What is the meaning of life? That's always the million dollar question. Right? I have always believed that the meaning of life is to be happy. After all, what is life if you aren't happy? All I have ever wanted is to be happy overall. That doesn't mean that I wouldn't have any stress in my life what-so-ever. No one can avoid all stress. That doesn't mean I would be happy 100% of the time, either. That's not realistic. However, it is realistic to be happy overall or in general
I know I'm not.
Many people go through rough patches in their lives. The difference is that for most people, they are able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Most of the time, people can say "this too shall pass." For me, and most people, it is much easier to get through something difficult in life (the loss of a job, divorce, the death of a loved one, etc.) when you know it's only temporary. No, the death of a loved one is not temporary and neither is divorce. However, in both of those situations people are able to go on with their lives after awhile. And please don't get me wrong. I am not saying that any of those situations are easy... far from it, in fact. I am just saying that, in most situations, people are able to get through it and after a period of grieving and adjustment, they can continue on with their life.
According to the CDC, about 1 in 10 people over the age of 12 in the United States take antidepressants. And, up to a third of people with chronic illness suffer from depression. Here is an article about chronic illness and depression - Chronic Illness and Depression. The article states that "depression is especially likely to occur when the illness is associated with pain, disability, or social isolation." Sound familiar? Mitochondrial Disease, at least in my case, causes all 3 of those things. I am in constant pain. I have to use a wheelchair to get around at least 60% of the time after living a very active life. And, as I've discussed many times, I am definitely in social isolation.
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." - Dalai Lama
I have tried to be happy. I have found things I like to do that doesn't require much physical activity, despite spending the first 30 years of my life enjoying only things that do require physical activity. I have become involved in fundraiser after fundraiser. Actually, I haven't become involved. I've created them myself. I have spent energy I don't have helping others (friends, family, and the needy), as much as people will let me, since I'm no longer able to do so as a nurse. I even tried volunteering at my daughter's school. I couldn't keep it up because I had to cancel too many times because I was too sick to come in. They need someone who's going to be reliable and actually show up when they say they're going to. I've added friends, gotten rid of "friends", and changed current relationships to try to make them better. I've seen 2 different therapists since I've been sick. I've even read books on dealing with life with a chronic illness. So, it's not like I haven't tried.
"The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom." - Arthur Schopenhauer
There are only so many things a person with a serious chronic illness can do to make themselves happy. What can you do from your bedroom or couch? And then there are only so many distractions from the things that make you unhappy.
Nothing I've done changes anything. I'm still unhappy. I don't know how to be happy while feeling bad/sick all the time. I do okay on my "good" days, but I'm not talking about how I'm doing from day to day. I'm talking about overall happiness.
"The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves." - Victor Hugo
Unfortunately, a big part of my happiness relies on my relationships with others. Why is that? Well, I've always been a social person who enjoys being around others. I like to talk. (Even those of you who don't know me personally should know that by now based on how much I ramble on in my blog posts.) I spend day in and day out at home by myself with my only connection to the outside world being my computer. (Remember that social isolation I mentioned above?) That takes a toll on someone who likes to be around people. I try to make plans with others but people don't always want to come here. The ones who do only come on occasion. Because of that I try to get out and meet people places but I just wind up cancelling on them 75% of the time because I'm too sick and/or weak to drive myself there, sit up and visit for an hour or more, and drive myself home. And, as I've discussed in multiple posts, the amount of help and support continues to dwindle. If it wasn't for my mom it would be pretty close to none at this point. The stupid thing is that I don't even want help with anything anymore. Would I appreciate it? Of course. But at this point in time I'd be happy with people coming over to visit with me for an hour or two, but that's a rarity. My own grandma doesn't even want to come over and spend time with me most of the time.
I don't know what I do to chase everyone away. Maybe it's a vicious cycle. Maybe people don't come over because I'm not happy. However, the fact that I hardly ever see anyone makes me unhappy. I thought I was a good enough actor to make people believe that I'm okay. At least enough to where people still enjoy hanging out with me. Maybe not.
Writing has been very therapeutic for me. Hence, the blog. Getting it all out there for others to see almost makes me feel as though I'm taking my problems off of my shoulders and letting them float away into the world. There's still a little bit inside of me that I have to deal with, but the majority of it is out there for everyone else to learn from and maybe even help me learn. However, I almost didn't even write this post. I have thought about it many times during the last month or more and every time I just didn't feel like it would help. In fact, I have even thought about how many times I have written about the same things... over and over again. Why do I keep writing about them? Because nothing's changed. Nothing gets better. It's just the same thing, day in and day out. I'm sick and I wish I had more people around. That is my life.
"The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for." - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
So, I continue on. I exist. I go through the motions of a life that I did not wish for... a life that makes me unhappy. I pretend to be happy. I pretend to be okay.... physically and mentally... while I'm not. That is my life... now and forever.