Monday, March 21, 2016

On the fear of losing happiness

I've noticed a disturbing trend in my life lately...things as they exist in real life are calm and peaceful for the most part. Life is good. I really have very little to complain about these days. Despite that, my head is still sometimes a warzone. It's like I'm afraid to allow myself to feel the happiness and peace that is actually in my life now, and that I've worked so hard for.

Here's an example of where my brain goes, in any given moment that is calm or happy:

I'm laying on the couch with my boyfriend, cuddling, watching tv. I begin to feel happy and grateful for the moment, because it feels so nice, and I feel so safe and loved. Then I have a flashback to me doing the same thing with my ex-husband, and feeling the same way in that moment. "Oh wait, I used to do this with my ex-husband too...I felt safe and loved then too...but he didn't love me...he never loved me...none of that was ever was real to me, but it wasn't real to do I know that this is real? What if he doesn't love me, either? What if I'm the only one in love? This might not be real...he might not love me...Oh God, what if he doesn't love me back? What if he loves someone else instead? I'm going to get hurt again. I can't get hurt again. I can't go through that again. I should just end it...I shouldn't be with anyone..."

And this happens usually multiple times per day, because things are actually pretty good, until my brain convinces me that they might not be what they seem. Pretty fucked up, eh?

The worst part is that I KNOW this is no way to live. I know I'm literally denying myself the happiness I should be feeling right now. I think that happiness can only ever exist in the present moment, and the second I start to feel it, I push it away, because I'm too afraid of losing it again. It's basically the definition of self-sabotage. I feel like everything I think I know is going to come crashing down around me again, and I want to be somehow prepared for it this time, as if knowing in advance what will happen will make it hurt less. I've convinced myself that if only I can predict it, I'll be protected.

The truth is, even if I can predict it, it will still hurt. I predicted it with my ex-husband. It still devastated me when I got confirmation that my gut was right. No amount of protection could have helped, and I guess when it's all said and done, I can look back and know that at least for a bit, in the moments, I was truly happy with him, even if it wasn't "real" and wasn't what I thought it was. It's true that ignorance is bliss.

The only solution I can think of is to try and stay in the moment and appreciate the little moments of happiness, exactly as-is. In fact, I think that being "happy" is just having enough of a collection built up of the small, quiet, calm, content moments. Maybe that's the best any of us can ever get, and the truly lucky among us are just able to be in them and appreciate them while they happen instead of living in the past by looking back on them or chasing happiness by hoping they'll happen again in the future.

I'm not used to having these walls up. And what I'm realizing is that to live in fear of losing happiness is probably actually worse than being depressed or sad. At least with those emotions, I was IN them. I felt them. I knew exactly what they were and could draw you a map around them. But this constantly changing my happiness into anxiety thing is exhausting. It's a rollercoaster. It's crazymaking.

Sometimes the stress of everything twisting around my brain makes me want to cry, because it feels like I can't trust my own feelings anymore. I know that's not true, though. I know I can trust my feelings and my intuition. My feelings have always been right. It was just one monster who deceived me and betrayed me. And most of all, I don't want to give him the power to control my current and future happiness because of what he did to me.

A friend of mine said recently "Loving someone is always a risk." She is right. There are never any guarantees, and despite how much you think you know the person, no one ever really knows what's in another's heart, even when the person you love is a good person and not a sociopathic con man. So I continue to be terrified, but I'm trying to be brave.

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