I have been struggling a lot with writer’s block. I originally had a goal of writing and creating one post just about every day and I broke the chain. I am a little disappointed in myself and my numbers but that’s ok. I have to remember why I started blogging to begin with; which is for myself, not for you or you or you or for however many people read this. I have come to love blogging and it’s creative platform that can extremely intimidating, yet rewarding. I noticed that my most popular blog posts are the ones that I was the most passionate about and are my personal writing favorites. Which, should come at no surprise that my best writing comes from a place of true, well… joy.
Then it hits me. A problem that everyone faces in life, and especially those who are bipolar, is trying to become or acrue happiness. This word is one of the most researched and questioned concepts among scientists, philosophers, religious leaders, and civilians alike. It is so coveted yet so understood, so why isn’t it more achievable?
As I began my research, I noticed lists upon lists of things you can do and easily acheive to reach happiness. The lists were generally the same, but the definitions of what happiness means was different all across the board.
I always like to think of happiness as the one piece your heart is missing and only the concept of being happy can fill the void. Different people or objects can fill this void in your heart, but like most believers in a higher power, God fulfills that hole in my heart. God is love and God is true joy. When you have true love and joy in your heart, you are content and fulfilled and, well, happy. But that doesn’t give a true definition of what happiness is for most people.
If you don’t know God’s love and joy, how would you know His happiness? But there are other religious and non-religious ways to reach happiness. I think doing, seeing, hearing, touching, and tasting different things is a great way to start searching for what makes you happy. Do what you love and it will bring you true joy. So if your passion is writing, chances are by doing it and other creative things, it brings you happiness. Or if your passion is food, cooking and having dinners and grocery shopping or gardening probably brings you joy. You get the idea.
But what about those with mental illness?
When you are depressed, even your passions no longer bring you joy, so how do you find happiness? Usually I force myself to do the things I enjoy whether it be writing, working out, or painting. You know why? Because everyone deserves to be happy. Bipolar isn’t a life sentence by any means and you shouldn’t let your mental illness control you. I think this is easy for me to say now because I’m in a good place mentally and when my depression comes back, I’ll be singing another tune. But until then, and even now, I struggle with getting out of bed and sleeping the day away even though I have so much laundry and so much cleaning to do. I have so many productive and creative outlets that I could be an active participant in but I choose not to for I have a fear of letting myself be happy.
I constantly wonder why I prohibit myself from being happy when I am the biggest advocate for others’ happiness and especially those who struggle with depression. I am so concerned and involved with the mental state of my loved ones that I put aside my own feelings. But some of my own happiness comes from making others happy. But the sentiment that states that you can only love others once you finally love yourself rings very true.
I feel like this post leaves more questions than it answers, whether it be for the reader or even for myself. So I will recap and see if there is some conclusion we can draw. First off, love and happiness are synonymous and for Christians, God is love and by extension of the previous statement, God is also true happiness or joy. Since God is within you and he is true joy, he fills the void that you may feel within your heart. I believe for others that God isn’t the one and only way to fill the void of unhappiness or discontent in your heart. If you believe in another religion, a lot of the same concepts exist that prayer and meditation make you happy and bring you peace and can fill the void. Now for non believers, there are possessions and activities and people you can surround yourself with that can bring you joy and contentment. Although you may not believe in religion, I suspect that most people at least believe in spirituality and with that, you appreciate the world around you no matter how the world started out and that truly fills the void in your heart.
Second of all, we have those who struggle with mental health issues and addiction which makes it inherently more difficult to establish or create true happiness and joy. I can only speak for those who have bipolar because that’s what I struggle with, but when I am depressed, it is even more difficult to use my coping mechanisms that bring me joy or make me “feel” God’s presence therefore it’s harder for me to experience joy. Although when I am manic, I can have very vivid spiritual experiences and paint for nine hours straight without getting bored or distracted. While these things bring me joy, it seems like it is not genuine. Every time I am manic, although I am as close as ever to feeling happy, I know that in a blink of an eye, it can all go away and the suicidal thoughts can start creeping in.
That leaves the question for those who have bipolar is what constitutes as happiness or joy? We know that we deserve to be happy and that we cope by taking care of others. We also know that we should love and care for ourselves before others so that we can truly bring them joy and love. I also wonder why we are the biggest roadblock to our own happiness? What deters us from our own selves being happy? I said previously I struggle with getting out of bed, but in order to go to work or do anything, I force myself. I force myself to do what I love and even what I hate out of well… love and kindness for myself.
I think I have come to conclude I don’t have the answers and I’m not supposed to. But this is a very good start to the beginning of my pursuit to (moreso with) happiness.
Til next time,