Happiness is a feeling, and what a fleeting feeling it is!
It comes and goes, and when it comes, I breathe it in like I breathe in the fresh air. When it goes, I feel claustrophobic, like the air was sucked out of the room and there is a brick on my chest.
Despite my pursuit of happiness, it comes when I least expect it. Like when I’m standing at dawn about to pray, and I look around me and feel so blessed, or when I’m watching Gilmore Girls and I feel grateful that at least I got it together more than Rory and Loralei, or when I’m in nature or with my family or playing a board game with my son.
I can touch happiness when I’m hugging my son.
I can taste happiness in ice cream and chocolate.
I can see happiness in the sunset.
I can hear happiness in the waves of the sea.
My life is as it was 2 days ago, but then I wasn’t feeling so happy, and now I am.
Happiness and overthinking are counterintuitive. If I think too hard, I remember all the things not going my way, and suddenly the spasms in my neck and shoulders are back, and a migraine is coming along.
Happiness is a pure feeling, tainted by jealousy, insecurity, fear, and resentment.
Sadness holds happiness’s hand sometimes, to remind her how fortunate she is, when she tells her stories of poverty, war and injustice. Happiness becomes bittersweet and decides to pray for the less fortunate and give charity when she can.
It makes no sense to drown in sadness because of what is happening in the world, nor is it right to walk around oblivious to the pain of our fellow humans.
We all have our pain to deal with. Happiness doesn’t come in the absence of pain. It comes despite the pain, and for pockets of time, happiness makes us forget how annoying our spouse is or how messed up our government is, or how sad our family situation is.
Happiness reminds us to be in the moment, to be content with what we have, to not worry about the future, to not get hung up on the past.
When people ask me how I am, it’s hard to explain, because the moment I stop to think about it, I feel I may go insane, so when I feel happy, I breathe it all in.
Do you feel happy for long periods? Does it last for days, hours, minutes, moments? Do you seek happiness or stumble upon it?
On March 2nd 2020, I published my 1st book on Amazon. My publishing journey has been a whirlwind since I decided to publish in October 2019. Once I decided to actually try to sell my poems because all my friends said “you should sell your poems”, the Lebanese revolution began a few days later and my hopes to publish in Lebanon went up in flames. A few months later, I remembered an instagram friend advised me to publish on Amazon a year before because she wrote a parenting book on Amazon for free! I said why not.
By the time I gathered my poems from 2015 and edited my manuscript twice, found a bank I could use, I finally took the leap and published.
I was then hit with another roadblock, how to market my book. I can tell you so far that all my half hearted attempts have been futile, since I’ve been stuck at home with a husband and a 5 year old boy and consistency is not my strong suit and I have developed a love for binge watching tv shows and watching tv during this pandemic and depression hit me more than once during these 10 months since the initial lockdown and the situation in Lebanon has gotten worse day by day, so here is yet another attempt. I won’t try to market all 7 books at once.
Let’s start with my 1st book
Motherhood in poems : Healing from PPD
Why did I choose this book?
Nobody gives you a course in motherhood before you get married. You watch a lot of romantic movies, dream of the perfect man who will sweep you off your feet so you’ll live happily ever after, and you see the babies in the pampers ads look so cute you get baby fever, and next thing you know, pregnancy does not make you glow and the doctor is handing you a baby and explaining about all the ways you need to nurture him physically and emotionally and you’re like “huh?” and the doctor literally says “you didn’t think you were just going to feed him and change his diapers, right?” and you go *internal screaming* and not even the doctor explains ppd to you.
It took me a year to realize I had ppd (post partum depression) because I was crying all the time, feeling overwhelmed and despite the help I got from my mom and in laws, most of the work was on me and I was expected to devote myself to my child while holding a household and adhering to society’s standards of perfection and blending with my traditional in laws and getting to know my husband while feeling so utterly alone and if I even thought of complaining about anything (not just the baby stuff) I was hit with “why can’t you just appreciate motherhood? It’s such a blessing”
It wasn’t until I read Chrissy Taegan had ppd that I looked it up and resonated with it and started to heal myself. The poems I wrote during this year were therapeutic, and they pulled me out of this depression, and I hope that they will do the same for you.
This brings me to my next question. Who is my audience?
Mothers, especially those with newborns or pregnant or even people who want to become mothers (in case you want to reconsider before it’s too late). I want to give insight on what it’s like to have ppd and about how to get over it. My target audience was worldwide, but I found out kindle isn’t available in any of the Arabian countries, especially not in the Middle East. Also the paperback version is half the time not available in Lebanon and the other half has 50$ shipment fee. Besides the fact that the dollar vs lira value has plummeted and my 12$ book now costs a fortune in Lebanese liras, not to meantion the added 50$ shipment fee. So as much as I would love to sell to my lebanese followers and friends, my target audience are Americans, Canadians, Austrialians, UK and maybe one day European countries if I even get that popular.
Let me walk you through my book. I categorized it, as you know I love to be organized, by topic.
Part 1 is about negative encounters. You know when you have a conversation with someone and you just want to punch them in the face? That kind of encounter.
Part 2 is about depression. Obviously, this is a book about healing from depression, so I must put poems that describe how I felt. Don’t worry though, it gets lighter.
Part 3 is about anxiety. My blog is basically about mothering with anxiety. I’ve had anxiety since I was 20, or at least that’s when I was able to label it as anxiety. And to become a mother while already having anxiety is no easy task.
Part 4 is about love. It’s mainly about my relationship with my husband and how my love for him held me together, even though he didn’t really help with my depression because he didn’t understand why I was lashing out and crying, but nevertheless, he tried his best to support me as a husband should. The fact that I could stay home and didn’t have to work was a bonus, but I do wish he understood my need to go out and about more. In his defense, our son was born with a weak immunity and was very fragile for the 1st 6 months of his life.
Part 5 is about motherhood, or at least the positive aspects of it. The love, the care, what it feels like to be a mother, anxiety and depression aside. It truly is a blesding, but I guess they should write “may cause ppd and beware if you already have anxiety” in the fineprint.
Part 6 is about optimism. I had to start developing a positive mindset in order to get through my depression and function as a mother and as a human. Optimism is key but it’s not easy to reach.
Part 7 is about friendship. Wherever you are in life, you need a support system. You need friends you can vent to who will validate your feelings, give you advice and make you feel loved, and I’m glad I had friends like that by my side, even though most of them are in different countries, but they are just one text away.
Part 8 is about prayer. Without my faith, I wouldn’t have been able to make it out of that long dark tunnel I was in. I’m grateful that I was able to see the light and prayer helped me develop patience and perseverance.
I hope you enjoyed my walkthrough of this book. If you want to, you can order it as paperback for 12$ here and starting December 3rd for just 10$ as kindle ebook here (it’s currently enrolled in kdp select which means if you have kindle unlimited you can read it for free with your 10$ per month subscription and I get payed for the amount of pages you read).
If you want some snippets from this book, go to my author instagram page here and check out my latest posts.
A friend of mine asked me yesterday “how is not venting going?” and at 1st I thought to myself “I don’t know” but then I started realizing that it’s not going well.
With not venting, my loved ones have no idea what’s on my mind, and then when I get mad at them for not being considerate, I realize that they have no idea what I’m going through because I didn’t say. This is besides the fact that I’m not sleeping well, I have migraines all day, I’m edgy all the time. My ears are ringing, I started getting pain in my legs and my back, my shoulders are tense, I’m spending 7 to 9 hours on my phone a day, and the negative thoughts swimming in my brain are not being challenged because they’re not being vocalized.
I feel more communication problems arise, more resentment and exhaustion. And as my exhaustion increases, I feel that my presence is not that important anymore. I can imagine them fine without me, and it terrifies me because I don’t feel irreplaceable anymore.
I try to vocalize my fears but I don’t see any willingness to listen. Why would they subject themselves to my negative thoughts again? They have been freed of this burden. They have peace of mind, while my thoughts eat at my mind and body and suck the energy from my soul.
I was supposed to write a blog about Aya Sofia today, but my migraine has got me keeping my phone at a distance, so it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.
I just wanted to write that I will go back to venting because it is how I process my emotions. Sometimes I will vent to my husband, like I did just now and he reassured that I am not replaceable. Sometimes I will vent to a close friend, or to my sister like I did on Saturday. Sometimes I will vent on the blog. Sometimes I will vent through poetry. It depends on my mood, energy levels and what I’m venting about.
I think it’s safe to say we are all struggling with our mental health in these circumstances, and I want you know you are not alone. If you need to vent, I am here. If you need validation or advice, please let me know. Any blog topics you would like me to discuss, let me know in the comments.
To defer to a classic idiom: It’s a day to wear our heart on our sleeve. We use the phrase casually, to mean exposing our true emotions, making ourselves vulnerable and letting it all hang out. We all want others to see us happy, partly because society is unacceptive of mood swings, associates them with craziness, and partly because we want to spite our enemies. But we aren’t happy all the time, are we? Some people have a negative mindset and find the problem in every solution, and some have a positive mindset and find a solution to every problem. That’s not what this post is about. This post is about vulnerability and expressing emotions. Do you wear your heart on your sleeve? Or are you more gaurded and secretive?
Contrary to popular belief, wearing your heart on your sleeve is actually a good thing. Many think wearing your heart on your sleeve is dangerous, risky and most importantly, the easiest way to put your most vital organ in jeopardy of getting severely injured. That is true, if you open up to the wrong people. Some people can fool you. They can appear to be kind and benign and so friendly. Some people have that magnetism where theyare really good listeners and they know how to get you to open up. Then once they get to know you, out of curiosity for the mystery that is you, they either leave you hanging or sell your secrets, or they just ghost you. You served their purpose. They were curious about you and then you gave them what they needed and they move on to their next victim. Some people will only talk to you when they’re bored, to try to find out what’s going on in your life. Some people only talk to you when they are feeling down, try to find out your problems and the drama going on in your life so that they feel better about their own lives. I’ve dealt with all kinds of people, enough to want to isolate myself and never open up again, so I open up on the blog instead. Ironic.
Wearing your heart on your sleeve shows courage. Anyone who says that wearing your heart on your sleeve is a sign of weakness is likely to be someone who has a fear of expressing their emotions — even to those they hold near and dear. The thing is, many people don’t know why they do the things they do. They live on autopilot, unaware of the damage they leave in their wake. I’m too aware, of the damage I do and the damage done to me, it gets too much sometimes. Which is why I decided not to open up as much anymore. It’s not working though. Basically I’m avoiding the people I don’t want to open up to entirely. I feel unable to hold a basic how are you conversation while keeping it light. I can’t tell a story without going into too much detail. As a result, I either bore the listening ear or reveal too much or say the wrong thing.
You wear your heart on your sleeve, which means your emotions come deeply and quickly, leading to possible last-minute decisions based on your feelings. You allow your heart to guide you through life, which means you don’t think much about your choices – you just allow life to happen and respond to it. That’s pretty much the root of all my problems. Feeling everything so deeply is both a blessing and a curse. It helps me process my feelings and work on self improvement, but it exhausts me both physically and mentally. Hopefully it makes me more emotionally intelligent.
In order to hide my true feelings from the certain people I don’t want to open up to, without ghosting them, I will try these tactics I found on Google :
1. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth. ‘This is an exercise used by audiologists and speech pathologists to relax, and it’s also a yoga exercise used to center and calm. ” 2. Watch where you’re leaning. 3. Relax your mouth.
Sounds like mumbo jumbo but I have nothing to lose, right?
It’s confusing when you don’t know why you feel the way you feel. It’s easy to blame your feelings on the world, on the circumstances, on other people. But we’re adults now. It’s our responsibility to self regulate, to process our own emotions and take responsibility for our feelings. So it’s up to you. You can say “he makes me angry” or “i need to create healthy boundaries with him”.
We all have been subjected to things that have traumatized us, as children or as adults, and it’s hard to just forget. We could be doing fine and then suddenly get triggered by a word and fall apart. Healing isn’t linear. So what’s the cure? Find healthy coping mechanisms. Replace emotional eating with walking. Replace binge watching tv shows with reading. Find what works as medicine for you, and do it. Incirporate it into your routine. There is no magic wand that will make all your trauma disappear. Trauma lives in the body, in the subconscious. You just need to acknowledge that you’ve been traumatized and that you’re in the process of healing.
You may think things like “How can they feel lonely when they have an amazing family?” or “I’m their friend. How can they feel lonely when I’m in their life?”
The truth is, loneliness can creep up on you even while you are surrounded by people. There is a difference between solitude and loneliness. Just like not all who wander are lost, not all who prefer solitude are lonely.
How can you know if someone is lonely?
They spend a lot of time alone.
They are unproductive.
They get stuck on the negatives.
They seem to be sick or ill frequently.
They seem overly attached to their possessions or hobbies.
Sometimes loneliness can be a symptom of something else going on in our lives, like illness or disability. Mental illnesses can cause us to feel lonely.
A nationwide survey led by The University of Manchester and BBC Radio 4 has found that 16-24 year olds experience loneliness more often and more intensely than any other age group.
Loneliness doesn’t only affect our mental wellbeing, though. It can cause an increase in cortisol, which can “impair cognitive performance, compromise the immune system, and increase your risk for vascular problems, inflammation and heart disease,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.
What if you know someone who is lonely?
How can you help?
Let your friend or family member know that you are thinking about them. Send them a message, call them on the phone, or go for a visit.
Let them talk and vent. We’re often compelled to give someone advice when they are hurting, but sometimes we just need to be quiet and listen.
Give them a hug. Loneliness makes you feel unworthy, unloved. If your friend or family member is unable to give themselves the love they need, remind them with this simple gesture that you care (of course with corona virus on the loose, you can’t do this but you can send virtual hugs as gifs in the meantime)
Take them out. Let them feel special. Again, with COVID-19 this can be difficult. So maybe send a delivery service to their house, then call them up and eat together on video call if you can.
Play. A game of bowling or air hockey makes a difference. Even just a board game. Whatever your thing is, even if it’s just a game on your phone.
Ask what they need. Loneliness makes you feel like a burden, which is why lonely people isolate. If they’re too shy to ask for something, offer your help and let them know you are there when they need it.
We all feel lonely sometimes. Remember, you are loved. You are important. This too shall pass.