Posted in Comedy, Tragedy and What the F...?

Happily Ever Whatever

Basically, we all tell the same stories. The characters and the settings may be different, but the stories are the same. We long for certain stories and certain endings with our whole lives. One of the endings that I long for is the “ride off into the sunset” ending where everyone lives happily ever after. The story that I am in now has harsh, jagged edges. If you have read my “About” page, you know that I suffer from a lack of courage sometimes—what a psychologist would call “dysthymia.” It usually comes in the middle of the night, when I am sleeping soundly and I don’t know about it until morning when I wake up with what feels like someone sitting on my chest ready to strangle me.

Fear is an old and unwelcome friend that seems to find a way to seep under locked doors like yellow smoke, wrapping its self around me. Though I cannot explain the how and why of such events in my life, I have learned to live with it. This morning, I got out of bed, feeling the physical symptoms of the dysthymia and I did deep belly breathing for ten minutes. I am doing that even as I sit here writing. Writing is another tool. Giving voice to the demons seems to make them less, and gives me some small sense of power: I am not a victim.

When I get like this I wonder if the rest of the world has it all figured out and I have somehow missed the bus. I feel guilty for the challenges life throws me and embarrassed by its sorrows. Now, I know this is temporary because I have lived with the on again off again condition for all of my adult life. I have read way too many self-help books; attended enough process groups to be equal to the processing of a Velveeta Cheese block, and prayed myself to sleep in hopes that the fear and sorrow would leave me. Still, even this morning, I don’t feel like a victim, I just feel uncomfortable, and I know I have tools.

In my musings about these states, I wonder about the guy who works hard all day and goes home and takes a hit off of a joint to take the edge off of the day. Does he have demons too, albeit un-named? Or the woman who pours the third glass of wine alone in her kitchen…is she lost in sorrow too? I think we have given psychology way too much credibility over such things. Is it possible that the sorrows and fears of being human are just part of being human and don’t really deserve a diagnosis? Does having a diagnosis make things worse?

So, I will make another cup of tea, take a walk with the dog, keep breathing deeply and know that as the day wears on, the physical symptoms will fade and my mind will be on other things. I would love happily ever after in a life with out challenges. It seems like such a friendly place. I just don’t think I would be willing to give up the textures of the shadow that in a strange sort of way make my life rich, interesting and creative.



Novelist, essayist, blogger, wife, dog-mommy, dancer, dreamer, grateful.

22 thoughts on “Happily Ever Whatever

  1. thank you for your bravery and honesty in sharing this. it takes a lot of courage to open up like this and i appreciate you for that.
    here’s what i believe – i have to say, i do feel that we ALL suffer from this “condition” – it’s called being a soul harnessing a spirit in a human body. i’m not trying to belittle your situation, but i do feel we all share some form of this pain… but we also share a lot more and it’s a beautiful thing if we can but open up to it…
    me?! i AM that woman who has poured her third glass all alone, i AM that other human who has suffered from crippling fear from time to time. i AM your mirror. you are not alone. you don’t have to give this “darkness” power, but you CAN talk about it, just as you have – and open up to it, shine light on it, and ultimately release it! and i find that allows you to relate to your fellow humans, which i believe deep down is what we are lacking right now. we are so utterly disconnected with LIFE, in all its ebb and flow… we NEED each other and only in baring your soul, and owning your truth like this, can we truly connect. thank you. love to you!

  2. As long as you’re human, fear is going to manifest, in some odd way or another, like a crazy, messed up jack-in-the-box clown that keeps popping up where it doesn’t belong. Sometimes labeling that fear only complicates the situation. When it comes down to it, we are all a bunch of scaredy cats:).

  3. Do you know, I think that little shadow that follows us around and makes us jump, is always going to be there. Possibly more with us, ‘creative types’. I’m generalizing, of course, but I’m finding more and more, I can’t write about happily ever after, it’s just not real, not completely anyway…but it’s not a bad thing, like you say, it’s a part of you, this shadow, and you know what they say about shadows? They’re cast by light and give shape to the object standing in the way. Check out my blog if you can, you’ll see what I mean about not being able to write happily ever after: This dark is in all of us, yours is just manifesting itself physically.

      1. Thank you…your writing is simply beautiful…just read the doorways one and was blown away! Yours is onebif my favourites now, and not just for the follow 😉

  4. You can be certain that the rest of the world doesn’t have it figured out – probably less so than you. Most don’t have the courage to admit that their lives are much more a mess than they let on. Just keep walking . . . there’s more sun than clouds ahead. Peace . . .

  5. “Does having a diagnosis make things worse?”

    There were some Israeli studies done after 9/11 showing that those people who did not go through therapy survived with far less trauma than those who did. I believe there are similar British studies showing that the traditional British reserve, repressing uncomfortable feelings also works to reduce overall anxiety compared to some types of therapy.

  6. Hey Stephanie. I like that you realize that the imagination of the mind is just that. And that breathing brings our attention out of the mind and into our hearts, where the Presence of the Garden that we live in can begin to be attended to. ;>)

  7. Stephanie – Terrific subject. I’ve often thought – if someone hangs a diagnosis on me, it doesn’t seem fair. I don’t want to have to live up to what that diagnosis outlines for me.

  8. You are definitely one of my 5 favourite bloggers. Love this post. I also gave up therapy some time back and the antidepressants. Didn’t need them it seems! Connect with other bloggers instead 🙂

    1. It’s a delight to be in someone’s top 5! Thanks. I’m with you…sometimes I feel like blogging is a little life line to the “connection” you speak of…and connection is indicative of good mental health! Hugs and love to you!

  9. I use to have a similar pain and I think you are very right in saying that it is fear that gives this pain. I had no reason to fear after reading my now favorite book “The Power of the Now” this is all I can say.

  10. What is life without fear, pain, and suffering? Being aware of its presence in your life is the first step to ensuring we don’t give it all consuming, overwhelming power. There is beauty in the breakdown, this I do believe and has yet to prove me wrong. xo

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