” or “Good” or “Great, thanks, how are you?” I thought that was funny…I mean, it really is odd. We say it to people we will never see again or don’t know. We just throw it out there because it’s become a common greeting. Like others, I say that to people all the time and I answer that question often as well, however, I realized not long ago, that when someone asks me how I am, I never just say, “good!” Even when it’s a random person that knows me, I can’t do it. I say, “I’m fine.” or “Okay.” But never, “Good.” I started thinking about that and wondering why that is.

About 4 years ago, I started seeing a counselor because my depression was worsening. After years on medication, something was making things spiral and it was time to figure out what it was. The Therapist told was experiencing Anhedonia; the inability to feel joy. I was dealing with such lows in my depression, I wasn’t seeing joy or happiness in anything. I was relieved to have a term to explain how I felt, but it was a horrible place to be. Especially as a mom. The last thing a mother wants to think is nothing can make her happy…including her child! That made me feel worse. When my therapist asked me if I had ever thought of suicide, I was happy to say no. But when she rephrased it to ask, “Have you ever thought your family would be better off without you? and my answer was “Yes”, it really scared me that she considered that the same thing. Thankfully, she was able to help me get some new medication for my depression, and through therapy I slowly came out of that low. But, while I was medicating myself for depression and looking for my joy again, I was drowning myself with booze. I think about that now and wonder how I was able to both. I am so thankful my therapy and meds won out over the drinking, or I wonder where I would be now. It was a very dark time for me.

Today, I am doing well! I am sober – 273 days to be exact. I am handling single life well and happy to be divorced. I’ve had my son live with me full time since the beginning of the pandemic since his dad has to work outside the home and for that I am very blessed! My family has come through the pandemic healthy and mostly unscathed. I have a great, steady job and hit my 20 year anniversary in March. I am in the best place I have been financially and am able to get some projects done at my home to make it even more perfect for me. I am, overall, in a very good place. Yet, I am afraid to say I am Happy. Why? What is holding me back? To be honest, I don’t even write that in my journal!

I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I realize; I am afraid. I’m afraid if I admit my happiness, it will all go away. I know it’s irrational. I know saying something or admitting something doesn’t make it go away. In fact, I think taking ownership of behaviors and feelings helps us solidify them, make them more real. Then why does it scare me so much? That’s the part I can’t figure out.

I guess, the reason I am writing this, is because I am going to challenge myself. Just as I took responsibility for my heavy drinking, I am going to take responsibility for my happiness. AND, I am going to admit, I am happy! What I need to realize is, I can be happy and still have a rough day. I can be happy and still feel crappy or moody or be in a bad mood. I can be happy and still have something bad happen. But, just like I choose to be sober – I choose to be happy. As of today, I am finally going to admit….

I AM HAPPY! I am grabbing onto it with both hands and not gonna let go!

Always~ Ms. K

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