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Thread: Happiness

  1. #1
    Moderator Obieone's Avatar
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    Question Happiness

    The thread in Life about being "happy" prompted me to start this thread .... its made me wonder .... will I ever really be completely happy again and is it even realistic for anyone .. AB or otherwise .. to expect to be.
    I have never believed that our purpose in life is to be in a constant sate of happiness or even to strive for that ...... that being said ..... I do wish and long for a real (by my own definition) genuine unencumbered feeling of being happy a little more often ! I think I can honestly say I haven't felt that since Bill was hurt 10 years ago.

    Example ..... this weekend 2 of my girls and my sis and I are going away for a couple of nights (Spring break ) to a little town across the border for some shopping, chillin' and fun ..... I'm excited and looking forward to it .... but ... as always whenever I plan something of this nature (which is rare) it is always tainted with that nagging feeling in the back of my mind ..... I'm leaving Bill behind ... yet again .... planning something that because he won't be along will be effortless and carefree .... yup me and my old friend .... demon guilt ..... and that doesn't just apply to this particular situation .... it follows me around on an almost daily basis ...... making me realize I don't think I've had that content guiltless happy feeling in a very long time .....

    On the other hand I have an appreciation for things I took totally for granted now in a way I never knew before and I know you all understand that and I've had moments of real joy (like when my kids make me unexpectedly proud, or I'm enjoying a great bottle of chardonnay on a beautiful warm prairie summer night .... yadda yadda) ..... so maybe (just like the song) ... that's all there is ... our lives dotted with random moments of "happiness" to be enjoyed briefly in the context of the life we are presently living and nothing more .... and that the mere act of contemplating what true happiness is and the longing for it ..... is a waste of precious time ......... what do you think ..... does striving to be happy give our life purpose ... is it why we are here ....

    Obieone
    I'm in a mood ..... its probably the weather .... its freaking snowing ... again ..... where the F is spring .....
    ~ Be the change you wish to see in the world ~ Mahatma Gandi


    " calling all Angels ...... calling all Angels ....walk me through this one .. don't leave me alone .... calling all Angels .... calling all Angels .... we're tryin' and we're hopin' cause we're not sure how ....... this .... goes ..."
    Jane Siberry

  2. #2
    I'm sorry about the snow and the guilt, but really excited to hear you're going away for fun! Did you feel guilty doing that back in the good ol' days? Because I'm the SCI, I've always traveled a lot w/out my hubby, but it STILL makes me feel guilty.

    Obie, you gotta live your life. You can't immolate yourself on the pyre of his SCI and I'm sure he doesn't want you to. I'd rather die than think I was requiring that of Steve or Jake.

    2 weeks ago I went to Santa Fe b/cuz my friend was having trouble. I felt guilty, knowing Steve and Jake would be fighting and eating fast food. (They were fine.) Last week, I took Jake to SF for some snowboarding for spring break. I pleaded with Steve to join us but he had too much to do, getting ready for a gokart race. I felt guilty for having fun while he was home alone. (He was fine.) When Jill and Jake and I were lolling in the hottub, drinking Godiva liqueur on the rocks, watching our old scuba videos and marveling at the stars, I felt bad Steve was missing it. But none of us get to enjoy all the fun times.

    Guilt is such an unproductive emotion.

    Make sure Bill is taken care of, then GO HAVE FUN. You'll be a better caretaker for having done so! When I deny myself my road trips, I get grouchy and resentful. Those are hardly the characteristics of an effective wife/mother, you know? Far better to go, then we have things to talk about and I'm glad to see them and talk to them.

    I think you're right, we get spots of happiness. I always doubt people that claim to be ecstatic all the time. I don't think anyone is, unless they're in a cult or something. We all have aggravations and troubles, and the older we are the more severe they are. In my 20's, I used to have a car that broke down. In my 40's, my dad is dying a slow painful death. It's unrealistic to think your mood won't be affected by life changes like that!

    The key is to maximize the number of the spots of happiness, but most especially to take note of them and to find joy in little things. It would be great to be in Paris for the springtime, but you don't have to be in Paris to have a wonderful spring. A little jaunt to the US of A can serve as well, if you do things you enjoy and take note while you're doing them. The company of daughters and sisters is not to be scoffed at. I envy you both. And I hope you all have a wonderful trip and Bill enjoys his solitude! (We SCI's can miss solitude a lot, when we have none.)

  3. #3
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    I feel the same way as you Obieone. I have never felt the same since Sean’s accident.

    I struggle with this a lot. I certainly have many things to be happy about, and I do feel happiness to a degree, but I don’t ever feel “joyful” and I did feel that way before the accident.

    There are always things that happen through life, ups and downs, things that stress you. I just don’t seem to handle those things as well ~ or bounce back like I used to. I think I’ve said it before, but it’s almost like a constant low-grade depression.

    We just became grandparents for the second time. We have a lovely new granddaughter, which certainly is something to be happy about. We are happy, and thankful that she is healthy. The truth is, that it also brought to the surface once again, the many things that Sean is now unable to do. It was very emotional for him. He wasn’t even able to go to the hospital to visit. Now, of course, we talked about all the things he will be able to do, and the wonderful relationship he has with our first granddaughter. The things they do together. But, in the background, and what’s unsaid, is the fact that he won’t be able to do the things that he would have done had he not had the accident.

    I am also planning a short get-away with a girlfriend. It’s great to have something to look forward to, and I know that I will enjoy it and have fun. The truth also is (my truth anyway) is that it takes a great amount of planning, and sometimes it takes so much effort to be able to go, that you wonder if it is worth it.

    I crave the things we used to do together as a couple. I’m so sad for Sean and what has happened to him. The things he struggles with on a daily basis, and the fact that I know that he is depressed, and worries about his family (parents are ill). That he can’t look after all of us like he would have if things were different.

    I know that something else could have struck us down. It could have been cancer, something could have happened to me, one of our kids ~ I know we’re not the only ones that struggle. It’s a real ying and yang for me. Trying to stay positive and seeing the bright side, but really deep down in my soul feeling like things really suck!!

  4. #4
    Junior Member irissorensen's Avatar
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    Me too

    I think that all of us, SCI and AB feel that nothing has been the same since ...

    I have been blessed with a buoyant personality, most of my life I have been considered a survivor with a smile. Not so now.

    Here we were, on the brink of a wonderful retirement .... Life can turn in a flash.

    Now, I cherish those moments when the grandchildren crawl up into bed with Hank. Our youngest g'daughter, Katie (5), likes to play sleeping beauty with Papa. He is the sleeping beauty, and Katie kisses him - POW his eyes open! They just giggle and giggle.

    Our oldest G'daughter, Sarah (16) likes to hang upside down on his hoyer lift... then she farts!!! We nearly burst laughing.

    Then, we have 3 G'sons - each one with their own special way of playing with Papa.

    Hank has been home from initial hospitalization for the past 20 months. He has been off the ventilator for the entire time. He is now back in the Tampa VA SCI/Vent Unit, since the first of March. He has a really bad ischial wound, and is on the vent again 24/7. They are in the process of weaning him again. March 29 is our 40th wedding anniversary. Sarah and I will be there with him. I will crawl into bed with him and kiss his ears and tickle his nose. We will talk about the past and we will talk about the future. We may cry, but we will certainly laugh.

    We have finanacial problems, I have some health issues myself, and with a C3-4 Quad, every day he is one breath away from the vent. We have 3 kids and they are all struggling. I am down in the dumps so often, feeling helpless and hopeless. I just struggle through those times.

    I don't think we are meant to be happy all the time. Good things happen to good people, but bad things happen to good people, too. And good things happen to bad people...

    I try to take it as it comes, and I try not to fight too hard against the current.

    God bless all of you out there. I don't post often, in fact just got back to reading these posts. I'm so glad you all are here.
    Iris Sorensen
    Caregiver/Spouse of
    Hank, C3-4 - Feb 2005

  5. #5
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    Obi,

    I am so glad you have a chance to go. Go and have fun! YOu have to look at the whole picture. I can't imagine that it would make anyone happier if you turned down the trip, and stayed home b/c of Bill. I would think it would make him feel sad and guilty that you missed the opportunity to go out with your friends b/c of him.

    I think the guilt thing would be there anyways. If Bill weren;t hurt, yet stayed home because he had to finish painting the garage, or had a cold, or watch the kids when they were little so you could go. You would feel guilty about the trip then too .....

    Being truely happy 24/7 365is pretty unrealistic. Like you said we need to grab the moments when we can. And I don't think it is necessarily b/c of the injury that happiness sometimes eludes us. If it weren't that, it would be something else. Look at people who are unhappy, because of (from our point of view) something really silly.

    Iris wrote about cherishing the little moments. I think she is right, we have to take happuiness when we can grab it.

    And I find it interesting that all the examples we have posted here deal with family. I think that is telling. SCI or not. I am still here. ANd my happiest moments always seem to involve them!
    T7-8 since Feb 2005

  6. #6
    In many ways, I think it is harder to be the person that loves one of us SCIs than it is to be us. Not in all ways, obvs, but in many.

    Irissorenson, I'm so sorry about your shitty upcoming anniversary. I have no platitudes or words of comfort, because that flat-out SUCKS. I'm sure plenty of the well-meaning tell you how lucky it is you still have him. And it is. But being at the hospital fighting the vent for your 40th is grossly unfair. I'd like t meet the farting 16-year old. She sounds delightfully un-self-conscious, for that age. Bless her soul for making y'all laugh, and bless y'all for giving her a loving place to be herself!

    shelley-Congrats on the new addition, what fun!
    Last edited by betheny; 03-27-2008 at 09:27 PM.

  7. #7
    Moderator Obieone's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words everyone ...... and welcome Iris .... sorry you had to find us but glad you did ! I always feel a little "happy" when a new member posts .. it can be a little scary and a pretty major step for some folks ... so use and abuse us at will!

    And yes sjean423 its true .... most of our happier moments do involve our near and dear ones ....... especially the fartier side of the family ....

    Obieone
    P.S. Our get away is probably a moot point now anyhoo ... there is a winter storm watch for tomorrow so .... whateva .... life just slays me somdays ....
    ~ Be the change you wish to see in the world ~ Mahatma Gandi


    " calling all Angels ...... calling all Angels ....walk me through this one .. don't leave me alone .... calling all Angels .... calling all Angels .... we're tryin' and we're hopin' cause we're not sure how ....... this .... goes ..."
    Jane Siberry

  8. #8
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    Yikes!!!

    And I was feeling sorry for myself this past week! Don had surgery on a broken tibia. I had the stomach flu... Am still in bed but after reading this, I'm getting out of bed and getting cracking! Don (my hubby) sure doesn't waste time feeling sorry for himself and he went bowling this morning.

    You guys are incredible. Spring is coming here in Denver...maybe a couple more snows but then it's yard time again...this from a woman who had no clue about grass mowing, or planting gardens... I can't wait to get out there.

    And another thing.... Obie.... you have motivated me to go visit my sis in New York...I'm going to line up some care and I'm out of here! Don has been bugging me to do it so there it is!

    Thanks everyone!

    Love, Sieg

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by betheny
    In many ways, I think it is harder to be the person that loves one of us SCIs than it is to be us.
    Indeed. I almost always find it easier to be the patient than to be the one worrying over a loved one and my family has expressed the same sentiment. When you're the one with the illness or chronic condition, you know that you're managing it, but when you see a loved one struggling or in pain, you can't help but want to reach out to them. Not being able to help or to "fix it" for them can leave you with a constant ache.

    One thing I'm wondering after reading this thread though is if it's different for spouses who were with their partners before they acquired a disability than it is for those who met their partners after they already had a handicap. When you marry someone, you likely have certain expectations, goals and desires for your lives together. When your mate is subsequently injured, all that can change. However, if you enter into a relationship with someone who already has a disability, then your expectations, goals and desires are likely to take that into account. Not that you don't still feel for your partner when they are in pain, but the overall view of your lives together may have a different feel. There isn't the sense of loss that comes with living through the transition of becoming handicapped.

    C.
    Last edited by Tiger Racing; 03-29-2008 at 05:54 PM.

  10. #10
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    Yes C.... So true.

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