Lately I have been thinking about happiness and what it means to me. What I sacrifice my quest to attain it and how I define it. I’ve realized that all this is something that has changed over the past years and I think it is something that will continue to do so.
Before my psychosis symptoms popped up, I defined and attained my happiness through helping others. I constantly and willingly sacrificed my own needs in order to help those around me. Helping them helped me because this was how I defined my worth and it was what gave me a reason to stay alive. I phrase it this way because truthfully, I was also living with depression and saw no worth in my life if I wasn’t helping.
Once my psychosis kicked in however, I was unable to help in the same way because I was barely surviving and hadn’t any energy to give…although I tried! And failed. Got myself hospitalized and also felt totally worthless since I was unable to follow through on my goals in helping other people.
Over the past years I have been forced to face my depression and the negative thoughts I’d previously bury by focusing outside of myself…in doing so I have realized that caring about people is not a bad thing and neither is sacrificing for them. But by not recognizing my worth outside of my ability to do these things I did myself a disservice. Because once I could not help, I saw myself as worth nothing. As a shell of the being I was, a shell with no use. I now force myself to accept where I am at and what I can give without endangering myself. And yes, that means being truthful about my needs and trying not to feel shame in asking for help. It has meant accepting that I cannot help as I was once able to but that doesn’t mean what I do now is any less valuable. It has meant accepting that my limits are different now and in some ways more important to respect.
I still feel happiest when I can be helpful…and I’m learning how to do that in a healthier way. Learning to say no when I realistically cannot help even though I would like to. I am learning to value myself and therefore help myself as well. Just because I cannot do certain things doesn’t mean I am not able to do all things…consistently learning to shift my perspective is where I am at.
I am defining happiness for myself and in doing so letting go of the restrictions placed when I use the criteria used by anyone else. My happy might be someone else’s normal but I am doing my best not to compare any more. Peace wherever I am at is what I crave and my pursuit of that is teaching me more than I ever thought it could.