Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Do you want to know one of my favorite things?  It had been blah-cloudy all day. You know what I mean, cloudy and muggy with no good reason. Seriously, it’s a real downer and I spent a lot of this afternoon trying to get motivated to do something.

So, after watching Jeopardy, I made myself go out side to do something and saw the pile of branches I’d been meaning to cut up all week. Not my favorite thing, but it had to be done. Awesome.

I was outside for maybe half an hour, which encompassed not only cutting branches, but a petting session with one of my favorite neighbor kitties, the wind suddenly picked up with a purpose. All of the little hairs that had worked loose from my braid suddenly stood straight up in the rush and there was a note of change in the air. It was exciting, exhilarating. I could smell the rain, but it didn’t arrive for a good ten minutes after it began announcing its arrival. I continued cutting dead branches, just enjoying the feel of the wind with a purpose running through my hair.

It was a wind of change, a wind with a job to do.

I felt joy.

Suddenly, the day that had been somewhat boring weather-wise (I did get some good reading and writing in) was now exciting and unpredictable. I stayed out as the first few sprinkles fell and didn’t go inside until it was a semi-decent rain.

Life is beautiful sometimes, God gives you these little gifts. You just have to be open to find the joy and I need to learn this more than anyone.

Many thanks for the joy of the wind tonight.

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I’ve been struggling a lot lately with my mind. Depression sucks and with everything I have going on lately, it’s choosing to rear its ugly head. I won’t go into excruciating detail, but feelings of failure, uselessness, and hopelessness have been creeping in whenever it seems I have a free minute, telling me that I’m worthless, not thin enough, ugly, undereducated, not taken seriously, my dreams are stupid and I’ll never attain them. I hate feeling this way; it’s unproductive and I am trying to do everything I can to combat it. Fortunately, I don’t have depression to the point where I can’t function. I still wake up every day, go to work and do a good job, go to rehearsal, I interact with everyone normally. In fact, unless you know me very, very well, you’d never guess I had depression. I’m good at covering, at looking happy, but in my head, there’s a war going on.

I haven’t written in weeks, the will to do it has been absent, but, finally, the fog is starting to lift a bit and I’m feeling inspired again. I’m picking myself up off the floor, ready to try again. I owe that to my family and, as my therapist tells me, I owe it to myself.

Driving home from work one day this past week, I had an idea: The Joy Project. I’ve written before about counting my blessings, but this project will be focusing on finding one thing every day that brings me joy, something like the Thankfulness Project that is popular on Facebook every November. I won’t be posting these joys daily, unless it’s something really exceptional, because I know that would be tiresome to read on a newsfeed every day, but it’s a new strategy for me to try and stave off the bad feelings, or at least help when they come creeping around.

Let me be clear, depression is a condition. It’s not feeling sorry for oneself, it’s not just ordinary sadness. It’s a chemical reality that affects millions of people to different degrees, from just occasional bouts to chronic, debilitating periods of blackness. Mine is manageable, albeit chronic, and I was probably genetically programmed for it from the start. A traumatic childhood probably amplified the effects, but that’s just a guess.

Since this is my blog, I get my own soapbox and while I’m on it, I just want to say that there is a dangerous movement out in the Christian evangelical world that any kind of mental illness, including depression, can be “cured” if the sufferer prays hard enough. Oh. My. Gosh. That idea is not even close to being okay. If I could pray depression away, it would have been gone long ago. I cannot think of a more damaging thing to tell someone who is depressed than it’s their own fault because they didn’t pray hard enough. Complete and utter bull poo. Does that mean I don’t believe in miracles, or that God can work in someone’s life? Absolutely not. I just believe a miracle is a miracle for a reason, it’s rare. No, I don’t have depression because of a lack of faith or for not trying hard enough. I have a chronic condition that will probably never be cured completely, but with hard work (and prayer), I will be able to manage it better over time. There done with that. Back to the happy stuff.

I’ve been finding things to be joyful about for the past few days. Marty Man waited up for me (twice!) while I was at a late rehearsal this week and he didn’t have to. My director told me that I did a good job as his assistant. We got a nice card in the mail from our choir director. Youngest Child needed some snuggle time. Today’s joy? Tap Club. I’m a beginning tap dancer with a very patient teacher and I wasn’t able to go to class all summer. We started up again last Saturday and when I got to class today, I felt amazing. I’m not very good, but you would never know it from the people there. Most of them are a million times better than me, they’ve been dancing since they were small, but somehow, I never feel like a complete idiot in that class. The atmosphere is warm, literally and figuratively, and I love it. They accept me, missteps and all. Today, Tap Club brought me joy.

I’ll probably check in here from time to time with how it’s going. I think that the more we talk about things like depression, as a society, the less the stigma will be. It’s my hope that people who are struggling realize that it’s okay to seek help and to get treatment, whether medicinal, therapeutic, or both. In the meantime, I’m going to write my joys down in a little book and keep it with me, do something proactive to ad to my strategies. Please feel free to tell me what brings you joy, especially if you suffer with depression as well. Let’s help each other.

Until next time.

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Last week I wrote about pet peeves, things that drive us insane at times. I do like to keep things balanced, so this week I’m writing about things that bring me joy.

Joy is different than happiness, a term that I use in to describe my constant feelings about certain parts of my life. For example, I have happiness in my marriage. That’s something that is all the time; a state, if you will, rather than a moment. Do I have moments of joy in my marriage? Undoubtedly, yes! But in my mind, joy is one of those things that happens spontaneously, a moment that catches you off-guard and can take your breath away while filling you with, well, joy!

For me, joy can be elusive. It’s not that I want to be joyless, but depression makes it hard to feel good things sometimes. Therefore, when I do experience something that brings true joy, the feeling is so profound that it stays with me. Moments of joy give me hope and keep me going. From the silly to the sacred, reactions vary from genuine laughter from deep inside to quiet awe and reverence. Here are some of my favorite things that bring me joy.

When Marty Man does something romantic. We’ve been married a long time, but he still has that power to make my heart flutter. It can be the surprise book that he ordered for me because he knew I would want it, the spontaneous, “I love you” that drifts across the couch, or even just a look that he sends my way. My husband brings me joy.

Connecting with my kids. I love my boys, always, but when we have a moment, whether it’s snuggle time or a good conversation, it makes my heart swell. They get closer to being on their own every day, which makes those moments precious to me.

Baby belly giggles. Completely unresistable. Hands down one of my favorite sounds in the entire world. I dissolve into a puddle of joy. It’s so real, so genuine. I can take on the world after hearing a baby lose it in laughter.

The ocean. Wild, raw, powerful, untamable. I love being around water in any case, but something about the ocean just fills my whole being when I watch it. I could stand there for hours.

Travel. Not necessarily the nitty-gritty parts of it, but the very thought of going somewhere, especially somewhere on my bucket list, is more exciting than Christmas morning. Right now, I’m looking forward to Italy. One month from today I’ll be in Rome. The anticipation is wonderful, but the reality will be even better. Even the opportunity to drive someone else to or from the airport makes me giddy, because it’s a wonderful place. I know, I’m a dork, but that’s okay.

Sleeping babies in my arms. I can’t even explain. Settling a baby down so that he or she is sleeping in your arms is amazing. They’re just so perfect, so innocent and beautiful.

Feeling God’s presence or understanding when He’s at work. When I’m reading the Bible or something related and a point just hits home, there’s no mistaking it, especially after I’ve been through a rough patch and the result is something that I never would have expected or planned for, but I know is right. The awareness that comes through and the feeling of being close to Him is indescribable, but joy is in that mix so it definitely belongs on my list. He is my everything.

Seeing the sun and clear blue sky after several cloudy ones. Relief, just pure relief and joy. I don’t know if this is a depression thing, but I do know that people, in general, feel better when it’s sunny out. It’s especially joy-inducing when it has been hot, awful, and muggy. I hate muggy. It makes my skin crawl, so when that lifts after several days and the sky is that clear, clear blue, it’s heavenly.

Music. I don’t know where I’d be without music. It helps to cope with or enhance every emotion, from the dark deep holes I can get into to the best moments in my life. There is a song for every feeling, every day, every time. Music understands.

Writing. I amost didn’t include this one, because when I write, I have to fight the nagging feeling at the back of my mind that tells me I should be doing laundry, or cleaning, or something else mundane because writing feels like such a guilty pleasure, but the times when I really just put that on the back burner and allow myself to get lost in my story or my blog are really full of joy. I love to write and I wish that I could make more time to do it. A work in progress, yes?

I’d love to know what brings you joy. Life is hard, joy gets us through.

Until next time.

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