On Being Relentlessly Happy

I’ve always believed happiness is a choice. At least for most people, most of the time.

I don’t claim to understand clinical depression. But I do understand the blues. I experienced them after the birth of my son. I was deliriously happy. But also sleep deprived, adult deprived, constantly covered in regurgitated milk and slowly losing touch with life outside of my house. It may sound like the romanticized pressure of being a new mom, but the reality was far from charming.
The same could be said about my writing life. I’ve definitely experienced the blues, sometimes for months on end. I’m proud of things that I’ve accomplished. But I’m also sleep deprived, understanding adult deprived and constantly surrounded by people who are doing everything better than I can. At times, it’s hard to focus on anything other than life inside the writerly sphere, especially when things aren’t going as planned.
Definitely not charming.
And the thing is, when I slip into the blues, even though I do have understanding adults around me, I push them away. I paste on a smile and deflect their concern with unrelenting cheer. Every once in a while, the forced happiness is enough to pull me out. Other times it sends me further into hiding, away from anyone who might ask questions I don’t want to answer.
Although it’s hard to avoid the tough questions I ask myself.
Oddly enough, it’s the writing that pulls me out. A big block of time, a story that’s dying to be told. That’s what brings me back, every single time. Because no matter how hard my doubting brain works to convince me otherwise, the fact is, I’m a writer.

And so, I write.

12 thoughts on “On Being Relentlessly Happy

  1. I try not to let the blues hit my writing, but it is hard at times. Once I push away the stress of getting it right and remember why I write, writing becomes fun again.

    Glad you're back, Sherrie. *hugs*

  2. *hugs*

    Writing does it for me too – it's what got me in the game to begin with, and when the “game” gets me down, the writing never does. It's essentially a “creative” task in the fundamental sense of being life-giving, constructive and positive. No wonder it feeds our souls! Keep having faith in yourself, to know just what you need (time alone, time with others, time to write).

  3. Oh Sherrie, I think we writers all know some version of this story. *hug* And like you, we all cling to the life rafts in our lives, whatever they may be. (The writing, our children, our significant others, mindless TV, etc.) Hang in there, and remember: we're all in it with you. Even if you need us at arm's length away, we're here.

  4. You hit on some really good points here. I suffered from severe depression after my daughter was born, and I'm still not over it six years later. It's one of the reasons I haven't had any more children. I really understand the forced happiness thing. One element that has helped me like no other has been writing.

  5. Laura: Thanks — glad to be back!

    Stina: Yeah, the getting it right causes me way more stress than working on a new idea. Thanks for the hug — I'm glad to be back, too 🙂

    Susan: The creative part I love wholeheartedly. And I think having time alone feeds that, at least for me. When I'm too crowded — physically and mentally — my creativity suffers.

    Kristan: Funny that you mentioned the life raft. Mine is word games. And books. I've read an obscene number of books the last few months. But now that I've found my writing mojo again, I haven't read any at all! Funny how that works…

    Thanks for the hugs and the kind words. It means a lot.

    Perna: Glad I'm not the only one writing myself out of a funk 🙂

    Michelle: I knew you would get it. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Oh, Sherrie, I know exactly what you're talking about. I suffer huge chunks of sad time when I have little faith in myself or what I do and then I write and world's open before me with all kinds of possibility.
    I hope you're following a story's lure right now.
    I've missed you.

  7. Glad to have you back, Sherrie. Especially glad to hear the truth of how you are. You're right. It's definitely not charming, but it's real. But real has more power and takes more courage. Keep writing. You inspire others, including me, to do the same.

  8. Tricia: I am following a story's lure and making time to write again. It feeds my soul in so many ways. So good to hear from you. I missed you too!!

    Paige: I'm far from courageous, but I can't stop writing. Even when I think I suck 🙂 I can't wait to catch up with you!

  9. I agree that for most people, most of the time, happiness is a choice. It doesn't mean that clinically depressed people can just “snap out if it,” but nevertheless, it remains true.

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