happy is a state of mind heavily influenced by attitude and choice
Whenever I make this statement I get a lot of radio feedback on how happiness simply isn't a choice for some people, especially those with mental illness. I'm calling phooey on all that. While you do not have control over depression and other illnesses both mental and physical; you ALWAYS have control over whether you CHOOSE to be happy despite all the bullshit and reasons why you can't.
I developed a severe case of post-partum depression coupled with anxiety after Jules was born, and struggled off and on for another ten years with both crippling can't-leave-the-house depression and suicidal daydreams. In fact, I've "joked" that if I wrote a book during that time it would be called Mother Dreamt of Suicide because that is exactly what I would catch myself doing when I had long moments of utter overwhelm and hopelessness.
I tried a handful of therapists, and was generally unhappy with both their suggestions and lack of intelligence. I started making art again around this time, and found that it helped me more than any of the other things I'd tried combined. There is something about using your hands to make things that is extremely theraputic and lifting. The last two therapists I saw both encouraged my foray into art & crafts exploration, and shared their insights into everyday attitude and personal choice. It was litteraly a lightbulb moment for me. I conciously made a decision to do everything in my power to choose HAPPY each and every day.
It honestly doesn't matter if you are having the worst day ever. You can still CHOOSE to be happy, and spread love and good things. You're always going to have crazy going on in your life, and you can't let it keep you from being happy ... that's just silly. To help prove my point, I'll even tell you 5 things that are out of my control and completely suck in my life right this minute:
- My car is in the shop, and needs somewhere between $2400 & $5000 to get it running. We just spent $2400 on a new clutch for it last year, and we just paid it off last month.
- Larry's truck is in the shop too. We just replaced the transfer box last month to the tune of $2000, and when we came home from Christmas vacation the transmission went. It will cost us $2800 to pick it up this week.
- I completely wiped out on some ice in our backyard today. We're talking from vertical to horizontal in 2 seconds flat. I have some pretty serious spine issues so falling is really rough on my body. I busted my hip/ass up, but nothing broke so there's that.
- Larry has a cousin with paranoid schizophrenia that calls us at 5 am every full moon, and says mean, hateful, scary things to our answering machine. There's a full moon on Wednesday this week; you do the math.
- Jules started back up at school today, so I'm home all by my lonesome during the week again. She's great company so I really miss her when she's gone.
Any one of those alone would be enough to completely derail someone's day. It's simply mind over matter ... it's making a choice to be happy despite all the crap each and every day. And that doesn't mean you're not aloud to have moments of unhappiness and despair. It just means that you collect yourself after you fall apart, and make the choice to soldier on as happy as you possibly can. There is a great quote by Charles Swindoll called Attitude that I think explains my philosophy really well:
by Charles Swindoll
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes”
Put that in your pipe and smoke it folks. And while you're at it take a listen to Pharrell's new song Happy from Despicable Me 2. It's my favorite right now, and I can't seem to sit still when I hear it.
NOW GO BE HAPPY & MAKE ART!