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February 2011
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Erin [userpic]
On Happiness and the New Year

I'm going to expand a bit on a facebook update I made earlier. For many, many years, I struggled with mental illness; I was never satisfied with my life, and I always felt like I could do more, but for one reason or another, I didn't, I couldn't, do what I needed to in order to get better.

Early this year, a change started to come over me. I decided that I would go back to school, and get the degree that I wanted; that I would make more of an effort to treat myself better, and that I would figure out, prioritize, and work towards what I needed to be happy. I thought I wouldn't see any improvements until I actually achieved what I wanted, but within weeks, I was feeling better.

In late spring, I was assessed over an extended period of time by a psychologist at my request, and told that I no longer meet the qualifications for bipolar disorder, or even depression. I was, in a few words, now among the ranks of the "sane". I had overcome something that most medical professionals said could not be overcome, and that created a sense of being capable of anything.

Over the course of the year, I was able to reconnect with old friends (Jo!), make new ones (Kate! and a few others), and travel more than I ever have in a year, going all over the Northeast and even up to Canada a few times! I rediscovered a love of driving and the independence that it gives me, and became more comfortable behind the wheel in all types of weather than most veteran drivers are. I've learned to look in the mirror and love what I see, and the joy of looking nice for work, an outing or even a trip to the store. I've also rediscovered my love of karaoke, and found a new love of fine wine. I've also discovered that a ton of fun can be had without relying on getting absolutely shitty, and that sometimes the best moments in life are those we experience with perfect clarity. I've become confident and secure in a way that's allowed me to bloom beyond anything I ever expected for myself.

I'm not where I want to be yet, and it's still going to be a journey to get there. But I have something now that is more important than anything else: hope. I can honestly say for the first time in my life that I've been happy for a while, and that I can maintain that with relative ease from here on in, as long as l keep my head up, and faith in myself.

So based on these assessments, I've come up with the New Years resolutions: 1) Keep doing what I'm doing. 2) Continue to assess areas of my life that can be improved. 3) Improve them. 4) Enjoy the year, and travel more!


Go you! Sounds like you've overcome more than most people do in their entire lifetimes. I think you're on a good path.