Thought of the Week: What Makes Me Happy (?)

A very good friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, stating that he was going to rant about something, but decided instead to list things that make him happy.

I thought this was very clever. You see, as someone who suffers from some form of major depressive disorder (bipolar, unipolar depression … something like that), I don’t often take the time to think about things that make me happy. I tend to operate more on a guilt/shame line of feelings; I could endlessly list things that make me feel bad about myself. And when I stopped to think about it, I realized that I couldn’t, off the top of my head, come up with anything.

Which is sort of a shame, really.

What makes me happy? I thought. Do puppies make me happy? Not really. What about kittens? I like them, but they make me sneeze. Good music? Too much butter on toast? Little children using words they don’t understand? All sorts of things come to mind that, perhaps, ought to make me happy, but I can’t be entirely certain any of them actually do.

Then it occurred to me that although not everything makes me happy, there certainly are things that, if nothing else, help me appreciate the world a little more each day. Things that renew my faith in humanity, or inspire me to continue when things are at their bleakest. And to return the favor to my friend for inspiring this post, here is a list of ten things that, if not make me happy, at least make me appreciate life a little more than usual:

1. When Little Satis asks me to read to him at night.

Reading

There’s something awfully rewarding not only about reading to your child, but them actually wanting to be read to. Even better when it’s your own story they want you to read!

2. Talented people who don’t take themselves too seriously.

_73332750_cumberbomb

There’s something unparallelably adorable about Benedict Cumberbatch. Plus, he’s a freaking dragon!

3. Clever rhyme schemes.

Still

Running uphill

Swimming against the current

I wish I weren’t

So fucked

Feels like I’m stuck

Lost in a sea

Of mediocrity

—Dream Theater, As I Am (Train of Thought, 2003)

Dream Theater’s lyrics are not always so clever, but this particular line often gets stuck in my head (possibly because it often reflects my own internal monologue).

4. Graphs and charts.

decline

XKCD have some of the most marvelous and insightful graphs in the comic universe.

5. Typing the last word of a novel.

This is something I’ve done precisely twice. Those words are “laughed” and “spoke”, respectively.

Just realized they’re both past-tense verbs pertaining to speech. Perhaps the last word of Ancients and Death should be “giggled”.

6. Those months when you get paid three times.

roll-of-money

Those of you on monthly salaries might not understand this, but when you get paid fortnightly, every so often there’s a month with three paydays. It’s like winning the lottery!

7. Really nice islay single malt scotch whiskey.

Bottle-Shots-064

Not something I have all that often, but there’s something irresistible about the earthy, peaty flavor of a really nice single malt scotch. Those extra paydays help.

8. Browsing through independent record stores.

record collector

This is Record Collector, one of my favorite independent record stores. It’s in Sheffield, England, and I stopped in during our recent trip. My favorite thing is to buy a CD or record with an interesting cover by an artist I’ve never heard of and see what it’s like. It’s a shame there are so few of these wonderful shops left.

9. Mince pies.

mince-pie_2739967b

Basically, it’s not Christmas without mince pies. End of story.

10. Lists.

bucket-list

I’m rather fond of lists—wish lists, in particular. I have a rather extensive list of albums and movies I want to listen to and see. I also keep an ongoing shopping list on my iPhone with probably around 200 items on it at any given moment. Not sure what the point of that is, actually.

11. (Bonus) High-resolution stock photography.

Broken camera

It may be slightly ironic that I took this high-res photo from an article about not taking photos from websites, but … I am linking to it (click above).

Featured image from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-sheridan/the-life-you-want_b_6044498.html.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 6.46.37 PM

Daily Photo: May 21, 2010

If I post in advance, I can't get in trouble for forgetting!

If I post in advance, I can’t get in trouble for forgetting!

Happy anniversary, sweetie!

Camera: Pentax K-x          ISO: 200          Focal Length: 48mm          Aperture: ƒ/10          Shutter Speed: 1/180

Satis Logo with ©

Thought of the Week: I Think I’m Happy…What Should I Do About It?

I'm not insane…

I’m not crazy…

Those of you who’ve been following me for a while might be aware that beneath the surface of joviality and fun is a pretty lonely, disturbed and frankly mad person. I’ve struggled with untold mental illnesses since my teens (literally untold – no one’s told me what’s wrong with me yet). In fact, look out for some poems from those dark periods of my life coming up on here in the near future. I’ve been depressed, miserable, suicidal even…and it’s become so ingrained that it’s now a part of me – defines me, even.

So what on earth am I supposed to do when I don’t actually feel like that at all? For the past couple of weeks I haven’t felt the influence of darkness on me at all. At first it was pretty welcome, but now I’m beginning to get scared – what’s wrong with me? Even worse, what’s happened to what’s wrong with me?

~

“This is such an unusual feeling that I have no idea how to cope with it.”

~

I can’t exactly tie it to any one thing in particular; the new drugs I started on recently, some subconscious breakthrough in therapy, the fact that Mrs. Satis hasn’t been yelling at me all the time…who knows. It’s been a remarkable influence on my home life; things just feel good, as though there’s just nothing really wrong in the world. We went for a wonderful walk the other day in a nearby botanical garden, and it was lovely, even though we got there late, were tired, and didn’t even get to see a whole lot of flowers (there were some really incredible flowering trees, though).

Just of a taste of the blooms at the New Jersey Botanical Gardens.

Just of a taste of the blooms at the New Jersey Botanical Gardens.

We went out to breakfast last week, and had a conversation. Wow – a whole conversation, like where we both get to talk and listen to each other!

Things are going well at work, too; new positions are opening up, I’m getting to do a lot of what I enjoy, and the people I work with are fabulous.

I’m so freaking scared!

This is such an unusual feeling that I have no idea how to cope with it. Even when I get upset, it doesn’t last – I pull out of it almost right away. I want to say that I feel stable, which ironically feels incredibly unstable given that I normally am unstable all of the time. I can’t tell if it’s a good feeling, if it’s normal…I can’t tell if it’s a kind of bipolar high that I’m going to come crashing down from soon.

I think that these are some of the things that are particularly frightening me the most. The downs, the deep, dark black pits of despair that I wallow in for days on end, despite their comfort and familiarity and allure, are terribly damaging to my relationships and those around me, and as much as I crave it I also fear it. On this “high” (for lack of a better word) I feel able to see the effects of the downs more clearly, and I just really don’t want to go back there.

In fact, this sense of pseudo-panic is leaving me so upset and disturbed that I think I might be crashing because of it. Does this even make any sense? I feel like a complete lunatic, or completely doped up. Everything’s so right it’s wrong!

What do you think? Is it possible to become depressed because you’re happy?