Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happiness is a Choice

That is such a goofball title.  Gack. 

I am winding down from a day that was emotionally more difficult than yesterday, for no real reason. Day 11!  I forgot when I chose my shoes this morning that I would be conducting a training for new volunteers tonight and would be hopping all over the place.  I think I will just kick them off.  Yessss!  My feet were killing me!  I have crates and attaches  piled up around me, ready to haul out to the truck:  administrative work; materials for my assessment workshop tomorrow; more materials so I can give the salesman a speech test.

I'm committed to getting more sleep tonight.  I have felt really fried all day.  Becca noticed my fatigue and asked me whether I have insomnia.
"No, I sleep great!"
"Then why are you so tired?"
"'Cuz I don't go to bed."  Becca really does not understand this.  "Well... I procrastinate going to bed in favor of reading the newspaper, or blogs; or thinking about stuff.  Late at night is when I have peace and quiet so I can think or write.  I lose track of the time and Si isn't around getting ready for bed, so nothing reminds me." It isn't as much about lack of reminders, though, as it is about general preoccupation with my current difficulties.

She knows about the divorce part, but not about CB; so she only knows a portion of my preoccupation.  She asked me if she could express her opinion about my divorce.

"Lay it on me."

Becca gives voice to her thoughts in a way that makes it clear:  she has been waiting to tell me what's on her mind for ages but has never had the chance to say it.  She has been sad at times over the years.  This could surprise some people, given that she is generally so gregarious, positive and humorous. 

She feels that when you are down and don't work hard to change your point of view, you make yourself MORE down and drag yourself and others into a nasty cycle.  Staying UP when life sucks is an exercise in willpower that pays you back by becoming easier and easier as time goes by.

Now any of you who have struggled with depression probably know this already and you are amazed that I don't.  But I'm not depressed.  The therapist I visit tells me that I have situational sadness.  I have never even experienced sadness for more than a few days at a time.  I had a couple rough weeks when I was sick, I guess; but that's it.  My gloom skills are lagging.  Becca reminded me that I am usually so happy; also strong and determined.  Surely, I could make the choice to put some effort into my happiness?  Yes, she is absolutely right.  I have made loads of progress since the darkest days, in February.  The part that heals alone with time is doing really well. The parts that require me to actively pursue joy require some remediation.

Becca was very careful in her language, as she always is.  I admire the way she takes her time to express her ideas clearly and diplomatically.  She was very tactful and loving, but takes a very strong position that divorcing Simon is a huge mistake.  She wants me to turn back NOW.  To actively seek happiness would mean staying in the relationship and do what I have done before:  shrug off the things Si does that hurt me.  I should create a well of happiness that is fortified against the vicissitudes of my relationship with Si. She is very worried that I will divorce Si, I will be overwhelmed with problems, I will be alone and lonely, I will be sorry.

I was happy to hear her thoughts, but pointed out that the argument for happiness being a choice would also be a rationale for leaving, rather than for staying.  I see leaving as a step in the right direction.

"So, Becca.  Have you been dying to tell me this for weeks or something?  You've been talking like you've rehearsed what you want to say over and over."
"Yes. I've been waiting for an opening."
"You know that you don't have to wait for an opening.  We're friends.  You can just speak your mind when you want to!"
"Well, I'm your friend.  But I'm also your subordinate," [Oh, ick.]  "and this is the work place, so I can't be unprofessional."
"Oh, no!  'Cuz you are NE-VER unprofessional."  [Pfffft!]

Then we decided to wrestle.  I have a dream of someday being able to knock Becca down. We are about the same height, but she is more muscular.  It has been over a year since my last attempt.  I attacked, but she effortlessly tipped my feet out from under me, grabbed me and put me on the floor.  Because we're professionals, Becca.  And I thought you were my subordinate!  Nothing Becca says to me could ever hurt my feelings, but she did rug-burn the hell out of my elbow.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to hear that "The part that heals alone with time is doing really well" Kate. It's the other part, however, that you need to weed out: "the parts that require me to actively pursue joy." With me, that part led to frustration, depression, all sorts of bad shit. After about four months I decided to just wait for the part that heals alone with time to sort itself out and hoped that the joy would follow.
    It did.
    Don't try to force it. I know it hurts but right now you have other priorities. Sorry for the crap advice, but I'm only speaking from personal experience.