Friday, August 8, 2008
One of the weirdest and most difficult things about depression is how it completely eliminates the ability to enjoy anything. Happiness seems like an impossibility. Not just future happiness, but past happiness as well. I keep trying to remember happy moments and I can think of moments when I know I was happy, but I can not for the life of me, recall what that happiness felt like.
Isn't that odd?
Why does the brain do this? Is there a disorder in which the opposite is true? Where the brain can't feel anything BUT happiness?
Oh, maybe that's called "being on ecstasy." It used to just kill me in nursing school when we were studying drugs and one would have the unwanted side effect of "feelings of euphoria." Yeah, like that's a bad, bad thing, right? Wish I could remember what those drugs were.
Anyway, I think that part of trying to recover from depression is learning to replace those unhappy, negative thoughts with happy, positive ones and I've been thinking and thinking about that. Instead of dwelling on the crap, crazy childhood, the many, many times I've fucked up in my life and my current inability to think, or write, or enjoy my life, I've been trying to dredge up memories that make me...uh, happy.
So far, I keep coming up with things that SHOULD make me happy like holding my babies for the first time or getting married to Mr. Moon or being in Mexico with him and watching the way the moon painted a silver path across the water to Tulum and I'm sure I was happy at all those precious moments but I can't feel it.
And logically, I understand that this inability is just a symptom of an illness and not a reality but in a way, that's like saying that someone is suffering from pain simply because his leg is broken. Yeah, I get the connection but it doesn't cure the ill.
It's just such a heavy place. It sucks all the life out of me and it makes me want to crawl in bed and I'm trying very hard not to give in to that urge. I try to think of things I'd like to do that would bring me some joy or at least amusement, and nothing seems like it would be a good time.
I can't imagine how much fun it must be to live with me right now. Poor Mr. Moon should get an award and I'm sure he wishes hunting season would get here already so that he would have an excuse to go spend the night in the woods.
Anyway, in the spirit of trying, here are a few memories I have that I am CERTAIN were happy times:
Being in plays at the Monticello Opera House.
The poetry reading I did with an old friend in a bar in Winter Haven, Florida where people came up afterwards and asked for my autograph. On cocktail napkins.
The road trip that Maxine and I took to St. Pete where we met the two beautiful old ladies and where Maxine and I got several marriage proposals because we were so lovely in our hats.
All the trips I've taken with my husband, from the one to the Bahamas where we stopped the action in a casino just by walking in (we were so young and so beautiful and he's so tall), to the ones we took in the convertible through the cool, dark piney woods up to Bainbridge, Georgia for the night.
The day we moved into this house.
All the fun nights I've had with my family and with Billy and his wife, laughing our asses off, playing silly games.
The night I had an impromptu party where some of my very favorite musicians appeared and played music on my back porch and I doubt I ever smiled so much in my life. That was the night we all got to meet Juancho.
The first time I ever saw The Blues Brothers and I laughed so hard I embarassed my then-husband.
The first time I ever saw Bruce Springsteen.
Every time a midwife has said to me, "I can see the head!"
Watching my brother with his babies.
Watching my kids do amazing things and becoming the amazing people they are.
Reading Little Women for the first time.
Reading Little Women for the second, third, and fourth times.
Writing things that have made me say, "Yes. That is what I meant to say," whether a poem or an essay or a novel.
Standing on a dock over the Sebastian River the day I turned fifty-two as the sun set and the fish in the water made it boil as they fed and thrashed and the wind came down through the palms and pines and the egret stood on the sand bar.
And so many, many more. I know I have had happiness, and even more importantly, I know I will have more. I hang on to that and I have to believe.
Now. If you want to. Tell me what's made you happy. Give me a picture. Make us all smile.