Happiness abounds. Granted, I’m not experiencing happiness to the level of the picture above, but I’ve been doing pretty damn well for a while now. I’m savoring it the best I can,

My gut response is to give credit to the meds, but I haven’t had a change in meds in quite some time now, so I don’t think that’s it. I think it is more likely the changes in my life. There are good things going on. Before I piss someone off, I want to stress that I fully realize that all the reasons I list are situational and I will address that later in this article.

Here are the things that I believe are making a major impact in my happiness level:

I’m Exercising Again

According to an article in Psychology Today, [exercise is] still extremely important for general good health and for not gaining weight — and for keeping my mood positive. Some studies have shown that even moderate aerobic exercise boosted mood – for as long as twelve hours.

I’m fortunate to have the ocean nearby and when I walk along the strand early in the morning, I can practically feel the endorphins multiplying like rabbits in my brain. Exercise makes you feel good, and when you feel good you’re able to exercise. It becomes a positive cycle.

I’m Eating Healthier

As many of you know, I’ve been going to Weight Watchers for years now and am a firm believer in what they offer. The Weight Watchers program is not a weight loss program – it is a life change program. Unlike the Onion Soup Diet, the Dolly Parton Diet and many others, Weight Watchers is not just about losing weight, it’s about losing weight and keeping it off. Come on, who’s actually going to eat onion soup the rest of their lives? For what it’s worth, it certainly would keep you single for the rest of your life.

Can’t afford Weight Watchers? Fair enough. At least research plans that are primarily about portion control. Weight Watchers is about eating whatever you want, but not however much you want. When I started the program, I weighed in at 303 pounds. I’m now down to 264 pounds and have a realistic goal of being under 200 pounds by January 1, 2017. I fully believe I will achieve that goal.

I’m Driving Again

I’m free! Years back I had my driver’s license taken away because I was regularly having seizures. Doctors had no idea why the seizures were occurring, and eventually they went away, With time, I was allowed to get it back, but never got around to it since we’re a one car family, but Maurice put his foot down one day and let me know he’d like not to be the one driving all the time.

Long story short – I got the license and don’t feel trapped and isolated anymore.

I Love My Job

I’m now a full time writer and I’m loving it. Even though I have painstaking hours of draft, after draft, after draft. I won’t bore you with the details because I just did a post called On Writing that you can check out. I’ll just add that I’ve learned it’s what I was born to do. One additional benefit that I don’t think I mentioned in that post is that I now have structure in my day and that makes me feel comfortable and safe. I don’t believe I ever thought I’d have a job that would bring me so much happiness.

The Reality

Okay, okay, let me get back to the reality and admit all the things on this list are situational. Nothing has changed regarding my disease. I still have bipolar disorder, and I will eventually crash, burn and become majorly depressed for no damn reason. I will also hit those manic periods that make me feel like there’s nothing in the world I can’t accomplish, only to end up accomplishing nothing at all. Again, that will be for no damn reason.

What I’m talking about here is those in between times. It’s very easy for me to keep the blinds closed and stay hidden in my apartment for long periods of time after the chronic depression has lifted because that’s the place I’ve become comfortable with. Cherish those moments when you’re between mania and depression. Anticipate them and seize the opportunity when you’re balanced. They don’t come along often enough to allow them to just fritter away. Carpe diem.

What about you? Is there anything you do differently during those times of balance? What do you do to allow a little happiness in your life?

13 comments on Happiness

  1. I love this post!!! Take your happiness when and where you find it, I say!! It’s good to be happy with where you’re at and it’s great to be able to see all the progress you’ve made. Very inspiring 😀

  2. It’s really weird but I have been in a stable place for about 6 months now, yet the last six months have been pure hell at the same time because my teenage daughter’s mental health is so poor. I am stressed and worried about her, of coarse, but I am not cycling, not depressed, not even overly anxious. Just responding like a “normal” mom without mental illness would. It’s amazing. I attribute it to my meds doing their job and good coping skills and support system. So, you’re right, situations – good as in your case, bad as in mine – don’t necessarily dictate our disease state. Our disease dictates our disease state, which of coarse is what makes it so frustrating….that lack of total control over it.

    1. Well said, WIL. I did a post awhile back titled, “Is it depression or is it depression?” Sometimes it is tough to tell which you’re experiencing. You’re situation seems difficult, but I think it’s healthy that you have that understanding that anyone would be depressed in your situation. I hope things with your daughter smooths over soon.

  3. You’ve balanced your life well. Congratulations! I’m glad for you. Thankfully I’ve been balanced for a year and a half. But structure is still important for me. I plan what I will do each day – I have a daily schedule for tasks around the house and I tack on errands once or twice a week. There’s Church on Sunday AM and Wednesday PM, plus little volunteer work there one morning per week. But like you, I am very comfortable just being home. I am content to read, write and do various types of puzzles (not jigsaw). Being with family is very enjoyable and exhausting at the same time. I have to get out more. I’m in the screening process with a county agency to work once or twice a week as a volunteer doing data entry and filing. I’m trying to get myself out the door to walk 2 miles a day. I was doing it recently and then it got cold again and I stopped. Now that it’s warming up there is no excuse. I eat healthy but I want to eliminate foods containing sugar and saturated fats from my diet. I’ll start that once our house guests leave next week. Overall, I want to be careful and not overfill my days so I don’t get stressed. That’s a trigger. What makes me happy? Writing, blogging and interacting with other bloggers. There are so many interesting and nice people in the blogosphere.

    1. The people in the blogosphere are amazing. They help me remember that I’m not alone in this and that there are people who really “get it.”

      I have to stay structured also. I keep a list of daily chores, scheduled time for writing and schedule time for blogging. Sometimes it works, then there are days like this where I’m not so on schedule. I may screw it up today, but I can get right back to the schedule tomorrow. I’m not a fan of TV watching, but it’d be easy to just stare at it for hours if I don’t schedule my day.

      Good to see you’re staying balanced.

    1. Hey Kitt. Not doing as great as when I posted this, of course. LOL Still doing better, though.

        1. It’s tough to do, but as long as I take things at a steady pace then I am usually able to accomplish much more than I expect.

          I’m glad you’re still in the blogosphere. Too many of old friends have moved on. But, I have stumbled on some great blogs over the past couple of weeks. I look forward to when you’re back at it.

          1. I’ve been blogging, just not as often. Since November 14th, when my mother had a stroke, I’ve been focused on caring for my parents. My blog posts since then have been about that journey.

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