This I Believe

Barbara - Lompoc, California
Entered on September 19, 2006

This I believe

Your personal attitude is the one factor that will determine whether or not you have happy life.

As a child my son used to cry “Not Fair” whenever he felt some injustice had been inflicted upon him and my reply would always be, “You are right son, life isn’t fair and never will be.”

When my children were young, two and 7 years of age I began to have episodes of serious depression. At times it would become so overwhelming that I could not enjoy a simple outing with my husband and children. Being around crowds of people would make me physically ill. This situation persisted for several years until I came to a rude awakening. I was in danger of loosing my family and possibly my life to this “condition” called depression.

I remembered my grandmother being placed in a sanitarium when I was little and not being able to see her for the longest time and hearing grownups speaking about “shock therapy” as if it was a horrible and shameful thing. I literally abhorred and rejected the whole idea of mental illness and carried this mindset into adulthood.

This viewpoint made me reluctant to seek medical help and resistant to taking medications that were prescribed by doctors. It was not until I had reached the bottom rung of my life that I realized that I could not afford to keep these preconceived attitudes and ideas.

I wanted my life back and I wanted to be happy. I began a slow and painful therapy process, and tried one medication after another until I found the right drug for me. Finally I began to feel different. I didn’t cry all the time and I began to enjoy going places again. I accepted the fact that I would always need medication to feel normal.

Years later I had another challenge to face. I began to have severe muscle pain and debilitating fatigue. At times it would be so extreme that just standing in line at the market was about the limit of the physical activity I could manage. I spent a lot of time in bed “recovering” from overdoing it.

But this time I approached my condition with a renewed attitude. I accepted the fact that I had this syndrome called Fibromyalgia. I embraced my good days and found alternative treatments such as acupuncture and massage to enable me to cope and live with my limitations.

How can I say my attitude has me happier? I see firsthand in others the hopelessness and drug addiction that results when one gives oneself over to pain. Life is not fair but I refuse be miserable. I choose to be happy in life, happy in love, and live to the full extent that I am able. I do have to take afternoon recovery breaks at times but I hear power naps are good for you. I’m smiling.