It’s a popular sentiment to speak of happiness as something we can choose.
When I was in junior high, the math teacher/volleyball coach who did the announcements over the intercom every morning always ended with, “Make it a great day or not. The choice is yours.”
Or take the popular quote, ascribed to Abraham Lincoln (probably falsely), that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
It’s a nice sentiment. And I think there’s some truth to it. In a lot of cases, we have a choice whether we want to focus on the negative or positive, if we want to see the glass as “half empty or half full,” forgive or hold a grudge, stew or let go.
This week I’ve had a rough, rough week. I have felt as though every possible thing has gone wrong at every possible turn. On top of missing keys and forgetting my lunch, spending half my checking account on student fees, and fighting with the English department about my scheduled thesis reading, I also woke up a couple of mornings and noticed that my pants, which I haven’t worn since last spring, have gotten uncomfortably tight.
I really did my best to focus on the positive. I reminded myself that I believe (and I do truly believe) that gaining weight is not inherently unhealthy, and in my case, potentially even healthy, considering that I still have amenorrhea. I celebrated that the draft I submitted for workshop was greeted with enthusiasm and tried to remember that, after all, my writing is far more important to me than how my clothes fit (also true.) I felt blessed that my sweetheart was supportive and kind when I came to him about how I felt. I even tried to get excited about the opportunity to shop for new pants.
But despite all of these genuine efforts to cheer myself up, I still felt really, really you-know-what. (It starts with an ‘f,’ if you need a hint.) And I just couldn’t shake the feeling that my life was tumbling into total disaster.
It wasn’t until late this week that I remembered–I haven’t been taking my anxiety meds.
When I went to the pharmacy I couple of weeks ago, my prescription had expired. They called my doctor in Kansas to ask for a new prescription but haven’t been able to get in touch with her.
Perhaps, I thought, I’ve been so upset at least in part because my brain chemicals are off.
For the longest time, I used to think that psychiatric medicine was bunk. A lot of people agree with that sentiment. I still believe that simply prescribing someone drugs and not addressing the actual circumstances causing their anxiety or depression or talking about strategies to re-direct their thoughts is a cop out.
Yet I’ve also come to learn that we can only do so much to ‘choose’ our mood. Mental illness has been shown to have a strong genetic component and we cannot simply will it to go away.
So, yes, I’m doing my best to prioritize self-care. But I’m also looking forward to getting my meds back.
Despite the gloom and doom that’s been plaguing my posts the past week, there are lots of good things that happened this week and lots of reasons I should be proud of myself. Thanks, as always, to Meg for reminding me to remind myself of all that I achieve each and every week. Also gonna link up with Mental Health Monday over at Drops of Jules for the first time because this post just seems too pertinent not to.I taught three classes (twice each, so actually six), including a lesson on clauses. With School House Rock. Because I have the maturity of a fifth grader combined with a very high nerd factor. I ❤︎ grammar.
I had a chunk of my memoir/thesis up for workshop.
I tried some delicious recipes from around the blogging world, including some Spinach Lentil Veggie Burgers (Meg again!) served up with sriracha, mayonnaise, and roasted kabocha on the sideand some Spiced Fish Tacos with Chili Lime Corn Salad from Katalyst Health.I posted this Vegan Blueberry Banana Breakfast Bake to the blog.I also, as you can see, started playing with Canva and designing some Pins that I hope might grab a few more readers’ attention. I can see, though, that Canva has its limits. Any suggestions for other favorite photo editing software? (Preferably free.)
Speaking of money, I replaced a component of the ignition in my car and paid my student fees. Ouch.
I attended my sweetie’s thesis defense. He passed!
I interviewed a professor for my internship.
I read several very obtuse articles for my literary translation class and met with a classmate to prepare for leading the discussion on Monday. “When I refer to a work of ‘translation,’ it is not to awaken ideas of the metaphoricity of technology but to point to how specific figures such as ‘insects’ are continuously distributed across a social field not merely as denotations of a special class of icky animals but as carriers of intensities (potentials) and models of aesthetic, political, economic and technological thought.” #gradschool
I watched two episodes of Star Trek and hung out with my sweetie.
Have you ever taken psychiatric medications? Did you notice a difference?