Happiness is a Choice (for me)

This revelation finally hit me this week.

This winter has been a very hard one for me. I have spent a good half of it completely down in the dumps. Depressed. Sad. regretful. Angry. Unsure. Restless.

Hiding in the bathroom to cry. 


(It wasn't hard for me to pose for this picture. It's how I have looked for the last few months)

My prayers had no meaning or hope.  All of the pieces for happiness were there! My beautiful sons, my husband who is such a good man. Good jobs. Financial stability. A home. Friends. Health.

And I think that because I have all of these things I was ashamed of feeling so down. I really felt selfish and undeserving. God had blessed me and what did I do with it? Nothing. Nothing at all.

I, for myself, don't believe in putting medicine in my body to feel better. It's just a bandaid to cover up the cut. I wanted to truly feel good, not have a pill to do it for me.

I know my family looks to me to set the mood in our home. I'm the silly one and usually the one who comes up with what we should do together for fun. How sad that I had 3 people looking to me for that and I didn't provide it for them.

Earlier this week I yelled out to Henry in the other room, "LOVE YOU HENRY!"

and he yelled back in his adorable toddler voice, "LOVE YOU MOMMA!"

My heart just melted.

I noticed that my negativity was wearing off on Sam. He would come home from school crabby and full of anger, down in the dumps.

Just the other night I went into Henry's room to get his bed ready for bedtime. Sam was hiding under the covers to scare me. I was genuinely scared and yelled out, and the two of us laughed so hard we couldn't stop. I had to attack him back and he laughed harder than I've heard him laugh in weeks. God that felt so GOOD to hear!

I came home from work yesterday to flowers from Rich with a card that just said, "I love you and miss you". He is traveling, but I took the card to mean a little more. "I miss my happy wife". Maybe he didn't even mean it that way, but the message still was there for me. I know his mood often plays off of mine as well. He has to miss being happy, too.

And all of those things and all of that GOODNESS just opened my eyes to the fact that I was choosing to be unhappy! I really was. Maybe it's the weather or the lack of sun. I don't know. I do know that I will only live here once, with these amazing people in my life ONCE, and I will not throw that away. I won't be that old woman laying in the nursing home wishing with all her heart she could have a do-over.

Not me.

I choose happiness and today my heart is full of it. Just in time for Valentine's Day.

**please note that I do NOT look down upon people who take depression medications or think they should stop taking them. I simply know that for ME they are not the right choice. I fully realize that some people have levels of depression that they can't simply choose to snap out of and medications can do wonders for them!


Katrina said...

Great post, Tanya! Definitely need to hear that (and apply it)! Thanks.

Kathy said...

Thank you for sharing... really hit home for me. Love your blog...

Kris M. said...

If you aren't already, please consider taking 1,000 IU of Vitamin D that you can buy over the counter. Daily recommended dose for adults is now 2,000 per day. You can only get it from the sun. Almost impossible from your diet. I live in Chicago and every since I started taking it it has greatly improved my mood, energy, etc. It is also shown to help prevent certain cancers. Even children can take this dose. Try it.

Anna said...

Hi Tanya,

Great post! I can relate and sincerely feel that it is our long, gray, cold winters, plus a community that doesn't have a whole lot to offer - culture-wise, etc. that makes it difficult to stay up beat. I've been x-country skiing most days which helps, but I'm really looking forward to spring and dream of the day when we say so long to PF :)

Take care,
xo~ Anna

Janet T. said...

Hey, I normally don't post on anything, but I agree with Kris M. Was going to suggest Vit D. Now that doesn't mean it is the only issue obviously, but just attended a lecture this week on Vitamin D and the research is pretty startling. If it isn't too much trouble you can get your levels tested by your MD to see where you are at. If you are very low they will likely recommend significantly more than 2000 IU for a while.

Tanya said...

Thanks everyone! I am going to get some vitamin D today...

Amanda said...

I started taking vitamin D supplements too and I feel a bit better. Happier.

I agree with you that for me it's a choice. I can feel down and depressed about what isn't going right in my life right now or I can embrace the good things that are happening.

Anonymous said...

Another one here who takes Vitamin D every winter. I also take Niacin (vitamin B3) which also treats depression.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I have definitely had times like this too! Love your recipes!

Diana said...

I can relate and even with medication for depression I still don't feel well unless I'm making the right choices of healthy food, vitamins, positive people and a good night's sleep. Hope you continue to do well and I love your recipes.

Anonymous said...

I really don't want to sound like everyone has to be PC, because they don't. BUT when talking about something like medication for depression, there are some misconceptions people need to consider. If you had diabetes, an imbalance of chemicals made by the body, would you could not simply choose to not take medications. Clinical depression is also an imbalance of chemicals produced by the body. It's not just about snapping out of it, just like you can't snap out of diabetes. That said, I do agree that drugs used for depression are too widely prescribed as band aids, and people often choose to take them instead of actually dealing with their issues.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I hit send too soon! I love your recipes, Please keep posting them. I don't usually comment, but that struck me for some reason. Please smile anyway!

Anonymous said...

"I, for myself, don't believe in putting medicine in my body to feel better. It's just a bandaid to cover up the cut. I wanted to truly feel good, not have a pill to do it for me."

Any pill will never make you happy, or make you be happy. Medications can simply alter the chemistry in your body such that the edge of depression or anxiety is dulled. It's not putting a bandaid on. That's a poor metaphor and it insinuates that depressed people are simply looking for an easy way out of dealing with their problems, which is not true. If you're going with this cut metaphor, an antidepressant would be like keeping your cut clean such that it can heal. The chemical imbalance allows 'infecting' feelings to persist unchecked.

If your life is so wonderful and you still feel crappy all the time, you probably are suffering from some sort of mental disorder. This can be treated in a number of ways, but making yourself feel guilty for the effect you're having on your family and hiding you feelings and writing them off as shameful because you have a good life is NOT healthy. Maybe medication isn't the answer, but you should seek counseling from a qualified professional. You had a traumatic event in your life, and you do have the right to feel how you feel. It's silly to think otherwise.