8 of 45 Moments of Wonder
Fill your cup with sunshine and laughter…no thanks. Not today. Today I am sitting in a full-on pit of shame and darkness. Ever felt like that? I know I have. There are days when my life is full, overfull, of joy and laughter and sunshine. And then there are other days when all I want to do is to sit in my dark, dank hole and just forget the day is even happening. The worst part? There doesn’t even have to be anything really wrong. This is the struggle of not always being mentally well.
Do you ever feel that way? You are in a funk and people tell you to “just smile” or “shake it off.” Do you or does anyone you know struggle with this kind of not caring? The day that I wrote the first draft for this post, I was feeling like nothing really mattered. I was getting ready to go get some support from my therapist and if that didn’t help (it did), I was going to seek medical support. For those who worry about me when I get like this, please don’t. The fact that I am able to recognize when I need some intervention is a good sign. It is why I live openly about my mental health and why I believe it is better to be openly seeking treatment and help managing than suffering silently.
What do you do when you feel this way? I write. I talk to someone. I find something that brings me joy and I focus on it. Maybe its my family. Maybe its my long-eared basset hound. It doesn’t matter what it is, if it brings me joy I am going to focus on that until I feel like interacting with it and eventually I can pull myself out of the cavern.
Why did Dodinsky’s quote still speak to me on a day when I was feeling so unwell? I think that no matter how dark our lives can feel, we still long for some joy. We long for something to enter that will bring laughter and will lighten the dark place we are in. Maybe filling our lives with things that can bring joy and light are healing. I watched an interview on CNN last week with Gary Gulman, a comedian whose new HBO special, the Great Depresh, is helping to eliminate the stigma many feel about mental illness. Thinking about it, laughter and sunshine could be found in a hilarious stand up comedy show about mental illness. Maybe that is exactly what is needed to fend off the dark days.
If today you are struggling to find joy and light and sunshine and laughter, I want you to know you are not alone. Read that again, slowly… You. Are. Not. Alone. Please reach out to someone today. And know, too, that seeking support makes you strong and capable, not weak and untrustworthy. I believe when we are open, we will seek support. And seeking support makes us better at everything we do from parenting to our jobs to being a better friend, partner, human.
As I finish up this post, know that writing helps me to feel a little better. I am able to see that laughter and sunshine are not only possible, but that I want them in my life. Where do you find laughter and sunshine in your life? Is it in the giggle of a child? A funny book or movie? A hobby? Perhaps you find joy in re-reading a letter written by someone you love. However you find sunshine and laughter, fill your life with it. Because when our lives are so full of light and joy, it is harder for us to fall into the caverns of darkness and shame.