You are not badly ill, overall you are a healthy young woman.
I know it means, that I can become fine, without loosing myself in the process. It is supposed to mean that I can and will get better. But that is not what I hear. All I hear is:
I am not sick.
And there are a number of consequences to that. If they do not think I am sick, well can I stop trying to get better? Because if I am not sick there is no need for me trying. There is no need for me working. Do I have to stop being proud of myself if I resist the urge? Can I stop trying to distract myself. Stop trying to find alternatives? Can I stop keeping in mind that I cannot drink too much, because I might slip? Because substance abuse is just another symptom for an illness, that I do not have?
Or does it mean I am imposing? Do they really think I would be faking the pain? As a matter of fact I have acted hurt before, which hurt me in return. But really… no human happily physically hurts him-/herself. I do not know if it is even possible to fake being in pain to this point.
Am I creating it all myself. Am I suffering from nothing but an idea, that I created myself? Is it all the exaggeration of a drama queen. A normal reaction of a young woman to extreme fields of tension?
That is not what they are saying? Well… If I am not that sick, then what is that pain I am feeling? Why am I cutting? Why do I hurt myself? Why do passions fade away. Slip away under my hand? Why do I feel like crying might help, but all it does is leaving me more empty and more fatalistic than before.
I know. no one is trying to invalidate my emotions. No one is trying to say the way I perceive the world is untrue. But that is all I hear. If I am not terribly sick, then why did I even put up with therapy? And why am I tossed around on emotions? Why do I feel fine one moment and the next I just… wish for it all to end?
And if this is normal… please tell me how everyone puts up with it. How can one live without breaking if this is the norm? How? How is not everybody addicted to alcohol and other drugs? I am supposed to shut up and deal with it? I will gladly. If I am told how the fork this is possible.
I know it is never meant to mean any of this. I know it with my head. But it is not how it feels. Because, frankly I wish I was not sick. And when I am not spiraling down, I appreciate the efforts to cheer me up. And I am even sure, that when someone says something like that they are telling the truth. And I know that there are a great many times, where I can see that truth myself. Moments where I feel fine. Moments of happiness. But there very same statement can be so devastating when I am at my worst, because it questions my perception of things. And the issue with that is, that there is none better at doubting me than myself and that is not something that should be enhanced in any way.
I am not saying I cannot handle the truth. I am not saying that no one should ever tell me that I am mostly healthy. Because it is the truth. But sometimes what I have described is all I hear. Maybe… because it is all I want to hear.
thing: We all strive for happiness. But I think the term “happiness” is
overused and therefore without meaning. So let’s have a closer look. I have
found there are three kinds of happiness:
Momentary emotional happiness:
Long term emotional happiness: base
Excitement is the kind of happiness where someone is jumping up and down in joy, because the happiness cannot be contained. This kind we experience, when we for example see something pretty, or when we get a phone, or dress. It is the kind of happiness, that lasts for minutes, hours and in rare cases for a day or two. And it needs a trigger.
happiness is way less outgoing. It is a state where a human being is content
and no matter what happens in one’s daily life, we trust, that it will be
alright. And while of course, we get mad or sad from time to time, we still
have that underlying happiness and peace to keep us from letting the negative
emotions get to us. It is however an emotion, because we feel happy at the core, even if we are going through a though
happiness is tricky: This is when we do not feel happy. We may even feel sad,
but we know that we have no reason to feel that way because our life is more or
less very good. It is when we keep telling ourselves, that we are fine. When we
try to feel better, because we cannot see the reason for not being happy.
How do these affect our mental health and how can they be utilized?
Excitement is, what we get, if we are depending on someone or something for our happiness, this is why depending is an issue. Excitement can keep us from becoming base level happy. While it really only makes us momentarily happy. And that’s how we develop addictions. We feel happy for a bit, then it goes away and whatever it is that made us happy: we need it again. That can be drugs, alcohol, shopping, sex and watching TV or even things that we would not typically be viewed as potentially addictive like studying or reading or playing with a pet.
The problem with excitement really is the dependence, which again only occurs, if we are not happy on a base level. Let me explain: There is nothing wrong with having a glass of wine to loosen up once in a while. But we have a problem if we do not feel comfortable when we are sober anymore. This also ties in with my latest post about relationships: of course we get excited about our relationships. And of course we experience happiness beyond description. It is natural and great as long as we do not depend on that to make us happy. Because excitement is not base level happiness, which is really what makes us happy in the long run.
Rational happiness is what many of us have. We nourish it by practicing gratitude and by focusing our mind on the good things in life. It is what we can experience even when we are at our lowest emotional state. This can lead to frustration. Because we feel bad, but we know we should be fine. And we start faking. We start hating ourselves, for feeling down for no reason. It can also lead to us questioning if we are actually bad or if we make ourselves miserable.
On the bright side however rational happiness can help us tab into base level happiness. Because we can actively tell ourselves that our lives are good. And if we tell ourselves often enough at some point we will believe it. Of course we need experience to back this up, but in essence that is how it works.
And finally there is base level happiness. And I have hinted at it a lot: it is what we want to achieve. Because the others are either not emotional or they are to momentary. Both of them can help to achieve it. Because with excitement we can experience why we are happy. And rational happiness helps us to preserve that excitement. Helps us see, why we are actually happy. So in essence base level happiness is what we get when we combine excitement (pure emotion) with rational happiness (pure rationality). But there is another aspect to it: and this is the longevity of base level happiness. And this is what ties happiness to positivity and awareness: We experience the calm of this happiness, because we stopped searching for happiness outside our lives. We stopped thinking: “Once I do this or that life will be better.” or “Once I get this or that, everything will be easier.” and instead started loving what we are doing on a daily basis.
To start doing that rational happiness can help. It helps to identify the nice things. And then we can start feeling that happiness. When we go to bed, we can look forward to getting up because we can go do our jobs. Whatever that may be. At this point there is one important realization: We are not getting up, for our alarm clocks. We are getting up, because we chose to. Because there is a day awaiting us. And it will be an awesome day. And sure, there will be moments, when we wish we could just walk away, but isn’t there a reason, we are not walking away? Are we not sitting through that meeting to get ideas on how to improve? Are we not trying to understand that mathematical formula to be able to solve problems later on? And are those goals not what we genuinely want?
This is the beauty of base level happiness. It allows us to be happy with our life for the sake of our lives. It makes us independent and self-confident. And it gets us through the rough patches, because it is not only the exciting things in our lives, that we love, but also the constants: the things we do on a daily basis. And even if these things fork (Good Place equivalent for f*ck) us up hard, we trust that it will be alright. Because when it comes down to it, we chose them for a good reason. In my experience this makes life so calm. We stop thinking about what others think of us, because we are content. The fear just goes away. And deep down we know that when it comes down to it everything is just fine. We stop hating ourselves, because we are living the life we want to live.
How the heck do we achieve base-level happiness?
Create a vision of yourself. A vision of our lives. I elaborated on this in a previous post. When we start doing what we want to do, which is exactly what happens when we start working towards our vision, we can love what we are doing, even when it’s hard from time to time. And the other point is to enhance the other two kinds of happiness. For example: get a hobby that we love doing and gets us feeling good. And of course, enhancing rational happiness by trying to make our mindsets more positive.
Noticing how independent we actually are, because at any point in our lives we have the possibility to just walk away. This means, we do have the power. Even if we are fighting some sort of mental illness, we can still walk away. We can still choose what our life looks like, which is really all we could ask for isn’t it?
What is Victim-Thinking. My quick answer is: toxic! Victim-Thinking is what we can easily fall into, when we suffer from something like self-harm. We tell ourselves, that it is not our fault. Tell ourselves, that we need to love ourselves, and take care of ourselves. And it is so easy to become lethargic. To blame everything on our self-harm. Because when everything has it’s reason in a disorder that we have no control over, we cannot be held responsible for anything. Which is basic determinism. But if we cannot be held responsible we can get rid of our entire judical system.
But we do have control over what we think about ourselves and I say considering ourselves a self-harm-victim is not healthy. Because that allows us to give up the fight. But don’t we all want to live in peace? And why should we not stop fighting, if it allows us to be at peace? Giving up may seem like we are achiving peace. But we really aren’t. Because giving in to our pain, will not release us in the long run, but hurt us even more.
So, if we are not victims, then what are we? That is up to everyone of us. We have a variety of attributes, that make us who we are. And self-harm is not one of them. We can choose one or a few of those attributes and decide that we shall be known for those. This can be anything, your hobby, to the way you talk to other, to the attitude you have towards your daily life. Focus on those. Picture the person you want to be and become that person. Actively. Choose to be that person. Rather than “just the person, who is always sad and hurts herself”.
The other extreme you can easily fall into is Fake-It-Until-You-Make-It. It is not less dangerous then victim-thinking. And in my eyes it is just as immature. The difference between just faking something and what I described in the last paragraph is, that one is taking an attribute, that naturally is ours and enhancing it. Making that one better, which results in us being a better person. Say we would like to be more positive (I choose that as an example, because I think it is so important). Being more positive can be achieved by appreciating the things around us. But there are two ways we can do that:
Seeing a random thing and deciding to like it.
Being on the lookout for things that we like.
The first is faking it. Because weare forcing yourself to like something, while we might actually even hate it. This works for a little. And sometimes faking it can jump-start us to get to appreciate new things, that we think we might like. Studying for example. Getting started is hard. But if we are studying what we love at some point it will become easy. In those situations faking can be okay. But only for a little while. If we fake for longer, we destroy us, because we are working against our will.The second is exactly what we want to do: we are not inventing an entirely new us, but we find something that we like about ourselves and enhance it. So afterwards we have more reason to love ourselves and are actually better, than before.