Looking back, I most likely spent several months fighting depression. I never made it to a doctor or anyone who could give me an official diagnosis. By the time I did get myself to those appointments, depression didn’t have that strong pull on me.
I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t force myself to be happy. (I could hardly get myself to get out the door in the morning. Happy was asking way to much.)
What I could do was to choose to look for the positive. I chose to be thankful. I chose to be kind.
During some of my worst months, I had a very wise man who cared about me enough to make me to send him a list of fifteen good things from every day. Each day I had to come up with new things. Sometimes it would take me the whole day. Starting first thing in the morning, I would look for things I could write down. It took until night time for me to get to find all fifteen things.
He did this along with me. I saved everything we wrote. Each of us have six weeks worth of lists about all the good that was happening. I’m so thankful for those list. Not only do I have a very special keepsake, but because I spent so much time trying to find the good while not focusing on the bad. I noticed things I would have totally ignored otherwise. I am also so thankful for God putting a man in my life who would so gently lead me toward the positive while never once condemning me for for the way I felt.
Soon after, I began to teach preschool. Four and five year olds are really good at pointing out everything that makes them happy. Puppies, bugs, snow, dessert at lunch, pink, sparkles, being first, paint, using scissors, coloring…you get the picture. It was hard not to be happy when I was around them.
More recently, I took the month of September to be #DistractedByBeauty. I’ve written more about that here. As I looked for beauty in my day to day life, I noticed how much easier it had become. I wasn’t sitting at night like a kid who didn’t want to finish her homework. I didn’t have to put lame answers down at 10pm just because I wanted to be done.
I saw beauty and kindness and fun all the time. I’m happy again. It was a choice to become happy, but it didn’t happen instantly. It took about 18 months of choosing to see the good before I started to see the change in my life.
There are a lot of things in my life that haven’t gone according to plan. There are storylines that are unfinished. There are places where I haven’t seen resolution. It is messy and imperfect, but I am happy. Deep down, I can say life is good and I am happy.
(Check out the whole series here)