Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Boredom: the good, the bad, and the ugly

For the first time in a LONG time I can honestly say I'm bored. This is a good state for me because the depression can sink me so low, it's almost impossible to see the surface. Could this even be "happiness?"
That I can't really answer. Well, I know I can so I should. I always picture happiness as this state of bliss where everything goes my way. That never happens in real life so I think that's why I struggle with actually admitting to myself that I am happy. I picture butterflies and smiley faces dancing around me when I picture being happy. But what prevents me from saying I'm happy right now?
It's such an ambiguous word. What is happiness to me may be completely different than how Bill Gates would describe happiness. We talk a lot about the concept of happiness in class because when people are sad and depressed and come in to see a therapist, one of their goals is generally to feel happy. So how does one get there? What is quantifiable?
I'm working out which is supposed to help with mood regulation and it does. Since I've abused so many drugs in my day, I always thought of myself as endorphin deficient: I was born with an unnaturally low level of endorphins and that's why drugs are so appealing to me. Well that's a load of crap on many levels, but since I've joined my local YMCA and actually started working out, I have felt those naturally produced endorphins and they feel really good, I have to tell ya. Even if I skip a weight lifting session, I am committed to my swim class twice a week and I feel great right afterwards and even the day after - like today. I was always under the impression that it would feel like the instant high I got after using, but that's not the case at all; it's much longer lasting and not as intense of course, but in the long run it still feels good and is MUCH healthier for me.
The status of relationships often contributes to the level of happiness one is experiencing. Although there are always issues in my marriage (and in any marriage I suspect) overall my husband and I seem to be in a really good place right now. The two most common things couples fight about is money and children. Since we don't have children together, that leaves money which is something that stresses us both out a lot. Since I'm on unemployment right now, things are tight, but since we've recovered from Christmas expenses, that hasn't been an issue for a few weeks now.
Going to school makes me feel good about myself and gets me out of the house to see people at least three times a week. That's important because isolation is a hallmark of depression and this semester started a couple of weeks ago so I've been getting out and meeting people for a bit of time. School also makes me feel competent because it's something I'm good at and interested in. So there's something that increases my self esteem: doing something I like, can succeed in, and have interactions with others who seem to find me friendly and interesting.
So it is boredom? Do I need constant crisis in my life in order to feel anything, or is it just happiness in all it's plain-Jane glory? I'm going with happiness today.

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