Topic Tuesday: Joy

“Joy” (By: Lindsey Love)

As I drove down Hillsboro Road, I felt the sun’s warmth on my skin while the wind blew gently on my face. My speakers were singing an Ed Sheeran tune and I was tweaking my duet performance. I saw pastures of vibrant, green grass and yellow wild flowers. Next, I felt my brain release those “feel good” chemicals as joy washed over me.

Joy. Is that word foreign to you? Has your eating disorder robbed you of your joy? Has depression sucked every bit of joy out of you like a siphon to a gas tank? Are you feeling hopeless and joy is just a three-letter word that only the “lucky ones” get to experience?

If any of the above are true for you, I hear you. I have been there myself and I know it can feel like it’s impossible to be happy again. I am living proof that it is possible and also that it is not completely out of your control (even though it feels that way sometimes).  As I felt that joy wash over me in my car, it reminded me of all that I have done to change my situation and to make myself happier. I don’t want to minimize the effects of depression or trauma—they deserve to be attended to with care. However, I believe that we can do that AND actively pursue things that make us happy.

For me, things started to shift when I realized I had a choice. I had to choose whether I was going to do things that perpetuate the cycle of depression and eating disordered behaviors or do things that slowly return my happiness. It wasn’t an overnight change, but one I worked on over many years. Instead of continuing to wish I was a writer, I decided to start writing again. Writing is something I have enjoyed since childhood and stopped doing because of my “stinkin thinkin” that told me I was no good. Now, it’s a useful tool for my recovery and something I use to help others. Another important change I made was with my relationships. Close connections with other women are like medicine for my soul, so I chose to make that a priority. I am so lucky to have a handful of women that I get to do life with and that really know me. These may sound like mole hills, but for me they were mountains. Depression really had its grip on me and made me think I couldn’t do anything. I’m so glad I took one small step and then another because now I get to benefit from these positive changes.

My challenge to you is to think of something that makes you really happy. It can be as small or as big as you want it to be. Think back to when you were a kid before life had taken its toll on you. What would you have done for fun? Who do you like to spend time with? Now, could you take one small step and invest in your own happiness? You are worth it. You deserve to be happy. You have a choice. Choose JOY!

About the Author

Lindsey is a Jesus loving wife and momma. In her free time, she likes to write, read, listen to music, be outdoors and spend time with friends and family. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and was previously an ICU nurse at St. Thomas hospital. She is currently enjoying being a full-time mommy and is waiting to see where the Light guides her next. She hopes her writing will encourage others in their recovery journey.