Friday, May 25, 2012

Focusing on Darkness

Making happiness is not easy for me.  I have dealt with depression and anxiety since I was a teenager.  I have never been medically diagnosed with either one, but I feel certain I struggle with them.  I have sought counseling and it did help, but that was the problem.  Because it helped, my therapist said I probably didn't need to keep coming, so I didn't.  But it was because I was going that I was feeling better.  That was last fall.  I have been in conflict with myself whether I should go back.  My anxiety has been worse than ever.

Every day it is a struggle to be happy.  It is a lot of work.  Is it this much work for everyone or just some people?  Are some people just naturally happy and optimistic?  For me, it's a choice to be happy and optimistic, one that I struggle making. I feel that I am naturally a pessimistic person and the first thing I see is the negative, even if I'm not trying to see it.  I have to look hard for the positive in every situation I'm in, every situation, even the little day-to-day things like getting up in the morning, paying the bills, living life.

One main concern of mine is why does the world seem so bleak to me?  It's like my worries and fears are so much bigger than anything else that they overshadow everything.  I can't seem to find anything happy to focus on because even those happy moments seem so fleeting and small that they just don't overshadow the bad.

I remember reading or hearing once a general authority talk about beautiful vistas in life.  He gave an analogy of riding along on a train through tunnels and darkness and every once in a while you emerge from the darkness to a beautiful vista.  I think I have missed many beautiful vistas because I seem to only know how to focus on the darkness.

Is it even possible to learn to focus on the light when you've only ever known about focusing on darkness?


Scott Lazarowitz said...

Well, you asked, "Is it even possible to learn to focus on the light when you've only ever known about focusing on darkness?"

So I don't know if I can answer that, and I'm not sure if you want practical advice or solutions, but I'll offer some anyway.

Sometimes things can be overwhelming, and it's difficult to "focus on the happy moments" when the darkness seems to overshadow everything. But you can help yourself just with the will to take control over things.

Now, regarding the problem with the crying baby from your other post: When I have a problem, personally or with something like my computer, etc., I Google it. You probably have already done that, but if you Google something like "Why is my baby crying so much," you'll probably find many helpful articles, regarding causes, possible solutions, and maybe also how to cope with it.

And, regarding seeing a therapist, you mentioned that it helped you. If it was helpful to you, then you should continue with it (especially if it was for only a short period of time). If the therapists still says that he or she doesn't want you to continue, then find another therapist.

(I hope that these well-intentioned "helpful hints" are not being too intrusive, although you did share those items of personal information here on the blog.)

Also, if I feel depressed, one thing I do to cheer myself up is go to YouTube and see clips of some of the old TV shows I used to watch, such as the Carol Burnett Show, Mary Tyler Moore, etc. Some of those episodes of the Honeymooners and I Love Lucy still crack me up after all these years!

Botts said...

Hi Jenna! You don't know me. I found your blog through my sister-in-law's blog, Dexy Taylor. My name is Sarah Bott.

I can understand this post! Darkness is real.

I have 4 sons and 1 daughter as well.

Sorry to blog stalk. I promise I'm not creepy. Well, that is up for debate, if you ask my kids, but anyway...

Come by my blog...

Royalbird said...

Scott--Good suggestions. I like the one about watching old TV shows. That always does make me smile.

Botts--Thanks for stopping by, I'll come check out your blog!

Jana Perkins said...

Jenna, it's amazing how similar we are. I too struggle with bouts of depression and have anxiety/panic attacks in certain situations.

How I have chosen to combat my depression when it occurs might help you. I have found daily prayer and scripture study essential! Letting in sunlight throughout the house helps. Playing good upbeat happy music is a must. I always have something playing in the background that I can sing or dance to. Finding "me" time, usually a shower and getting ready for the day all by myself and not rushing.

If I do all that and still have trouble I usually find a project to do, something to make for someone else, something to decorate my home, something to focus on that will distract me from my 'nothingness' feelings.

This what I do that helps me. Hope some of it can help you.

swedemom said...

I left a long comment earlier but somehow it got deleted. But really, I think a blog post I wrote about my Happiness Project really covers what I wanted to say.

I've struggled with the darkness too. It is really hard to overcome. But I believe in the power of the light and of God's love and the power of reaching out for help.


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