Joy is defined as an “emotion of great delight or happiness.” And it was missing from my life. Actually, for a lot longer than I’d like to admit. I’ll never forget the moment I realized it was gone. It was months ago at a concert with my best friend. We were watching our favorite band perform and at the end of the show I felt completely overwhelmed. In that exact moment, I couldn’t help but burst into tears. I felt something I hadn’t felt in such a long time—pure joy.
In a world as chaotic as ours, I know that my life is a blessing. The people I allow in my world are truly beautiful. And I am given so much to be grateful for. But, it seems my anxiety and depression had robbed me of the one thing I didn’t even know I was missing.
I was going through the motions of life without those authentic moments of joy. A laugh was never hard enough, my smile was never wide enough, and the feeling of happiness was never complete enough. I literally did all of those things in a way that wasn’t true to who I am.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get darker, it did. It felt like I was falling down my very own rabbit hole. My friends and family didn’t notice, because apparently I’m functioning and great at hiding it. But, I noticed it and so did my husband. I called my doctor and immediately went to work on feeling better and healing my soul. My recent trip to Maine was part of that healing.
Now, weeks later I’m happy to report, the other day I laughed uncontrollably while watching a television commercial. Yes, I know that sounds weird. But it was one of those laughs that startled me! It was so loud and came from deep inside of me. I realized that in this moment, I’m rediscovering the pure joy I thought I had lost. And maybe it wasn’t lost at all. It was just buried underneath it all.
I’m even starting to notice the little things that gave me so much joy before. Like a child’s laugh, the smell of rain, another person’s smile, the warmth of the sun on a cold day, and watching a loved one’s eyes light up—just to name a few. These are reminders that I am a work in progress.
I want you to know that this post sat in the drafts section for a while. I really wasn’t sure when I was going to be ready to share. Or if anyone would care. Isn’t that how it always is? I’m over here wondering if my problems are big enough to matter.
In case you’re wondering, they matter. I matter. And so do you. There are a million-and-one reasons it could be missing from your world. If it is, I hope you rediscover it. We all deserve joy in our lives. Remember, please do not be embarrassed or afraid to ask for help.
Disclosure: I am not a doctor or a medical professional. I do understand that everyone’s level of anxiety or mental health is different. I’m explaining my situation, symptoms, and what works for me. Please see your doctor ASAP for medical advice and help. Click here.