It is hard for me to remember the last time I smiled.
I mean really smiled. That I’m so happy that I cannot help but smile type of smile. This feeling of happiness wasn’t really evident in January when I was in Africa. I keep looking at the picture taken when we reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Reaching the summit at 19.431 feet was a bucket list adventure.
We made it to the top of Africa.
So where is the joy, the exhilaration, the sense of accomplishment? Why am I just OK in the picture? It may just be a manifestation of altitude sickness. But I had exhibited none of the headache, or nauseous symptoms associated with altitude sickness. And I had medication my GP had prescribed which I was taking twice a day. While it may be possible that this was the reason, I am not convinced.
And that feeling of just OK wasn’t just what I felt at the summit of Kilimanjaro.
I was feeling this before, and I am certainly feeling it now. Just OK, that’s it. Now there are those that might celebrate just OK. And I am not belittling that feeling. After all, at least I am feeling something. Just before my time at 5 East, I felt nothing. It wasn’t just ok; in fact, it wasn’t ok at all. It is just emptiness and nothingness. The best I could do was be up and out of bed for some portion of the day.
Thankfully, I have been past that now for almost four years.
And I am not expecting unicorns and rainbows all the time. My biggest expectation is to consistently lead a balanced life with depression. I know the reality of living with depression, and I am now actively working on understanding all I can about it.
In 138 days, I am planning a seven-day trek in Peru which culminates at Macchu Pichu.
You would think that the thought of another adventure would bring a smile to my face. I don’t see what is keeping me from being excited about this trek. Of course, when I think of it from my depression point of view, it looks like depression is being left alone. And I try to be more open about my depression, but I still cannot find a way to lead a balanced life with depression.
I have been much more open and honest with my Peer Advocate recently.
She has been suggesting that I speak with my medicine management psychiatrist about supplementing my Wellbutrin with one of three boosters. These medications are taken in addition to the primary anti-depressant. Often, this is that little extra that brings a person back “to his or her old self.” I have that written down to speak with my psychiatrist about the next time I see her.
And I have information on DNA type testing to narrow down the most effective anti-depressants based on my specific make-up.
But in the meantime, what can I do to get past just ok? How can I have moments of joy, of happiness? Is that even possible these days? It seemed that before I faced my depression, it was easy to get back to happiness. As I wasn’t spending any time figuring out what or why I had had “one of those things,” I had more time and energy to seek out pleasure, joy, and happiness.
In order to arrive at happy, I need assistance.
But I also need to act. I am writing about the problem, but not taking the action required to address the problem. Now that’s a problem. And if I cannot figure out how to move forward with this, I will be writing about not feeling happiness in a month or so.