When I was first diagnosed with GAD, I was absolutely reluctant to get treatment. I did my research – and by that I mean – I googled it, and I knew there were option two options.
Option 1: Talk about my sexual abuse and PTSD, in order to find ways to cope.
Option 2: Get on pills.
Honestly y’all, neither seemed like a viable option. However, you know what was – tree. It was so much easier and socially acceptable to be a stoner than it was to admit that I needed treatment.
Fast forward into the future, and I decided to get treatment. Oddly enough, talking about it with a social worker didn’t help. So, I went with Option 2. I am maybe 4 months in, maybe longer or shorter, and I feel great.
It does suck to have to pop pills everyday, but that’s a small price to pay for all that I’ve gained. To not have random panic attacks, days of not wanting to do anything, days of being overwhelmed while doing absolutely nothing. So many days lost feeling like shit. I told my partner that I didn’t feel like myself for almost 6 months. 6 months of me walking into the world, and interacting with people acting like I was okay. 6 months of me feeling like I was silently drowning in thoughts.
Nonetheless, those are days I can’t get back, BUT being on treatment, I feel like myself. I feel like this is a good thing, even if it took modern medication to get me here.
Yes, you read that headline correctly, I have no intentions of completing my masters, and you know what? That’s 100% okay.
Ever since I’ve been diagnosed with GAD, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching. And I’ve realized something. Adults always ask us the same thing, “What do you want to be when you get older?” A question that I’ve been asked repeatedly.
To be honest, I never really gave it too much thought because honestly I never pictured myself growing up. I NEVER pictured myself getting old having a career, etc. It’s just not something that came to mind. While my friends around me were picturing their futures, I was just living. Living – but not expecting much from the future.
So when time passed me by, and that question kept ringing in my head “What do you want to do when you get older?” I figured – I’m good at school, I like tutoring, and I like learning. Why not be a teacher? That was it. I was like a dog with a bone. I had planted the seed, and I grew a tree from it.
I applied to Concurrent Education Programs, got in, and started to follow “my dream.” The thing is, once I finished my undergraduate degree, I had to decide if I still wanted to become a teacher. Honestly, I didn’t. Not in the traditional sense. I didn’t want to teach middle school or high school. I taught in a middle school and absolutely hated it, so I figured I would purse high school.
However, just like that, another seed was planted. I heard myself saying “I still want to teach, but why teach high school? Aim higher, be a professor!” Then, I was on another dream. I applied to masters programs, got in, and started to follow “my dream” to Nova Scotia.
Now, the one thing I don’t tell people is that I hated it. I liked being away. I liked being in Nova Scotia. I liked my courses. I liked teaching. But I HATED writing my thesis. I threw myself into it because I knew I applied for it, and it was necessary that I completed it. But I never did.
I spent the last couple of months telling people what they wanted to hear.
“I’m going to finish it.” “I haven’t had the time to complete it.” “It’s going to be done by the end of the summer.”
I’ve been telling everyone what they wanted to hear, but I haven’t been able to admit the truth – I have no intentions of completing my thesis – not now anyway. For so long, I did what I thought I had to do. I did what was expected of me, and now I want to do what I want to do. Right now, I don’t want to spend time writing something that makes me miserable. I’m happy that I was able to gain that experience. I’m happy that I was able to finish my course, yes, my thesis is the only thing that is left. Maybe I’m dumb for not finishing it, but I do know one thing – I’m happier knowing that I don’t have to complete it till I’m ready.
Let me just say, I’m not ready yet! No one better @ me about this. It is what it is. I’m speaking my truth.
There is one thing that has stuck with me since attending therapy – the importance of small moments of happiness, small moments of joy. One of my favorite quotes is:
Happiness is a mood not a destination. – One Tree Hill
Generally, people equate happiness with a specific destination. For instance, when I finish my thesis, I’ll be happy. Once I get that job, I’ll be happy. When I’m making 100K, I’ll be happy. Happiness is usually a specific idea of what we can or will accomplish in the future. The issue with looking at happiness as a destination is that we get lost in the journey. We become so focused on the goal/idea that life passes us by – an uphill hike to discover what will bring us joy.
It’s important to remember that life and happiness is a mood. It is something that everyone can feel if they allow themselves too. Happiness is a state of mind, a fleeting and temporary emotion. Nonetheless, it’s an emotion that we all crave and yearn to feel. Create opportunities for happiness, instead of picturing happiness as a destination.
Making myself happy is one of the most thoughtful things I can do for myself. I can remember my therapist asking “What brings you joy?” The first thing that popped into my head was “French Vanillas.” To this day, that answer remains true. When I’m having a bad day, I march down to Tim Horton’s and buy myself a medium French Vanilla, and it instantly puts a smile on my face. As does a lunch date with a good friend, reading a book, journaling, and watching a good tv-show. Find your small moment of happiness, appreciate them and incorporate them into your life where you can.
Happiness is a mood, not a destination.