Happiness in Small Bites
Anxiety is a bitch. As an adult, the anxiety I always struggled with, took a new face. This face was much more deceptive….this face came when I was at my happiest point, over and over again. When I finally left my childhood home, I believed my anxiety would take a back seat. I was no longer surrounded by chaos, I was in charge of my life and in charge of my own happiness. As my adult life began to take form, I noticed an annoying voice in my head. It only visited when I was at my happiest points.
At first, she visited when I would look into my new husband’s eyes. He has a way of looking at me that lets me know I am accepted, exactly the way I am. Pure happiness. Then she would speak…….”don’t fuck this up Kerry, you know you tend to sabotage things”. Or….”Don’t be stupid Kerry, this might not last”. Sitting, watching my kids play…..I would feel an overwhelming warmth in my heart, a full, almost dizzy feeling in my head…..YES, this is happiness. Almost directly after, a voice would threaten to take it all away…..”I hope they stay healthy, or I hope we stay safe.”
I learned at an early age to not trust happiness, as it can and will be taken away. Anxiety knew this. Anxiety reminded me of this on a daily basis. Anxiety put the weight of happiness on my shoulders and threatened that if I didn’t keep control, it would be taken from me. At any moment, it can be taken from me. Terrifying.
Two years ago, I began to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is SUCH a trendy word right now, and I hate that due to the many gifts it has given me. Mindfulness has literally set me free. It has taken anxiety, and kicked her ass. Mindfulness taught me to take my happiness in small bites. A much easier way to digest happiness. When I began to feel happiness in the moment, I would just be aware of the feeling. How did my body feel? It felt heavy with worry. My stomach felt tight and sick. How did my head feel? It felt dizzy and full. What was the present thought in my head? Fear was the thought…..fear was always the thought. Catastrophizing the what if, as if to punish myself over and over again, for just being happy. By just making it a moment…..I didn’t pin any hopes and dreams to it. I didn’t have to worry about what came next, because this was just a moment. Anxiety relented for just a moment. Deep breathe in. Happiness wasn’t about control, it was just about a feeling….in a moment.
I began to be present each time I felt the feeling of happiness…..just lean in, not expecting anything and not planning for anything. I allowed my head to just be there. I told anxiety I would see her after my moment. I was sure she would be there, she always was. An interesting thing happened. As I began to feel each moment, I began to string those moments together and they resembled a happy life….a happy person. I began to crave more moments, free of anxiety….full of the ability to take a deep, full breath of happiness and let it in. I began to seek those moments out as I had become addicted to the full breath in. Now, when I look beside me, anxiety is no longer there. She is no longer threatening me if I don’t have control. My strung together moments, have become a life without anxiety. For me, this began with just a bite.