Processing happiness

I managed to make a little space in my days over the last week and I used it to change a rebuild everything that I now do on Twitter. I have been wanting to for quite a while now as once again it had become just that bit too much for me, so although nothing has vanished, everything has been altered in some way, mainly reduced in their frequency which means fewer tweets and less work. When I look at what I do these days compared to what I started out doing, it was just madness the amount of tweets I once sent out, some might say it still is, but I did always set out to do it my way and that hasn’t changed. Over the next few days, I know without a doubt everyone will spot the changes and I just hope it still keeps everyone happy and not feeling as though I am ignoring them, as the mentions were the thing that needed the most pruning, something I started about a month ago. It’s really hard when your health forces you into making changes, changes that you know without a doubt you wouldn’t have made for any other reason, but that is what happens with conditions like mine, we have to keep changing to keep up with what it is doing to us.

It doesn’t matter whether we are ill or not, one of the things that it is impossible to do is to not look back on our lives. Those people who tell you to just forget about it, or not think about it are mad and personally, I actually believe that looking backwards is often the best way of working out not just who we were then, but who we are now. There are events in everyone’s lives that none of us will ever escape, those events that can’t be forgotten or brushed over, but no matter how painful we are always drawn back to by events, or just our mind’s still trying to make some kind of sense out of the whole things. I for one have found that the worst thing possible to do with those memories is to try and push them into some kind of box and keep them there, it doesn’t work, they always explode suddenly and you don’t just feel them, you relive them in probably a more painful fashion than you did originally. One of the biggest problems of our modern world is we don’t have space to think, there is always something to distracts us, gives us an excuse to pack those thoughts away. There is one thing that totally amazes me and that is people who say in bemusement that they can’t sleep because they can’t shut up their minds, why are they so surprised by that fact, if you don’t think about things, they will make you think once you have the peace and quiet to do so. To me it has been the most positive thing to have come out of being housebound, I have had time to think, time to go over all those things that were my life and to see them often in a very different light, that’s why I said “to see who you were”, I have learned more about me in the last 8 years, than I learned in the previous 45 and the biggest thing I have learned is if you have things pushing their way into your mind, it is because there is something wrong with the way you are remembering it and all too often, it is the viewpoint that’s wrong, the fact that I hadn’t looked at it from the viewpoint of the others involved.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about forgiveness and how it was all too often ourself that we had to forgive, but not all memories are about apportioning blame, most are far more about emotions, our times of both happiness and sadness, if we are lucky exceptionally lucky the happiness memories out way all others. There is a myth in my head that says everyone in this world is happier than I am, I know it’s a myth because everything I read tells me that everyone out there feels ruffly about the same. It has taken me a long time to realise that being content is actually the reality of how most of us live, somewhere along the line we have this black and white view imprinted on us, that you are either happy or sad and there is no in between, but if there were the truth everyone would be walking around either in fits of tears or manically laughing, contentment is a very under appreciated state. When I found myself housebound I also found myself with the time to work through a million things, forgiveness was one of the first and it took a lot of soul-searching and lot of pain but I still stick to what I said in 2013, it is so worth doing, it changed me into a much more mellow person inside, I was no longer pulling myself apart and fighting my way through a life that had so many painful events in it that the past was a dangerous place. I was lucky in one way, that I had tried to do the same thing once before when I first moved to Glasgow, but I had held onto some who I was just not ready to forgive at that point, two years ago I at last forgave both my Father and the man who raped me when I was 12. It is hard to grow up when you are permanently being held back by so much hate and it holds you back emotionally as well, I had spent most of my adult years still acting like a child when I was confronted by anything I didn’t like, want to face or wanted to admit. My memories had been overshadowed by those spectators who I couldn’t put to rest and finally forgiving was a wonderful feeling. In the last few years, I have spent a lot of time going through my past, well as I said the other day, new memories are hard to make when every day is identical, but someone the other day said something that made me sit up and think again.

It was in response to one of my tweets, I can’t remember exactly which one now, I know I should have made a note of it, but I didn’t. They too had a chronic illness, but they were trying so hard to fight against it and to get back the life they had before their illness hit. It was something I never once tried, I had had so many different lives, that the whole idea of trying to get back any of them, well it didn’t make sense to me, I have started over so many times that starting over again seemed like the natural thing to do and I just did it. With every change that my health has imposed on me, I have readjusted and restarted what in many ways is another book in my growing life history. I have always taken with me what I had learned but not once trying to hold onto or return to what was now a closed book. It never once occurred to me that anyone else out there would be trying to do anything else, yet here I had it in front of me in black and white, someone who couldn’t move forward because all they were doing was looking back. Part of forgiving and letting go is the acceptance that holding onto something that can’t be changed is only ever destructive to ourselves. It doesn’t matter if it is a painful memory or a lifestyle that is now out of reach, if we can’t let go it will do only one thing and that is to eat away at us and make us unhappy and probably even depressed as time goes on. To be able to survive not just being chronically ill, but in my case housebound, I had to let go not just of my past but everything about your health as well. It is easy to get caught up in the blame game, to hold this doctor or that doctor responsible for us not being diagnosed sooner rather than when it eventually happened, to spend your life ripping everything to bits in search for the cause, the thing that you did wrong that meant you got ill, that will make your health worse. Draw a line under it, accept that it happened the way it did and this is where you are now, there is no way back, nothing you can change and if you ever want to be happy again, start a new life, this is day one, this is the start of something new and something exciting as the unknown always is.

It took me a while, like I suppose it does everyone to have that first day that I was happy, that first day where I didn’t want to punch the lights out of everyone who looked at me wrong or didn’t understand that I was ill or who had the misfortune to work in the medical profession, but it happened, I did smile because I wanted to not because others told me to. It took me even longer to realise that I didn’t have to be happy all the time to not be depressed the thing everyone seemed to be waiting for and that being content was far more important. Content is a wonderful thing, content means that you have stopped hating, stopped blaming and started living. It is the first step that follows acceptance, as until you do you will never be content. I have done it so many times in the last 14 years that I now do it without thinking about it or even planning it. Every time I know that things are just too much for me, I wipe the board clean and I rebuild taking into account what is too much, what is destroying my contentment. I don’t do it daily and I don’t do it lightly and yes I do still try to hold onto the things that I shouldn’t from time to time, but I never try to go back, as that is the perfect way to land up in a worse state than I was already in.

Just as I said a few days ago, asking yourself “am I happy” is something we all should be prepared to do every now and then, if your not well fix it, but just as important once your health has gone is to ask yourself “am I coping”, if your not well fix that as well. My answer came back no a while ago, but I always give myself a window to see if things improve, they didn’t so I made the changes to my day that I hope will bring back the answer that I need of yes. If any of us are going to live as well as we can for as long as we can, we have to adjust, not once, but probably more times than we ever care to think of, but once you have started again a few times, it just becomes part of your life, not a horrific process that scares the hell out of you, aim for contentment and enjoy the happiness that comes with it.

Read my blog from 2 years ago today – 17/05/13 – Interpretations of a good life

After my panic of the other night yesterday was a totally ordinary and straightforward day, thankfully! All those things that raise your pulse and all those chemicals that race around when your brain has lost control, maybe not only useful in the past and captured for profit by thrill seekers, but I now know that I would happily live my life without them, as I can only see one way of equaling all of them and that is not knowing…….

2 thoughts on “Processing happiness

  1. WELL SAID.YOU ARE A GREAT WRITER AND AN INSPIRATION TO ALL OF US.I’M STILL PROCESSING.IT IS NOT EASY TO ACCEPT.I’M STILL STRUGGLING WITH THE ACCEPTANCE AND MORE BLAME GAME. IT’S HARD BUT YOU ARE MY RAY OF SUNSHINE AND HOPE…MUCH LOVE…….NEVI

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  2. “contentment is a very under appreciated state” This statement is so profound. Your story reminds me of something my best friend said two weeks before she died, “I’ve been coping with the negative instead of looking at the positive.” It is so refreshing to hear that you have found contentment now, that you can share your story so that others can find hope as well.

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