The title is kind of making fun of some of my former posts. I am currently in remission from Major Depression (Thank God). Of the things real/possible/suggested/hypothesed/etc. this condition is the one I know I am most in danger of. I was scared for my life every day and lost many friends to suicidal depression. I lost many more to my being open about my condition but I know I at least left some seeds in their minds. They knew me as worthy, sane, and a like minded individual once. It is no joke and nothing to take lightly. It has many levels and a variety of spectrums and luckily suicidal MDD is more rare, but I was there. No longer today. Not right now. But I cannot and will not ever let up on stressing my warnings; do not ignore those signs in your loved ones! Please. No one is too good/ smart/ well educated/ from too good of a family/ strong of a background; No One!
Many great minds have researched a human’s basic needs for ‘happiness’. In my depression this became so overwhelming for me. Just planning a day was overwhelming. Heck, gathering items needed for a shower was… So once I was in remission I looked at those projects with less disgust. For the most part all agree on the following:
(1) Physical Needs
- Shelter or “reasonable standards of living”
I grew up in a very modest, but comfortable home. When I dream about ‘home’ this is still the house I dream of being in. Some of my best and most terrible memories took place during my time living in this house. I always imagined living in a nice, big, beautiful home. My parents moved on to a large Victorian and have lived there for over ten years; the three homes I have lived in since have been progressively nicer and bigger but I don’t think they have made me feel happier or more at home.
- Satisfactory Work
My family are hard workers. Building their own business from the ground up, starting with my uneducated grandfather who, although a genius, had severe dyslexia and couldn’t read. My father and his brothers added to the company and now my cousin and another man who will take over the company when my uncle retires. My other cousins work hard in their chosen fields (many in education, sports and sales; I chose sales, hospitality management). Most of us are college educated, a couple just high school (one of those is out-earning all of us in sales) and a couple have earned Masters (including myself) and probably are mid-earners ironically but I could be wrong. But money has been proven to not be a happiness indicator. Just look at the last ten millionaire lottery winners to prove that theory! I just continued my education because I loved school and my employer paid for half. As of two weeks ago I had to take a step down from a 16 year career in executive/management due to my health (I’ll discuss later) and take a clerical position in the same field (hospitality). I still enjoyed the work even though it was at a significant paycut and it will also mean a change in my family’s standard of living. But ultimately, would I (we) be happier? That would be difficult to know without the entire picture.
(2) Mental/ Emotional Needs
- Good personal and intimate relationships
This was a tough, painful, tearfueled lesson to learn. Someone famous once said, “I either care too much or not at all.” I always care too much. Always. If I make a connection with a person and tell them something about myself, that connection is real. It hurts me everytime a client I have invested a lot of time in starts to ignore me instead of just letting me know they have chosen another venue (just horrible treatment, in my opinion but I get they don’t want to dampen their happy vibes). I hurt when friends I used to be close to fade away and even ‘fall off’ of social networks because my truth makes them uncomfortable as if my illness may somehow float over to them. I am the same me I have always been, I just do not silently plot my own death anymore. I don’t plot my own death anymore*.* But, yes, I once did. And then tried to carry it out. People find this odd and creepy and I get that, but I wouldn’t hurt a fly. I carry spiders out of the house! Suicide ideation and murder are two completely different pathologies. I raised two beautiful, healthy, very well attended little girls. Which brings me to my family. My immediate family. They haven’t abandoned me and do love me still, which is all I need. My husband is a saint and eternally patient and my children have been the sunshine in my darkest days. Those three are the reason I survived and continue to. I even got a bonus two children who are precious. Friends, well I have a handful of those I would call true friends. I supposed many married, almost 40 year olds would say the same. A couple I thought were hurt me badly. A few more drifted away. The ones that are still there I will cherish forever. I will do whatever possible to maintain those friendships. Their still being there for me makes a huge difference in my life.
- Appreciating art and nature
There were many times when my physical health was better that music and running (both together and apart) were my escape and salvation. It was there I cried and prayed. Only there I trusted myself with my real feelings because I KNEW I would be strong enough to come back from them. I could lose myself in the beauty of a winter tree lined sunrise and thank God I was alive and ten minutes later hear a song that brought memories from a past relationship and all the anger I had repressed at the way I had been treated. I could take my sadness, fear, shame and anger out on the pavement and know he was far behind me. I knew I was stronger than his abuse now. There was someone else in his grasp and he couldn’t hurt me anymore. Running and music was my church and my gym. My therapy and my gallery. I hope to someday get back there again.
- Religion (or philosophic point of view)
God. I very strongly believe He exists. I will discuss but won’t debate Him. I don’t think He is exactly what people imagine Him to be. The reasons people give for Him to be either an imperfect or harsh God. I believe we will only truly understand when we die. Our understanding of Him is our own interpretation. Between us and Him, as it says in the Bible we have our own personal relationship with God. We are not to judge, lest we be judged. I try not to judge. I’ve actually been too fast to trust people. Even people who have hurt me over and over again. It still makes me happier to think maybe someday I will be able to. Start by trusting BUT have cautious protection in place just in case. In other words; just don’t put your guts on an open table for them to smash and then spit on. At least not with out witnesses to tell you yes, you are not crazy …he/she is a jerk and you did not provoke that attack. Happiness is no attack. Close to happiness is validation. I think God understands.