Saturday, February 2, 2013

Get Glad

I'm going to take a diversion from the norm today. Bear with me. I have had today's post floating in my head all night. So much so that I couldn't sleep. So here I am, approaching 4 a.m., and I'm finally typing it up, hoping it will help me and you. 

There are days and weeks (or for some, months and years) that drain you completely, mind, body, and soul. These past two and a half weeks have been such for me. I'm not depressed, or on my way to being depressed; I am just drained. My gas tank only has fumes left in it. These periods in my life seem to come when I have become complacent in life, when I've gotten a little too big for my britches, or when I feel like I am finally getting life figured out. It is easy to only see the downward pull into darkness as you struggle to get through these periods, and it doesn't take much to feel like you'll never make it out again. And then you find something that you are able to hold on to. A rock. A life preserver. An extended hand. Suddenly you have a shred of motivation and hope. It can be the littlest things that can bring a ray of light to pierce the depths of frustration, sorrow, stress, self-pity, etc.

I wanted to share with you two of the little rays of light that has found me this time around, one of which is Pinterest...but I'll get to that in a minute. 

I love to read. It is my escape, especially in hard and frustrating times. I love a good deep book, but sometimes I just need something light that I can lose myself in. I keep 10-15 happy and light books on my Kindle so that I can have they at my disposal anytime I need or want them. For some reason this past week, I was really drawn to one title. Pollyanna. I'd seen the movie before. I knew the story and how it goes. But for some reason I felt compelled to read Pollyanna. So I did. It was a fun, lighthearted story. I thought it would just serve as a temporary retreat, but it ended up being more. It ended up being the ray of light I needed. In the book, Pollyanna says, "You see, when you're hunting for the glad things, you sort of forget the other kind" (Porter 25). I'd also say that the reverse is true too: When you're hunting for the negative things, you sort of forget the other kind. You find what you look for. I get so fixated on the faults and frustrations in people and situations, that I forget to look for the good. "But looking for the good won't change a bad situation." I've said that before, and I know some of you are saying it now. I've started playing the "glad game," where you find something glad about everything, bad or good. My grandfather is still dead, I still don't agree with all the decisions made about summer girls camp, and there will always be the one family member who loves drama...none of those things have changed. What has changed though is my outlook. Bitterness and anger is leaving and I'm able to approach the situations with healing, with a more open mind, and with more understanding. I'm able to feel happier and more at peace. 

This leads me to my social experiment I am going to conduct, and I welcome you all to try it with me. Here, straight from the pages of Pollyanna, is what I am going to test out:
"What men and women need is encouragement. Their natural resisting powers should be strengthened, not weakened...Instead of always harping on a man's faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits. Hold up to him his better self, his REAL self that can dare and do and win out!...The influence of a beautiful, helpful, hopeful character is contagious, and my revolutionize a whole town...People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts. If a man feels kindly and obliging, his neighbors will feel that way, too, before long. But if he scolds and scowls and criticizes-his neighbors will return scowl for scowl, and add interest!...When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good-you will get that" (Porter 121). 


So, something as seemingly simple as an easy to read story can end up changing your whole perspective. It can be the boost you need to jump back into life. 

Sometimes I'm not in deep long drain. Sometimes we just have a draining day. A hard day at work. A rough encounter with a loved one. A harrowing day of emergencies. Sometimes you just need a good pick-me-up at the end of the day to remind you that life really isn't trying to skin you alive. I've discovered something with Pinterest that helps me out on these days, and while it may seem silly, it helps me so I'm stickin' to it. A while back I started a board called "Inspiration: Anti-Depressants". I started with about 5 good quotes and left it at that. Anytime I have a rough day I pull up that board and re-read those quotes, and then I go and find a few more things to add to the board. They can be quote I love, that motivate and uplift me. They can be photos of things that make me happy. They can be pictures that just warm my heart and make me laugh. The process of searching out pictures and quotes that make me happy warms my soul, helps to ease tension, release anger, and sooth the cockle-burrs in my heart. It sounds cheesy, and overly simple...but it works. Every single time. 

Here are just a few things I have in my Anti-Depressant Board:
Are You Happy?  by Alex / HeadUp and David Meiklejohn
http://www.typcut.com/headup%20/are-you-happy
I seriously want to print this and hang it on my wall. 
http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2011/04/free-font-steelfish.html
Anything orange makes me happy. Ask Em. Poor thing, anytime we're out and about together and I see something orange, I yell "Orange!" and I have to look at it. I just makes me happy. 

Pinned Image
original source unknown, but this cracks me up every single time. I love every bit of this. 

Pinned Image
I sometimes even pin pictures of my sweetheart and I. He makes me happy. I love this photo of us, just being silly in the beautiful snow. It brings up good memories. 

LOVE this
Etsy says, "Uh oh! Sorry, the item listing you are looking for does not exist." but this photo did once come from some awesome Etsy shop. 

So there you have it. My take on the world this morning. Worth everything that you paid for it. I hope it helped someone, but if not...this helped me. Thanks for being my therapist. 






(Porter, Eleanor H. Pollyanna. Public Domain. [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com)

15 comments:

  1. As a professional worrier/over-thinker ... who has suffered with anxiety and depression most of her nearly 60 years ... oh gosh are you crying yet?!?! ... I recently started keeping a prayer journal, and there's always a page for Thanksgiving. It has revolutionized my life!!! Oprah says to keep a gratitude journal, well it's true. Once I got on that mindset, sometimes during the day I have to run back to my journal and jot down more things to be thankful for. Thanks for your openness here, and the pins sure help too!

    Mary

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  2. I haven't slept yet and was on pinterest with you deep into the night. I needed the encouragement. Thanks.

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  3. My friend Lulu mentioned Pollyanna recently on FB and something about a 'good jar' or something like that? It's when we were kicking around doing jars that would contain notes of all the good things that happened in 2013. Unfortunately Jan. got off to such a bad start that I didn't bother doing one.

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  4. Thank you for this post... I got laid off yesterday, and while it wasn't exactly a surprise, it still stung a bit. I wallowed last night in anger and hurt and frustration, but now I am ready to look for the glad in the situation. It may just be the best thing to happen to me. Who knows what the future holds? Anyway, this was a terrific reminder that you get what you give, and that it is worth the effort to look for the positive. =)

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  5. I just posted about the same kinda thing...well minus the whole Pollyanna thing...lol I know for me it's my SAD but trying to remain positive is the key to keeping it all together...that and knowing Spring is right around the corner! I'm going to start a "Happy" board now too...

    and Yes...it helps knowing others are struggling so thanks for sharing.

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  6. I saw a video where Hilary Weeks talks about this. It was awesome! Your post made me think about it, so I thought I'd share the video with you! http://www.billionclicks.org/page/videos

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  7. I think your site in general reflects this attitude. The posts look for ways to improve a failed attempt, find humor in things not going exactly as planned, and if there's not much to redeem about an epic pinstrosity, it's "lesson learned--moving on." Which is why I like it so much.

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  8. This is a wonderful post and exactly what I needed right now. I just started following your pinboard.

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  9. What a wonderful and beautifully written post. I also felt compelled to watch Pollyanna recently, it's wonderful!

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  10. So, that's all fine except that when you're clinically depressed, it's not so easy to just "feel happy." In order to "stop being sad" so I can just "be awesome" I'd have to change my brain chemistry, and I've been trying to do that for years with medication, but it's still really hard. I understand why you'd want to use the label "anti-depressant" but for someone for whom anti-depressant medication keeps that from wanting to just die, it feels a bit... well, sad. I wish that sort of thing helped me.

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    1. Depression runs in our family, and several have been officially diagnosed and put on medication. I've run through deep bouts with it. You're right, it's not easy to just stop being sad when you feel like you're in an eternal black pit and it can take everything within you to just keep going. I'm so sorry you have to deal with depression. I started my Anti-Depressant board when I felt myself spiraling downward and I was doing everything I could think of to try and stop the fall. The board doesn't fix a true depression, but it does help with the blues and it does help give me some happy thoughts when all I see is blackness. I know depression hits everyone differently and we all have to approach it in our own way.

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  11. Pollyanna is on our little girl's club book club reading list this year. So I will join you now in playing the glad game and soon I'll even understand what I'm doing!

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  12. I love your Anti-Depressant board idea! I think I need to start one for those times I need some positivity

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  13. Thank you so much for this marvelous post. I belong to an online gratitude group (we each go onto the list and post our gratitudes, we can post once a day, once a week, whenever we think about it, etc.) I find that when I take this action on a regular basis, my perspective changes. Interesting (to me at least) is that even though it makes me feel good to do this and I can see and feel the change in my perspective for the day, I will put off doing it . . . somedays I think my brain is just out to kill me!

    Anyway, thanks for this great post and the reminder. I just started a "Gratitude" Board and the pin that I started it with was from this blog entry. Thank you for the great kick in the butt ('cause I also took time out from writing this comment to go over to YahooGroups and post my gratitudes for today).

    Sometimes we say things that change people's lives and we don't even know it. Thank you for being one of those people in my life today.

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