I haven’t been this happy in a long, long time. I used to be afraid of addressing my depression, because I liked my highs more than I detested my lows. Or at least I thought I did. I thought (or told myself as a means to avoid dealing?) that if I’d address and get rid of my lows, I’d also lose my highs, and I used to think that would be a bad thing. I thought that would put me on a middle-of-the-road, constant dullness-type of flat-line state.
But there is nothing flat about my current state.
Truth be told I don’t think I have ever been this happy before. Not even as a kid. And I am not “happy” as in being on a constant high, never sad or never feeling a bit blue. That’s not it. And that would be boring. I still have “even happier days” and I still have “less happy days”. And I still get stressed out, or frustrated from time to time, like everyone else. But because my general state of mind and attitude towards life is much more positive these days, I am a hundred times stronger, so I don’t get engulfed by sadness, hopelessness, or listlessness.
I don’t have the same kinds of highs but I don’t miss them!
I have started seeing that those highs were not necessarily a good thing at all. On the contrary, because that kind of happiness was not real. It was not genuine and it usually resulted in a low. Or it followed an ultimate low. The deeper or longer the low I had gone through, the higher the high tended to be, yet never lasting as long. And the rapid, extreme shifts from one day or another, were in fact quite exhausting, so the sum of all this was always more negative than positive – due both to the length of the respective cycles but also the emotional energy that it cost to shift from one extreme to the other.
I used to believe that I’d never be “fixed”. That I’d always have to be prepared for that depression lurking in the background to creep up on me again but I am starting to think that may not be the case at all…
I obviously don’t want to count my chickens just yet but I am starting to feel like the depression is in fact gone for good. I am wondering if it is in fact possible to change, not only your habits and routines but also your attitude towards life so drastically, that there is no longer room for such a negative and destructive state of mind? I have made physical changes. I have made mental changes. But most importantly I think, I have started exercising my emotional mind as well, by practicing awareness and mindfulness every day. Sometimes through meditation. Sometimes through Dhamma talks online and sometimes in my temple. But the more I learn and the more I practice, the more natural this state of mind becomes, to the point where it is more and more becoming my new normal.
I try to focus on where I am and what I am doing in each moment and be present. Physically, mentally and emotionally.
It has helped me find joy and pleasure in the smallest and most mundane tasks. It has helped me see the beauty in everyday things and appreciate them in a different way. It has opened my mind to new things, new ways of thinking and not least to new people. It has taught me how to embrace life in every moment of every day. And this all brings me so much joy and pleasure, which seems to be transformed into pure energy, and result in a state of constant happiness. It is like all of this positive, happy energy has pushed out the negativity and sadness, so there’s simply no space left for it in my life and in my mind.
And that is definitely not a neutral state, or a flat-line kind of place to be – it’s a truly happy place!
And I still have the tools that I acquired from the sessions with my therapist in my back pocket should I need them. Most importantly the ability to recognise behavioural patterns, people or situations that I now know are not good for me, so that I can deal with them in time if they should sneak up on me. But those tools are no longer my primary support. They are merely a safety net and fallback solution, and every month I seem to need them less and less. But it is nice to know that they are there – kind of like an insurance policy, in the background.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
~ the Lord Buddha