Sunday, December 9, 2012

Allowing Yourself to Be Happy

Bad brain chemistry is a terribly debilitating condition, even in a relatively mild form like mine.  I struggle with fear, anxiety, anger, depression every single day.  It's funny how for most of my life I never knew my mother had the same condition.  Because she was married to my father, who suffered from bi-polar disorder, it seemed that he was making her unhappy all those years.  It never occurred to me that she had the same problem as he, though in a less conspicuous form.

Over the years my mother complained of unhappiness, and I wanted to do something to help her, to make her happy.  My whole life I worked at it, and not just with her--with the other members of my family, too, who always seemed to be unhappy.  But no matter what I did, it didn't help.  I decided they liked being unhappy.

But that wasn't really true, at least not in the strictest sense.  During that time I'd been unhappy, too, attributing my misery to life circumstances that were making me suffer.  So I'd change the circumstances, thinking that would change my level of happiness.  Of course, it never worked, or not for very long, anyway.  My family members were no different; they assumed their misery came from the outside and they continued to change their circumstances to try to stop their suffering.

In fact, they've tried everything, but the misery always comes back. Believe me, I know.  Unfortunately, I can't convince them that the reason it comes back is because it's inside them.  But then who can blame them? If the misery is inside you, you're doomed, right?  If you can't get rid of it, you have to give up.  Who'd want to accept that?

Well, I know I can't get rid of the bad feelings because they are part of my physical being.  But what I can do is realize that they are merely physical phenomena that can be dealt with in a pragmatic and non-self-destructive way.

Easy to say, but not easy to do.  Feeling bad is something you want to fix right away. For instance, right now I feel terrible.  It's a physical pain but it feels like a mental pain.  What I'm doing now is designed to make it go away; writing is an analgesic for me.  Hunting for the solution to the puzzle helps my brain get back on track.

I wish I could communicate this to my mother to help her feel better.  I've tried it with my sister, but she just doesn't want to accept that she has a brain chemistry problem, and that is the key to this treatment.  Maybe she's afraid that if she admits to having bad brain chemistry, she'll be stuck being unhappy with no hope for the future.  I guess it's like having to admit you have an addiction; once you admit that, then you have to do something about it, and if you don't know what to do, you'll lose hope.

So, I guess I have to perfect this treatment before I can convince people it's alright to have bad brain chemistry because you can do something about it and finally allow yourself to be happy.

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