How to be Happy

 

This week’s writing challenge is to share something you’ve learned with your readers. I’ve noticed that if I’m present enough in each moment, I’m always learning. Unfortunately, my self-awareness isn’t a regular ritual of mine. More so, it comes and goes in binges. I strongly believe, and know, that my life would be better if I could be more present in every breath I take. I’ve found the best way to return to that essential place of knowing is to slow my breathing and to listen to my heart. I know, it’s so cliché, but there’s a reason why that line is used as advice in virtually every circumstance. At risk of sounding even more cliché, I’m going to say that my heart has proven time and time again to be my greatest teacher. So, I want to share the lesson it taught me a few days back.

***A note to readers: In case you aren’t one of my earlier followers, you might not know I have bipolar disorder. Not that it should matter, but I’ve decided to discuss this aspect of myself in this post. I sincerely believe this piece is relevant to everyone, even those without bipolar disorder. However, if you’re not interested in reading about the bipolar aspects, feel free to skip the italicized segments.

I’m assuming I’m not the only person who lives in cycles. I mean, with the changing seasons and tides, it’s only natural, right?

Well, being bipolar has a whole other world of cycles, which can be much less predictable than when the leaves are going to fall. Typically, I’m depressed and dormant from roughly November to March. But once spring comes, something hits me, and I’m inspired, ecstatic, and confident- in a healthy, non-manic way.

When you’re bipolar, there’s a blurry line between being genuinely happy and falling into the rip-roaring tides of mania. Ever since I’ve had some very destructive episodes, I’m always on red-alert for signs of mania. Thus, I’m apprehensive whenever I feel happy. In fact, I’m almost terrified to be happy because it’s nearly impossible to distinguish it from the earliest symptoms of mania. By the way, mania is awesome. You feel invincible and everything in life is absolutely perfect, including yourself! Not to mention, your productivity skyrockets. It’s so awesome that you don’t realize how poorly skewed your perception of reality is. No matter what your friends and family tell you, you’re fine. The problem is with everyone else, those pessimistic party poopers you call your loved ones. In fact, you don’t need them. You’d be better without them, and you’ll find someone who will treat you better. After all, you’re such a stellar person, everyone loves you, so basically, the ball is in your court. Oh, and if you finally come to the realization that you’re manic, it’s not just something you can pull out of, and it’s usually too late.

Anyway, it seems that nearly every spring, I come to some *non-bipolar* epiphany that empowers me to believe in myself and gives me the fuel to work toward my goals. Kind of like a pep-talk from my soul that lasts for a few months.

So, the snow finally disappeared a couple of weeks ago, and every day I’d look at the sunrise and think, Ok, epiphany…I’m ready for you….anytime now!

Heck, I even subscribed to O Magazine this year to really boost my aha-moment potential!

However, I got nothing. No inspiration, no sudden recognition of my soul’s infinite power… Nope.

So last Sunday, I sat down to meditate, and I asked my soul something like, “When the hell are you going to enlighten me?!” I sat in silence for a while, when it finally came to me: I’ve been waiting and expecting happiness to just come to me… but that’s not how it works.

Things happen.

Life happens.

Sometimes it’s easy to be happy. Sometimes it’s impossible not to be happy. But sometimes, you have to choose to be happy.

So instead of moping around and waiting for an epiphany to turn my attitude into flowers, hearts, and unicorns, I have to make my own happiness. After all, our souls have the infinite power to do anything, and that includes choosing happiness.

Happiness isn’t something to find. It’s something to be.

Oh, and by the way, my soul reminded me that happiness ≠ mania. I need to be happy, and I can allow myself to be happy while being aware of any triggers or onsets of mania. It’s possible to be happy without tailspinning into reckless behavior.

So today, I’m going to be happy. I do hope you’ll join me. If you need some extra inspiration besides that which your heart may provide, take a look at some more quotes about happiness!

With happiness and gratitude,

Adelie

 

 

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35 thoughts on “How to be Happy

  1. Thank you for sharing with everyone your thoughts on this prompt, but more importantly your honesty. That takes courage, I do hope that the spring has brought you the peaceful joy you seek though 🙂

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        • You’re too kind. Well, I suppose there is a lot to tell about it. After all, I got my bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology, and there were still many things about the illness I had to research for myself. Also, it’s still highly stigmatized, so many people don’t feel comfortable discussing it (myself included). However, I hope I’m helping the cause, and I sincerely appreciate your acceptance and interest into this part of my life. The world needs more people like you! 🙂

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  2. I quite agree with Andy’s comment, Adelie: thank you for being so open and honest about the manic part of the bi-polar equation. Most interesting and thoughtful post. xxx

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    • Thank you so much for the encouragement and support, Ali. Truth is, I read a lot of your writing before I finally decided to open up more on my blog. So, you’ve definitely helped me realize that putting it all out there for everyone to see might not be so bad after all! Your courage and authenticity always inspires me!

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  3. Lovely post Adelie in that you are happy to discuss bipolar and I am interested in how you ascertain the onset of manic times and then what do you do now to control them, it must take some internal will power to act when part of you must be yearning for the ‘awesome’ aspects.

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    • Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment. There’s a lot to learn about managing bipolar, but ever since I accepted the diagnosis a few years back, it’s been easier to manage. First of all, I know if I wasn’t on medication, it’s highly unlikely I’d even be alive right now. It keeps me at a fairly consistent baseline where I finally feel like “me.” As far as ascertaining the mania, a lot of it has to do with looking out for triggers like not getting enough sleep and increased stress. But I’ve found the easiest indicator to be my body movement- I become extremely restless to a point of wanting to run a 5k at 11pm. A lot of people will say the mania of bipolar helps with creative genius and such, and I believe that’s true to some extent. However, allowing myself to endanger others and myself isn’t worth whatever creative genius might be possible if I was manic. So, I try to tap into that authentic creativity while remaining sane…if that’s what you want to call it! I truly appreciate your interest and support! Thanks 🙂

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    • Thank you so very much for the lovely words and for being so generous with your encouragement. It means the world to me that such a kind, beautiful woman supports me. Thank you!

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  4. These words of yours just made my heart feel warm. My favorite line you wrote was stating that happiness is not something to find – it’s something to be. So many people search, while others wait for it to appear… Its often forgotten that it’s something that we can choose to BE – No waiting required. I get sucked into seasonal depression easily – anxiety is is tricky (nasty) thing… It sounds like you have the right mindset in the present to just the happiness be there. You’re a strong person & I admire you for sharing this. It’s a pleasant eye-opener.

    PS…Summer is officially 46 days away. 🙂

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    • Thank you for sharing such a wonderful reflection on my words, Jen. I honestly believe that 99% of us northerners might suffer from seasonal depression, even at the slightest extent! My husband’s family has moved down to Texas and suggests we join them. It makes me wonder if I would be happier. Thing is, I love the seasons. Even though they can be brutal, it gives me something to look forward to. I just cant imagine having a fall without nipping air, crunching leaves, and hot apple cider. Who knows…. How’s the weather in Wisconsin lately? We had some loud storms today but tomorrow’s supposed to be 83 degrees (Hot Damn!). I appreciate the summer countdown. I would appreciate it even more if you could find a way to expedite this soggy wait period! 😀

      I truly appreciate your unfaltering support and kindness. I figured most people already knew the whole deal with happiness, but I wanted to share it just in case. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s a choice. Sometimes it seems hard to be happy, but if you shift your thinking, it can be rather easy! 🙂

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      • Even if you thought most people knew what you were saying before you penned it, it was your way of saying it & it’s a reminder everyone could use. 🙂

        The weather over yonder, here in Wisconsin is improving. The air is not hurting my cheeks when I walk outside … but like you, lots & lots of rain. Some pretty nasty storms are coming our way this evening – but should be sunny & 67 by Saturday! Bring on the cookout!

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  8. I really enjoyed this post. It is a subject that is much on my mind these days and your post helped me with an attitude readjustment I’m tinkering with. Thank you for sharing so eloquently.

    I recently returned from an unexpected interruption to my blogging life and found that while I was gone I was nominated for a Liebster Award. This now entitles me to pick other people to nominate and I picked YOU!

    Read all about it here: http://splendidsass.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/the-liebster-award/

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    • Oh, Splendid Empress (I love that name by the way!), thank you so much for leaving me with such kind words to brighten my day. I’m truly touched that I was able to help you, as I’m still in the process of fine-tuning my attitude adjustment as well! I greatly appreciate the nomination for the Liebster award! Just to let you know, I was nominated by three people already, and my post is near complete. However, I will definitely mention you and your questions in my post. Things are a quite hectic for me these next two weeks, but I’m hoping I can finally publish that post next week. Thank you so much, again!

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  9. Hey Adelie, I am glad that I landed up on this post. It was inspiring. Life goes on as it never ends. All we need to do is to go with the flow and savor each and every stuff life offers.

    Have a wonderful life Adelie!

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    • Hello, Manish! I’m truly, deeply, sincerely sorry It took me so long to respond to this. As I’m newer to WordPress, and by no means a technical genius, I somehow never became aware of this truly magnificent comment you’ve left me. It wasn’t until I was poking around my dashboard that I saw this “pending comment.” Anyway, I truly appreciate you leaving me such kind and wise words. I’m so glad I did some poking around today, or I might have never seen it! You have a wonderful life as well, Manish!

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