Thursday, January 23, 2014

the fear of being happy

so when you are me and you are in therapy for a while and you sit and you think about things, you realize some stuff that sucks.

this thing i am realizing, which i began to understand last year, but finally understand fully now is this:

i'm afraid to be happy.

and i'm afraid to admit it.

how completely messed up is that?

it takes everything in me to fight this fear back, to contain it, to keep it subdued and tell it that it won't be allowed to tell me how to live my life.

i think it stems mostly from the ptsd. the anxiety sure doesn't make it better.

it's like they get in my head together and make out sometimes. 
i swear.

for a while there, my life was crazy. like beyond insane. like there is no way that i could have made up the things that happened. like someday i will finally tell those stories and then a whole lot of the things that are wrong with me will start to make sense to other people.


during that time, i was just surviving. literally. getting from one day to the next day however i had to do it, hoping that something else wouldn't go wrong, knowing that it probably would, wondering what the hell was happening when it did.

the other shoe dropped so many times that every shoe store in a fifty mile radius was fresh out.

that many times. 

it was never just one thing either, never just one person, never just one situation. 

i was being hit with things from every direction almost constantly.

in between those attacks, though, there were these moments. flashes of time and space where nothing bad happened for a hot second and i remembered how to breathe again.

a few times in those moments, i found something to be happy about. something that was more than just my motivation to keep going. something that was just for me. something that i could tuck in my pocket and keep. something that eased my pain and soothed my soul and reminded me how great life could still be.

each time, back then, my pockets were turned out and whatever morsel of happy i thought i had tucked safely away was ripped from my grasp again. 

and so i learned to stop thinking it could be.

i learned to stop wanting to be happy.

i told myself that it would never last, it would never stay, that it would just hurt me all over again to have it and lose it, that it would just be better not to bother.

and so i did.

i stopped bothering. 

i told myself that whatever this was had to be enough because i couldn't live with the idea that there could be more and then it could be gone. i wasn't going to set myself up for failure and loss again. the anxiety took over and the ptsd layered on top. 

i could just not be happy.

i convinced myself.

if i just avoided it, if i didn't let it in, i couldn't lose it again.

i was wrong. 

i let the fear win, i let the anxiety and the ptsd control me.

i was afraid to be happy. i am still afraid to be happy. 

the difference between then and now is that i'm doing it anyway because life is short and i deserve the chance. 

it is a conscious choice every day, something that i have to wake up and decide. 

my default, at least right in this moment, would be to just stay in my hole of misery and wallow. as long as i stay down here, i might avoid the highs, but i would definitely avoid the fall again.

that's my default.

this is what it is like to be me.

my default would rather stay unhappy than risk happiness.

that's who i am now. 

i don't like default.

i don't like that this all has changed me.

i want to be happy.

i will be happy, even if it scares me, even if it terrifies me.

i can do this.

i will do this.

so forgive me in advance if it seems like i'm overcompensating.
i am overcompensating.
i have to.

now, if you'll excuse me...i have some happy to make.


  1. I was afraid of walking into my therapy appointment next week for PTSD and anxiety and with the things I have to tell her from my "exercise" she was going to think I was crazy... cause I to have a life filled with shit that you just can't make up...and reading this just let me know that i'm not crazy or alone <3 Namaste :)

  2. I've never tried to put how I feel into words because I thought it made no sense, and no one could possible understand, and who the hell rejects feeling happy anyway?? But you explained the things I feel, and showed me that it's not only me, and that it kind of does make a little sense. Thank you.

  3. I have this same fear. Even when I am happy I find myself thinking up reasons not to be. That's kind of how worrying works for me too and all of the what-if thoughts. Sometimes I just can't let myself be happy. I think it's scary because it's sort of new and also because of some weird superstition that if I let myself be happy it will be taken away. I'm letting go of that more and more, but it sure isn't happening over night.

    Thanks for writing this!

  4. You just put into words exactly how I feel. Thank you. I will save this and read it over and over.


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