Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Own Happy Place


You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. ~Albert Camus

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about my "happy place." The place I am now was my happy place thirty years ago. In it I had a loyal Christian husband, a daughter with long brown hair, and a nice house. I dreamed of this for years because I did not have any hope of having it, or so I thought at the time.

Soon after turning twenty years old, I suffered for about two years with a debilitating depression. I had survived child abuse, but I was not yet whole. My first husband had left me twice and, as a condition on me for him to return the first time, I was to be his ideal wife. I tried to do that, but something in me began to die. After nearly a year, I realized I was ill and I did not have a clue how to get better. I decided to visit my grandmother in Florida for a week. It was difficult to get on the plane and leave. When I got there, I did not want to go anywhere, see anything, to do anything at all, except play Scrabble, which I never played at all before. I did not talk about my problem at all.

What I vividly remember is as difficult as it was for me to leave home to take a break, I was surprised that it was far more difficult for me to get on the plane to go back home. I cried for the entire two hour flight not understanding why. I realized on that flight that I needed professional help and made an appointment with the one and only psychiatrist in the city so it took weeks to get seen. Medication helped but I began to realize as the months dragged on that it had to be adjusted periodically for me to be able to function and we were not making any progress with finding the underlying cause. I had to cut my hours to part-time and even then I remember driving to work sitting in the parking lot and falling apart so that I would just have to drive back home and call in my apologies.

Nothing made me happy. Nothing. I had no hope, no enjoyment, no desire to live. My spirit was broken. I remember not being able to sleep at night until four o'clock in the morning and then not being able to wake during the day. I remember waking up and being angry because I was still alive and would have to suffer through another day: "Lord, why am I still breathing? Why don't You end this? After all, I am not of any good for You on this earth."

Suicide was not an option for me. I had a brother who died when I was only ten, an accidental suicide they called it. I saw how it tore up my family and I could not leave my little sister at nine years old that way with her alone to watch our mother go through it all again. Besides, I did not want to take the chance that I would end up in hell, thinking it might actually be even worse than where I was at the time.

I also did not want to talk to my Lord. I would tell Him, "I know You are there, but please just leave me alone for now." Can you imagine? Of course, I remember these things in awe that I ever even thought them. It seemed like an entirely different person so distant, so long ago, so unlike me.

One night, after my husband left the second and last time, I finally gave in and talked to God. It was as if He had been waiting so close just for me to do that and I told Him that all I wanted was a house and a good husband. Do you know what He said? He told me that because I had asked for so little that I would have that and more. That I would have a life beyond what I could imagine. God knew I was a practical woman at heart and that anything beyond my hourly struggles with depression then was just incompressible to me.

It took some years for me to get here and sometimes I forget that I am in my happy place, the one that was just a dream many years ago. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I like my life. It is not a perfect place and sometimes I am sad or depressed for short bouts, but this is my happy place on earth. This is what God promised me.

There is one thing...just one thing that I have not been doing that helped me hold onto my sanity those years ago. I have been avoiding it, desiring to do it without doing it, probably because of those memories. I would like to get back into my artwork and I think my Lord has been asking me of late for what am I waiting? I am always thinking I will do it later when things are better or when I get something else done first or.... For what am I waiting? Truth is I am not waiting, I am avoiding. I think have been fearing the memories of my depression, which left soon after my husband did, because since then I really have not done any artwork to speak of...all these years the one thing I loved to do so much I have avoided.

I think, though, I am now ready to make new memories associated with my artwork and I am wondering what direction it will take. Making new memories of the Princess and I both learning and working on our art together are encouraging to me now. I am ready to add one more thing to my "happy place," the one my Lord promised me and the one I should be enjoying more than I have been to honor Him.

~ My Lord, shatter the fear, let the memories of depression be replaced with new memories of delight. Help me to stop avoiding to begin drawing and painting again. ~

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing, Seeking.

    You know, the more I thought about it the more I realised I don't have a *happy place*. I can be content almost anywhere but if I am unhappy I am psychologically incapable of escaping & when I am happy I can go anywhere; whatever interests me at the time. ☺

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  2. I would say it has often been the same for me with being unhappy, but when I talk with the Lord...I don't know, I guess it just changes my perspective. I just do better with the Kingdom perspective.

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.