Happiness is elusive. It slips through my fingers like a fistful of sand. When I was young I was told to go after what makes me happy. So I tried to go after it, but I couldn’t pin it down.
People, places, career paths — all chosen in the name of happiness. But, for every situation that filled me with happiness, I stayed in situations and relationships that drained me much longer. I got good at being unhappy.
But really, my happiness comes and goes regardless of my situation. My manic depressive brain loves to find dark clouds that loom nearby, shunning their silver linings — those are for someone else, not for me. I can be at my best, with everything I need, and still the unhappiness —depression — creeps in.
So, I’m starting to believe that happiness is just not a sustainable state for me. I’m starting to worry that I’ll never truly be happy — that I won’t be able to make it stick.
These past few months, as I closed the door on a role that made me unhappy, and started moving toward something that I’m passionate about, I thought my mere movements would help bring forth happiness and stability. I wish I was in a stage of excitement about the future, but a deep sadness and hopelessness has bubbled up to the surface again — and it’s hard for me to shake it (as if I could just shake it).
I’m reminded that it was around this time last year that I checked myself into an intensive outpatient psychiatric treatment program for the first time. Over quite a few medication adjustments, and about a month of group therapy sessions, I got to a place where I was stable and even able to experience joy. The joy lasted a little bit…the stability a bit longer…and a few months later I found myself in another depressive episode and went back to the outpatient program (this time with the diagnosis of Bipolar 2 disorder).
For a few months after round two I felt stable, and then I found myself battling depression yet again. It’s frustrating. I’m trying to move toward things that should bring happiness in my life, but the happiness isn’t there. Most of the time I'm alone, scared, anxious, depressed. (And I'm on four different medications that are supposed to help manage all of this!)
I don't know what to do to make things better. I'll keep going to therapy. I'll keep searching for a job that will be (at least somewhat) fulfilling. And, each morning, I'll try to force myself out of bed. I'll try to move my body. I'll plead with myself to eat enough food. I'll try to convince myself to leave the house. I'll try to keep myself from self-harm. I'll try to take care of myself. I'll promise myself to stay alive. I'll wait for this to pass.
Happiness, I have lost you. I wish you were a blanket I could wrap around myself tightly and never let go of. I wish I could find you. I wish you would stay.